Thursday, October 11, 2012

Pizza Night

The Captain showed me how to make pizza when we were first dating. Since then, I've been improving on his technique. We've moved beyond Boboli, and now I make the dough from scratch. It does require some work. Its probably not a whole lot cheaper than the pizza from Costco's food court. But, being able to declare I made it from scratch makes all the difference!

Gather your supplies: Flour, water, yeast, sugar, oil, salt

Either wait for the tap to warm up, or nuke it in the microwave for a minute (I prefer the microwave--saves water, probably electricity too). Add brown sugar--sugar gives the yeast something to feed on

Add the yeast--if you're thinking that looks a lot like a baby formula scoop, you're right. They are exactly 1 tablespoon. I keep them in all the canisters that I use frequently--sugar, starch, saves me from washing all those measuring spoons

Jostle the cup around a bit to get the yeast to submerge--don't bother stirring with a utensil, it will just get all gunky

We are 'proofing' the yeast. Back in the days before refrigeration people would do this to make sure the yeast was still 'active,' that is, alive and working--wouldn't want to waste the other ingredients to later find that the bread didn't rise. Some people skip this step, but its easy so I don't mind doing it. While the yeast is growing, mix the salt into the flour

The yeast should be getting foamy by now

Add the oil to it

Add the liquids to the flour

Mix on low until it starts to combine

Scrape the bowl and turn it to medium speed

Btw, don't feel like you can't make this without a stand mixer. You totally can. Mixing by hand, literally, is easy and it turns out fine. While the dough is mixing, line your baking sheet, spray with cooking oil, and dust with flour

After the dough has been kneaded for about 5 minutes it is balled up and ready to go. Turn out onto your sheet

Spray the inside of a large zip lock bag with cooking oil and reserve half of the dough for your next pizza night. It will keep in the freezer for a few months. Just defrost in the fridge for a day or so, then let it come up to room temp for a couple hours. Roll out your dough

Pierce the dough with a fork or it will bubble up when it cooks

Parbake the crust in a hot oven for about 10 minutes. 

While the crust is baking, start cooking the sausage

Cook it thoroughly--don't want anyone retching due to undercooked meat

Save half of that sausage in the freezer for your next pizza night. Now we can start assembling the meaty-cheesy-goodness. Any sauce will do

Layer on the cheese

Half a bag of pepperoni is plenty--save the rest for next week. Btw, turkey pepperoni meets with our standards

Olives, mushrooms, and another light sprinkling of cheese

Give it another 10 minutes in the oven

Way better than delivery


And, the kids get a kick out of customizing their own mini-pizzas

Pizza Dough Ingredients: Enough for 2 XL Pizzas
  • 5 cups flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Tbs brown sugar
  • 2 Tbs yeast
  • 2 Tbs oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  1. Combine warm water, sugar and yeast, put aside for 5 minutes
  2. Combine flour and salt
  3. Add oil to water/yeast
  4. Slowly pour liquids into flour, mix on low until combined
  5. Mix on medium until dough pulls away from sides of bowl and forms ball, about 5 minutes
  6. Reserve half of dough in oiled freezer bag, roll out the rest on an oiled and floured cooking sheet
  7. Pierce dough with a fork to pop any air pockets
  8. Parbake crust in 450° oven for about 10 minutes
  9. Assemble pizza with desired toppings, bake again at 400° for another 10-15 minutes

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