Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Pizza Perfected

We've been making pizza quite a bit now since my first post on pizza, so it's time to give the latest and greatest! (I hesitate to say the perfected recipe, because it is far from that, but it's pretty darn good!)

As usual, once you realize you're going to make pizza, go ahead and put the pizza stone in the oven and heat to 500 degrees. This can take a while and the longer the stone heats up, the better.

Makes 2 pizzas
3 1/4 cups bread flour (I use King Arthur. I also use all purpose from time to time too - no ill effects.)
4 1/2 tsp yeast (or two packages) We go through so much yeast, I buy it in bulk and keep it in the freezer
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 heaping tsp sugar (probably works out to 1 Tbs, but I just go with what I've been doing)
2 Tbs olive oil
11 oz. hot water from the tap

Add bread, yeast, salt, and sugar to the Cuisinart and pulse. I use the normal metal blade here - not the dough blade (although I'm sure that'd be fine.) With the machine on, add the oil through the feed tube. (See number 2 on my favorite things for the best measurer for stuff like this.) Also with it running, add the water and watch the dough form. Continue to let it run once the dough comes together for 30 seconds to give it a cursory knead. 

Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cut in half with a bench scraper or knife. Form into a ball and let rest while you prep the rest of the ingredients. Once the dough is out, no need to clean the Cuisinart prep bowl, but change out the blade for the grater attachment. 

Take a pound of mozzarella (we use whole milk), cut it into strips with the bench scraper. (We end up with 8.) and feed them through the feed tube to shred the cheese. 

Prep your ingredients, whatever they may be: saute the spinach, steam the broccoli, slice the tomatoes. If you don't like the grease from pepperoni, you can drop them in a small pan of simmering water. The oil will ooze right out of your pepperonis before you even put them on your pizza. 

Once the oven and your ingredients are ready, flatten the dough, stretch the dough, press the dough into a large pizza pie. (I never roll it.) You'll want the crust to be pretty small, as it'll only get bigger in the oven. Sprinkle the pizza peel (the big wooden paddle) with corn meal, to help the move to the oven, and place your dough right on top. Using the back of a spoon, spread your pizza sauce. (We use Trader Joe's.) Not too much - maybe 1/4 cup or so. 

Load up half the cheese and all your yummy stuff. My favorites? broccoli, artichoke hearts, pimentos, spinach, tomatoes, basil. Oh! And different cheeses are good. Of course you need mozzarella, but try adding provelone, parmesan, and little dollops of ricotta are yummy too!

Slide it in the oven and bake for 7 minutes. (Don't forget, you have to take the first pizza out of the oven before you prepare the toppings for the second (unless you have two peels).

That's pretty much every Friday night around here. 

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