Sunday, May 16, 2010

Pizza Night

My Friday nights as a kid were spent watching Dallas and eating popcorn with my family. It was a family ritual that I remember almost as well as Christmas Eve, Christmas morning and Easter morning.

When I had kids, I decided I wanted to do something similar. Unfortunately, and much to my husband's chagrin, Dallas reruns are hard to find.

So I decided that I would try my best to make homemade pizza on Friday nights. Do I do it every Friday? No, but I probably make it more Fridays than not.

Recently my husband's cousins and their significant others came to the farm to visit on a Friday. It was suggested that we order pizza. On a Friday night. Those words were like a knife straight through my heart.

Even though I would be feeding 15, I decided to make my pizza rather than take the easier, cleaner way out. And, it was a success! So much that cousin Mandy asked for the recipe so they could recreate it at home. What a great compliment!

So here goes!

My 'go to' dough recipe is from my KitchenAid mixer cookbook. If you don't have one of these it's not the end of the world, but you should really get one. It is amazing!

If you don't have a mixer, combine all the ingredients in a bowl, then turn the dough out onto the counter and knead it until smooth and elastic.

If you do have a mixer, add the water, yeast, salt and oil and let it sit for a minute. I never measure the water temperature. I just run the tap nice and hot and add it to the bowl. My mother-in-law, the home economics teacher, is probably cringing.

Sometimes I add a tablespoon or two of honey, sometimes I don't. Just depends on how sweet I'm feeling.

Next add 2.5 cups of flour and mix on 2 for about a minute. Slowly add .5 cup of flour at a time, up to 3.5 cups, and until the dough clings to the hook and cleans the side of the bowl.

Sometimes I add a cup of wheat flour. It gives the dough a nutty taste and makes me feel healthier.

Form the dough into a disk. Drizzle olive oil in the bottom of the bowl, put the dough in the bowl then turn it over to coat both sides with oil. Cover the bowl with a dish towel and put in a draft free place to rise for an hour.

The dough should double in size.

Punch it down. If you are making the dough for the night before, put in the fridge. A few hours before you want to use it the next day, take it out and let it rise again until double, then punch it down again.

If you are ready to make the pizza, slide your pizza stone into the oven and preheat it to 450 degrees.

Divide the dough and form a disc. Roll it out to about 1/8 inch thick.

It absolutely does not have to be a perfect circle.

Take your pizza stone out of the oven and sprinkle corn meal on top to prevent the dough from sticking.

One of my many secrets is to use tomatoes rather than tomato sauce. I prefer tomatoes from my garden that I have canned, but alas, I used them up at the cousin party. Walmart tomatoes also do the trick.

Spread the tomatoes and as little juice as possible over the crust. Sprinkle the tomatoes with Italian Seasoning, then have some fun. I put all sorts of stuff on pizza: garlic, pepperonis, sausage (browned before), bacon, prosciutto, blue cheese, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, brie, whatever you think sounds good. Finish it with some fresh ground pepper and oregano on top.

I made this pizza last Saturday. I didn't realize until I got to the cheese part that I only had 2 cups of mozzarella left. Cheddar worked just as well.

This week's crust turned out super crisp. Every week is different.

I didn't have too many complaints!

1 comment:

  1. Oh, I remember your pizza well! Soooooooo good!
    Your step by step has inspired me. I will give it a shot this weekend!