I’m thinking of starting something new with this blog: having a theme for each day and posting about something relating to that theme on that day. Thoroughly confused? Good! I think I will discuss food/recipes/meals/good eating on Mondays. So here’s the first one:
It’s taken me about a year or so, but I think I can officially say that I have mastered making pizza from scratch. It is really so much better than Pizza Hut, Dominoes, etc. (but not, sad to say, better than Lou Malnati’s…yet!). Just recently I realized that it would be a good idea just to plan to make pizza once a week, so now we eat homemade pizza every Friday. Here’s a step-by-step tutorial on how to do it:
First, gather your ingredients. You will need…
- 2 1/4 t. active dry yeast (this is approximately one package of yeast)
- 1/2 t. brown sugar
- 1 1/2 c. warm water (110 degrees)
- 1 t. salt
- 2 T. olive oil
- approximately 3 1/3 c. all-purpose flour (you could also do 1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour and the rest all-purpose
First, you will just need the yeast, brown sugar, and water. Warm up your bowl by filling it a bit with hot water. Then dump the water out, add your yeast, brown sugar, and 110-degree water (I just feel the temperature by touch but initially you will probably want to use a thermometer. Beat this mixture together with a wire whisk and then let it sit, covered, for about 10 minutes or until the mixture is foamy.
Then you will add the salt, olive oil, and about 2 1/2 c. of the flour. Mix it all together. I use my trusty kitchenaid mixer, but you could just use a spoon.
Continue adding a little bit of flour (maybe 1/4-1/2 c. at a time) until the mixture starts to pull away from the sides. Then you can knead it on a lightly floured surface until it has the consistency of taffy. Again, I just use the dough hook on my kitchenaid, but while we’re on the subject: when they say “lightly floured” in recipes, they don’t mean it. Just go ahead and slap a whole truckload of flour onto your counter. In my initial experiences with dough I would lightly sprinkle/dust my counter with flour and then send myself into fits of hysteria when the dough was sticking to everything in sight. Trust me, my friend, flour will keep you sane.
However, you don’t want your dough to have a outer shell of flour when you are finished kneading (or in my case, watching the mixer knead). Your dough should still be slightly tacky. Not so much that dough sticks to your finger, but just a little bit. Tacky dough will make the perfect crust for your pizza.
When you’ve got perfect dough, spray the inside of a large bowl with cooking spray and place the dough in the bowl. Most recipes then call you to cover the bowl and let it rise, but depending on the temperature of your kitchen, this could take forever. I place the bowl in the oven, turn the oven on for about 20-30 seconds and then turn the oven off. This creates a nice, warm place for your dough to grow.
Sorry for the blurry picture, but as you can see, your dough should rise after about an hour or so. If it hasn’t risen at all, throw it out and try again. You can’t make good pizza out of unrisen dough.
Now it’s time for the fun part. Take your dough out of the oven and turn your oven back on to 425 degrees. Take out your pizza stone and lightly sprinkle corn meal all over the surface.
Roll out your dough. I roll the dough a bit over the edges of the stone and then roll up that excess to for the crust. At this point you might want to cook the crust alone for about 10 minutes. Then, top your pizza with sauce, shredded cheese, and whatever other toppings you desire. An excellent recipe for pizza sauce (though I do leave out the cayenne pepper and pepper flakes from the recipe) can be found here.
Cook your pizza for 15-20 minutes, and… Voila! Pizza from scratch!
This is just a simple cheese pizza made with a mixture of mozzarella and parmesan cheese. I would also recommend the basil goat cheese pizza. When you cook your crust alone, first spread some olive oil over it with a brush and sprinkle with basil. Cook the crust for about 10 minutes. Top with sauce and goat cheese, sprinkled with more basil. It is exquisite!
Well, there you have it: pizza from scratch. I appreciate knowing where all my food came from so cooking from scratch saves me a lot of guess work. It is a bit more time consuming, but I think all the more scrumptious because of the work you put into it. Enjoy!