Mama Mia, Pizzaria!
Pizza in the morning, pizza in the evening, pizza at suppertime... When flour is at our house, we make pizza everytime!
What is it about pizza that is so great? I guess it's the perfect balance of fat, carbs, proteins... The texture of the crust vs.
the cheese, and the sourness of the sauce with the sweetness of the dough?
My boyfriend often asks me stupid questions like 'If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be'. I always say pizza... And to which he says I must only choose one ingredient. So in that case, I reluctantly pick peanut butter (which is another perfect food IMO)
Onion Pizza Grabbed from my FB album
We never need a special occasion to make pizza, as we always seem to have dough ready made in our freezer next to 2-3 pounds of mozzarella. I swear he often 'forgets' to go grocery shopping so we have to 'eat what we have in the house'.
Knowing good and well, that we have pizza ingredients stocked up as if we are waiting for a nuclear fallout.
Arugula Pizza Grabbed from my FB album
And do I ever say no? Let's not talk about that... :P I don't need to tell anyone here about my love for pizza, as I am sure 90%+ of you all have it as your favorite as well... So I will just share the intructions I use to make pizza here at our home.
4 eight-inch pizzas
3 cups bread flour (or all-purpose flour) plus more for dusting
1 cup luke-warm water
2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) plus 2 teaspoons to coat the large bowl
Mozzarella (as much as you desired)
1 teaspoon cornmeal (optional)
15 ounce can tomato sauce
6 ounce can tomato paste
1 tablespoon butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
red pepper flakes
ground black pepper
Any desired toppings just don't foget the mozzarella! Pizza without cheese isn't a pizza.;p
Gently whisk yeast and honey in luke-warm water until yeast is dissolved and let sit it about 10-20 minutes until you see the foamy texture on top of the water.
Sift flour in a large bowl and stir in salt. Your yeast should have risen by then and now make a hole in the middle and pour in the yeast mixture and the olive oil.
Using a non-stick spatula or a wooden spoon, gently stir the flour with the wet ingredients until dough holds together but should be sticky. If the dough is way too wet, add a little bit more flour.
On your working station, sprinkle some flour and knead the dough for about 10-15 minutes, the dough could be sticky but manageable. How to knead a dough? Streach it out, fold towards you and twist, continue this until you get a smooth surface on the top of the dough.You can always add some flour if needed just so the dough won't stick to the surface. Form the dough into a smooth ball.
In a large bowl, add 1 teaspoon of olive oil and spread to coat the entire bowl. Put in the dough and cover with plastic wrap and place a kitchen towel on top (if you don't have any plastic wrap, a kitchen towel will do just fine just place a heavy object on top of it, maybe a heavy large pan). Let the dough rise for at least 2 hours until the dough is double the size.
Once the dough has doubled the size, transfer to the floured surface and cut into four slices. Push the dough around and pinch the bottom to get a smooth ball. Your pizza dough should be ready to shape just flatten it using a rolling pin or you can use your hands by simply pressing it down and stretching as you go along.
Sprinkle some cornmeal on the baking tray and put in the pizza dough. Add the sauce and then layer the mozarella and add your desired toppings. Bake at 450f for 17 minutes. Once done, let the pizza sit on the counter at least 5 minutes before serving. This will help the crust not stick to the pan.
To cook the sauce:
Melt butter in a pan a low heat and saute garlic until soft and transparent.
Add rest of the ingredients for the sauce and bring to simmer for 30 minutes.
(For best pizza crust, I would suggest making the dough at least overnight to give it enough time to rise.)
Note: Pre-heat the oven for at least an hour before baking the pizza.
The reason why I like to use bread flour is that it makes the pizza crust crispier, they said it has something to do with the gluten and bread flour has a higher gluten than all-purpose flour.
For the yeast:
I prefer Red Star active dry yeast.
I tried 'Eagle' brand instant dry yeast and other brands that you can buy at the grocery store but so far Red Star active dry yeast is favorite yeast to use for pizza dough.
Don't forget to check the expiration date on the yeast or else the dough won't rise. Though one time I was able to save the expired yeast since I was so lazy to go out and buy a new one. First I use 1/4 cup of luke water in a bowl and added 2 1/4 teaspoon of yeast (okay, before you start to panic, let me finish my experiment, lol). Then, I whisked the yeast with the water as fast as I can (it's a good arm workout *wink I probably mastered it and you can call me the whisk master, charot! If you have a stand mixer you can also use it, I just like doing the hard stuff because it's more fun, but really if you want to save time and energy feel free to use the electric mixer.