Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Monday: Pizza Pizza

I love making pizza. As much as I love eating Chinese food, it was a pleasant treat to make homemade pizza with Geoff last week. We used his recipe for the dough (in his bread machine) and some of my suggestions for toppings. I don't have his bread machine pizza dough recipe, so I'll share the one I've been using for years instead.

The Dough

I researched different pizza dough recipes and combined them to make the perfect one for my taste. It makes a medium sized crust that's a bit crisp on the outside, soft in the middle, without being too chewy or too crunchy.

  • 1-1.5 cups very warm water
  • 1 T milk
  • 1 T sugar
  • 1 package of yeast
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3-4 cups flour
  • pepper, parmesan, oregano (optional, for taste)
  1. Combine the water and milk and dissolve the sugar. Sprinkle yeast over the mixture and stir gently until it dissolves (about 1 min). Let stand until a thin layer of foam covers the surface (about 5 min).
  2. Add the olive oil, salt and any optional ingredients. Gradually add flour, mixing with a wooden spoon, until a soft ball forms. Knead until smooth (about 10 min). Shape into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm, moist place until doubled (1-1.5 hours).
  3. Punch down the dough. Shape into a ball. Divide in half. Let rest for a couple minutes.
  4. Shape each piece, handling minimally. Place on 2 lightly oiled cookie shoots. Let rest for 15 minutes.
  5. Pre-bake in a 450 degree oven for 3 minutes. This step is optional but ensures the dough will be thoroughly cooked and rises it a bit before you layer on the ingredients.
  6. Add toppings of choice. (see below for more information)
  7. Bake at 450 degrees until cheese and crust are golden brown (about 15-25 minutes).

Topping Hints

If you're making pizza at home, take the chance to go wild. Add things you normally couldn't oder and see if they go well together. making pizza at home isn't just about having something to eat - it's about experimenting and having fun. The amount of ingredients you need depends on your taste. Always order extra sauce? Then pour it on. Love cheese? Add an extra handful or two.

  • pizza sauce, tomato sauce, pesto
  • Shredded mozzarella, parmesan, ricotta, feta
  • Sliced mushrooms, bell peppers, zucchini, onions, spinach, broccoli, roasted garlic
  • Sliced tomatoes, pineapple
  • Pepperoni, sausage, cooked ground beef, ham, chicken, smoked salmon
  • Pepper, oregano, basil, garlic powder

Ordering the ingredients

The items on top tend to dry out, items in the sauce and under the cheese will become moist. I advise having onions below (otherwise they'll burn) and putting moister items on top. I also like to deseed the tomatoes...otherwise you can easily burn the root of your mouth biting into a piping hot one.

Dessert Pizza Toppings

Also consider making a sweet pizza for dessert instead. Remember - anything goes!

  • Apples, pears, bananas, raisins
  • Almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts
  • Cinnamon, nutmeg
  • Cream cheese

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