Thursday, May 17, 2007

Pizza Glut

Today's experiment: Freshly baked pizza. My first ever. I'll be using a recipe from my favorite cookbook, The New Basics Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins.

Basic Pizza Dough
makes two 12", four 6", or eight 3" pizzas.1
1 cup warm water
1 package yeast
2.5 - 3 c all purpose flour
2 tbsp olive oil
.5 tsp salt

Combine water, yeast, and 1.5 cup of flour in a bowl and mix well. Add oil and salt. Then add the remaining flour a small amount at a time until kneadable. Knead 5 minutes. Let it rise until doubled in bulk. Punch it down, divide into as many parts as you want pizzas, roll into balls and let rest for 15-20 minutes. The dough is now ready for shaping!

Basic Pizza Sauce:
makes enough sauce for the pizza quantities listed above
1 28 oz can Italian-style tomato puree
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 tsp dried oregano or marjoram
4 fresh basil leaves or 1 tsp dried (so sad, we have no basil plant)
1 bay leaf
freshly ground pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a 3 quart saucepan and simmer for 30 minutes. (Now that's a recipe!)

Pizza:
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F ONE HOUR before baking. Place the rack on the lowest setting.
Grease a cookie sheet. (Note: this is technically too hot for parchment paper, which is "oven safe to 400 degrees." That'll increase cleanup.) Dust with cornmeal (optional).

Roll the dough out into the shape of your pan, or toss it into a circle like the professionals2. Add sauce to one inch from the edge. Top with your fav's3. Bake for 15-20 minutes on the lowest rack of the oven.4

My notes:
  1. The biggest one is the quantity. The "two 12" pizzas must be for extremely thin crust junkies. Not just New York style pizza, but "Two block radius of Houston St and Broadway" style pizza. I only got one 12" pizza out of the dough. Admittedly, it was a bit thick, but doing two would have been paper-thin.
  2. I did try some tossing. It was fun! But somehow it didn't form circles. Which was fine, because I had a rectangle to fill. Oh, and thank goodness for the five second rule. (kidding!)
  3. Toppings: Rosemary Chicken Sausage, Sauteed Onions. One-half cheese, because the wife is experimenting with eating less dairy.
  4. 15 minutes is too long! I barely saved it from burning after only 12. The cheese was starting to turn brown, and the crust had a few black spots on the bottom, but it actually was just on the outer edge of perfection. Try 10 minutes next time!
Photos:

The dough prepares to rise:

The dough hath risen.

Making into two balls and allowing them to rest.

Ready to go into the oven.

Mmmmmmm, homemade pizza in two hours!

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