Tag Archives: pizza

Homemade Pizza Part III – assembly

26 Dec

mozzarella & mushroomsOnce you have the dough and sauce ready, homemade pizza is a cinch. I often make both components well in advance and store them in the fridge for up to two days in advance, a trick that allows this dinner to come together relatively quickly.  The recipes for pizza dough and tomato sauce that I posted previously make two medium thin-crust pizzas, enough to serve two to four people. I would suggest using at least 8 oz of shredded mozzarella (e.g. one cheap grocery store block) per pizza if you want to make a pie with the cheese-to-sauce ratio shown above. More cheese, however, it always welcome, and I have topped that mozzarella base with goat cheese and fresh mozzarella slices with great results. Adding fresh basil just after the pizza comes out of the oven provides a great burst of traditional pizzeria-style flavor, and I highly recommend it. However, if you can’t find any fresh herbs, it’s hard to go wrong with the magical equation of bread + tomato sauce + cheese…

prosciutto & arugula

Ingredients

  • Two prepared portions of pizza dough (e.g. one batch of the dough recipe)
  • One batch of tomato sauce
  • 16 oz mozzarella cheese
  • Cornmeal (enough so the dough doesn’t stick to the counter)
  • Parchment paper
  • Fresh basil
  • Other toppings of your choice

olives & basil

Instructions

1. Preheat your oven to its highest temperature, which is normally ≥500F. If you’re using a baking stone, make sure to preheat it in the oven so it can get hot gradually.

2. Take the dough out of the fridge, cover lightly with plastic wrap or with an overturned bowl, and allow to rise for 15 minutes.

3. Sprinkle the counter with cornmeal, then roll the dough out until it is quite thin, at least 12″ in diameter. If you prefer a thicker crust, make the necessary adjustments.

4. If you are using a pizza pan, transfer to the rolled-out dough to the pan at this stage. If you are using a baking stone, flip a 9×13 baking sheet over and cover with parchment paper. Transfer the flattened dough to this makeshift pizza peel.

5. Top the dough with tomato sauce, using the back of a large spoon to spread it out relatively evenly over the dough. Leave a 1/2″ to 1″ margin around the edges of the crust.

6. Sprinkle the sauce with the shredded mozzarella and whatever other toppings you choose. If you have fresh basil, tear it into chunks but wait to add it to the top of the pizza until it has just come out of the oven.

7. If you are using a pizza pan, bake in the preheated oven for 7-10 minutes, until the cheese has browned slightly. If you are using a baking stone, open the oven and carefully slide both the parchment paper and piza onto the stone, baking for 7-10 minutes.

I always check my pizzas constantly as they cook, because cooking times vary depending on the temperature of the oven and what implement you’re cooking the pizza on. Better safe than sorry, as wasting an entire pizza would be a tragedy of near unspeakable magnitude.

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Homemade Pizza Part I – the dough

19 Dec

ImageI am of the opinion that pizza is one of the great human universals, up there with birth, death, and procrastinating on the internet. I’ve met people with odd and frankly baffling food aversions over the years, (Mushrooms? Check. Onions? Check. Bacon? Check. Eggplant? Check.) up to and including a friend who is currently a line cook at one of the most touted restaurants in the country… who would not eat tomatoes until her early twenties. However, I have yet to meet anyone who shies away from the great Italian equalizer that is pizza.

Unsurprisingly, I have a completely homemade pizza recipe handy in my arsenal, one traditionally used when I invite people over to dinner to repay them for some kindness they have bestowed upon me. Or because it is a Sunday.

dough

In the next three posts, I outline how to disrupt the global economy by hacking into the IMF mainframe*, I mean, how to create your own pizza from scratch. The dough recipe is relatively low maintenance, but the tomato sauce, while worth it, takes a little more coddling. If you’re the sort of person who prefers the destination to the journey itself  (i.e. you just want some tasty pizza and you want it NOW goddamit), the tomato sauce can easily be swapped out for a jarred sauce of your choosing. I will readily admit that I have willingly used this crutch when lazy, starving, or both.

I’m not budging on the homemade dough though. That’s a dealbreaker, ladies.

*Just checking that you (and/or any governmentally-sponsored keyword searches that may be scanning this post) are paying attention.
olive oil, yeast, honey, salt, water & wine

This makes enough dough for two medium-large thin crust pizzas. The original recipe, found here, produces only enough dough for one pizza, a quantity that seems infinitesimally small in relation to my gluttony. As a result, I have always doubled it. The pizzas themselves will serve two people, with leftovers, or four people, if served with a side. Don’t expect leftovers if you serve this to more than two people – I have never been able to have pizza for breakfast when this was enjoyed by that many souls.

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3 cups flour

    This is the appropriate level of "shagginess" to expect from your dough. Do not panic. Do not add extra liquid. This is what it is supposed to look like.

    This is the appropriate level of “shagginess” to expect from your dough. Do not panic. Do not add extra liquid. This is what it is supposed to look like.

Instructions

1.  Whisk together water, wine and active dry yeast. Let this mixture sit for a few minutes while you assemble your other ingredients.

2. Add in honey, olive oil and salt. Whisk to combine.

3. Add in flour and stir together with a large wooden spoon, until the dough comes together into a shaggy, poorly delineated mass, as outlined in the photo above. At this point, feel free to plunge your hands into the bowl until the dough starts to behave itself, or turn the whole mess out onto a lightly floured counter and knead it for a few minutes until it falls into line. Either way, make sure to knead it until it becomes smooth and elastic.

4. Lightly coat the inside of a large bowl with olive oil (for better flavor), or spray it with Pam (for greater efficiency). Cover the bowl with saran wrap, a lid, or a damp dish towel, and let it sit for one to two hours, until the dough has doubled in size.

5. After the dough has completed its first rise, divide into two equal portions using a large knife or dough scraper/

Alternative Rise Methods: This whole process can also take place overnight in the fridge, during a “cold rise”. The same technique works over the course of an eight-hour work day, if you want to make the dough before you leave and bake the pizza upon your return. The dough will keep in the fridge for up to two days if wrapped tightly in saran wrap, or in the freezer for up to a month. To use after freezing, simply place it in the fridge for eight hours or over-night so that it thaws, and then roll it and prepare it as outlined in the “assembly” post, which will come soon!

unassuming dough....