Friday, March 24, 2006

Homemade Pizzas

I think I have reached my dough limit. As a third installment to "Face Your Baking Fears" week, I decided to make homemade pizzas last night, and everything worked perfectly, but I'm just kind of over it. After making bread and then pie crust this week, I think I just don't want to look at flour for a little while. But even though I was overcome with dough apathy, these pizzas were tasty and well received.

Were these the charred, chewy, thin crusted pizzas that dreams are made of? No, they weren't. The crust wasn't right and my oven isn't hot enough anyway. But were they good, basic, crisp crusts with delicious toppings? Indeed they were. However, once I get over my ennui I know I will need to tinker with the crust recipe a bit. For a basic crust, though, it is reliable and easy to make.

Basic Pizza Dough
serves 3-4

1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
.5 tsp salt
pinch sugar
2 tsp olive oil
2.5-3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp cornmeal

Warm your mixing bowl, then dissolve yeast in warm water. Add salt, sugar, olive oil, and 2.5 cups of flour. Attach bowl and dough hook to a stand mixer, turn on speed 2 and mix about 1 minute.

Continuing on speed 2, add remaining flour gradually, and mix until the dough clings to the hook and cleans the sides of the mixing bowl, about 2 minutes. Knead on speed 2 for 2 minutes longer.

Place dough in a greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk. Punch dough down. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Brush a pizza pan or baking sheet with oil and sprinkle with cornmeal. Press dough across the bottom of the pan, forming a "collar" of sorts around the edge to hold toppings. I wanted to make two smaller pizzas, and as you see that worked out fine--just divide dough in half and proceed accordingly.

Add toppings as you wish. I pureed a mixture of marinara and plain tomato sauce, because I like my sauce thin. Chris' pizza had eggplant (pre-roasted to soften), mushrooms, pepperoni, and mozzarella. My pizza had eggplant, mushrooms, kalamata olives, feta, and mozzarella. Bake for 20 minutes, brushing a little olive oil in the crust edges halfway through.

Both pizzas were crunchy and fresh, just the way we like them, even if the dough was somewhat uninspired. And so ends the baking, for a little while at least. My mixer is tired, and so am I.


Kevin said...


A pizza stone will do wonders for your pizza (and bread). Another trick with both pizza and bread is to preheat your oven for at least 45 minutes (even if you don't have a stone). The preheating evens out the hot and cold spots all ovens have.

Marianne said...

Kevin--I've been meaning to pick up a pizza stone, I had a feeling that it would help. I will definitely preheat my oven for a longer period of time next go round, thanks for the tip!

Anonymous said...

I love your blog and recipes!
You noted you were not happy with the pizza dough. I use a recipe from Abby Madel's Cuisinart Classroom that is perfect:

2.25 c all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1 envelope active dry yeast
7 oz warm water (100-105 deg)

Mix flour, salt, sugar and yeast together. Add water and process until the dough forms a ball. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the dough, and also coat the interior of a bowl with olive oil. Place dough in the bowl, turn to coat, cover and let rise.

I use rapid rise yeast, and have been known to use two envelopes. Also, I don't have a pizza stone, but a pizza pan with holes in the bottom. I don't use cornmeal - before I put the dough on the pan, I oil the bottom of the dough with olive oil - gives a nice crunchy bottom. Good Luck

Marianne said...

Karen! I am assuming this is Karen of "Uncle Dooogs" wife? So good to see you!

I will use your recipe on my next try, and pick up some sort of suitable pan. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

No, don't know Uncle Doogs - I'm just an unemployed cook in Louisiana.....

Marianne said...

Whoops! Still nice of you to come by, I hope you keep reading.