Monday, November 12, 2012

As Easy as (Pizza) Pie!

My daughter Kirsten and her family are here from California for a few weeks. So the extended-family get-togethers have begun!

Tonight we made pizza for the masses. Everybody contributed various food items. I made the pizza dough.

For anyone who bakes pizza at home, I recommend making your own dough for the crust. It's easy to make and it tastes good.

For anyone who wants to learn how to bake yeast breads, I recommend starting with pizza dough. It's easy to make and not at all fussy.
Pizza Dough

Pour 1½ C warm water into large bowl.
1 T yeast
Add and mix:
2 C flour*
2 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
Continue to add flour—about 2 C more in all—until dough can be kneaded; then knead for 10 minutes.
Put 1 tsp. olive oil in the bowl. Turn the ball of dough in it until it is covered with oil. Cover the dough and let rise in a warm place for at least 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk.

After the dough has risen, punch it down, but do not knead it. For thicker crust, divide the dough into 2 parts. For thinner crust, divide the dough into 4 parts.

*You can use all-purpose flour, bread flour, or whole-wheat flour. My current favorite is white whole-wheat flour. If you are using white flour, I recommend using bread flour if you can.

NOTE: This dough is not fussy. You could make it and put it in the refrigerator to take longer to rise (up to several hours). Or, if it rises and you aren't ready for it, punch it down and let it rise some more. As long as you don't knead it any more, it will be ready when you are. If you knead it some more, just let it rest 15 minutes before rolling it out.
The fanciest pizza we had tonight was topped with fresh garlic, tomatoes, spinach leaves, feta cheese, and mozzarella cheese.

The others--eight in all--were delicious, too. Here are pictures of some of them.

I'm good--not great--at making pizza. But, for a better crust, I do recommend baking it on a pizza stone or ceramic tiles in your oven at a very high temperature, 450-475 degrees.

Here is what my well-used pizza stone looked like:

I use the past tense because this is what happened one day not too long ago:
They don't last forever. I'm going to try tiles next.

If you have any leftover pizza--we had two leftover slices tonight--eat it for lunch the next day! (Or breakfast ... )

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