Friday, December 2, 2011

Pizza Pizza!!

A few years back when Sarah was developing interest in what happened in the kitchen (rather than accepting that food magically appeared three times each day) I decided to show her how pizza was made.  I scoured cookbooks (How to Cook Everything is a Bible for me) and websites for reviewed crust recipes and eventually formulated one of my own (based on Mark Bittman's recipe).  We've gone on to having Pizza Friday as a  nearly-weekly tradition with home made or pizzeria pizza.

Making pizza dough is easy.  Really easy and not very time consuming.  I usually do it with a messy kitchen, starting around 4:30 on Friday afternoon.

Pizza Dough

  • 2 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 Cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp yeast
  • 2 tsp kosher salt (or other large grained salt)
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • About 1 Cup of water 

Put the flours, yeast, salt, EVOO into your mixer (or I suppose you could do this by hand) and fire that baby up using the dough hook.  

Slowly add in the water.  You may need more if a ball isn't forming, or if it seems sticky, add in some flour.  You don't have to mix too much.

I like to turn it out on to the counter and knead it a little by hand (making me feel all homey and domestic) if it sticks to your hand, add a  little flour.  The more you mix and knead, the more the gluten in the dough is developed and the more you'll have stretchy dough to deal with.  Now, if you want a stretchy type crust, then go for it, but it's harder to roll out the crust if it's super stretchy.

Take an oven-safe bowl and spray with some cooking spray, plop the ball of dough in there and give it a quick mist with the spray.  Then cover with plastic wrap and stick it in the oven.

Did I mention that while the stuff is mixing together, i turn the oven on, let it heat up to about 100* F then I turn it off?  The oven is a great place to let your dough rise.  It's warm and not drafty.  Perfect.  If you don't know how hot your oven is, I suggest a handy-dandy oven thermometer.  They're cheap and better than guessing.

While the dough is rising, I clean the kitchen.  If you're like me then your kitchen almost ALWAYS has dishes in the sink and stuff in the dishwasher nobody wants to put away.  So do it now.   You'll feel better about yourself if you do.

At about 6:30 PM (roughly 2 hours later - but you can do it sooner if you're starving), take the dough out of the oven.  It should look like this:

Pull out your pizza sheet.  What?  You don't have a baking sheet devoted to pizza?  *Faint*.  My darling husband and I have been married 7 years and eaten TONS of pizza (probably why my pants don't fit, but I digress).  I use a plain old nonstick baking sheet.  I had a pizza stone once but it broke....this thing works great anyway.

See all the pizza lines? 

Use kitchen scissors to portion out the dough into 2 pieces (I make one a little  bigger than the other).    And form out your pie crust.  Thick or thin, round or free-form, make it however YOU like it.  I like thin :)

Top it (this one is for the kids so sauce, cheese and half pepperoni) and bake it at 500-550* for about 6-10 minutes.

The more toppings, the longer the bake time.  If your oven is uneven, you'll need to give it a spin half way through baking.

The other one is BBQ chicken (my fave :)


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