Thursday, August 16, 2012

Country Platter: Dinner #2 -- Homemade Pizza

We are a pizza loving family in this house. 

We love pizza so much, we have a night each week dedicated to it's goodness. 

Saturday night is Pizza Night. 

I look forward to Saturday every day of the week!!!! 

Now I'll warn you, my pizza is serious business. The crust is thick. The cheese is thick. And I make two of them every week because D loves pepperoni (no bueno) and I love many other varieties. Once again, D is a loyalist. I am a lover of change. I make several different pizzas to keep myself interested. Dirty rotten lover of change. 

Now I'll let you in on a little secret... 

My pizza dough recipe may look extremely familiar to some of you. 

That's because my pizza dough recipe is my bread recipe. 


I have tried many different recipes for pizza dough over the years. One of my favorites comes from my sister, Leah, and my brother-in-law, Jon. (<----- He's John the Baptist if you ask my son. Hehe. Another story for another time.) 

Leah and Jon also have pizza night. They were our inspiration. The wind beneath our wings. 

Anyways... I have a husband who LOVES a soft, thick crust. He also loves my bread, so one week I decided to try using my bread recipe and removing the second rising time so it didn't get TOO fluffy. I didn't tell him. I just let him dig in. It was one of those glorious moments in my life wherein I felt like Wonder Woman. He loved it. A lot.

What You'll Need: 

For Dough:
5-6 cups flour 
1/4 cup sugar  
1 Tablespoon baking powder  
1 Tablespoon salt 
2 Tablespoons yeast
1/4 cup wheat gluten
2 1/4 cup milk  
1/4 cup oil
1 egg

Mix together 2 cups flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, yeast, and gluten. 

In another bowl, combine the milk and the oil and heat until very warm (around 2 minutes in the microwave) - you should be able to stick your finger in it comfortably, but barely.

Add liquid to flour mixture. 

Mix with a whisk for 3 minutes. (I mix my breads by hand as I do not have a mixer - if you want to use one just mix for 1 minute low and 3 minutes medium speed.) 

Add the egg. 

Stir in 3-4 cups flour, and fold flour into the dough until it is thoroughly incorporated. 

**This dough is a tad darker than usual because this was for bread and I added flax and wheat germ to the mix**

Oil a large bowl and put your dough ball into the bowl with a little oil on it so it doesn't dry out. Cover and let rise 40 minutes. It does need to be warm. In the summer it's fine, but in the winter I turn my oven on for just a moment and then put the bread bowl in the oven, still covered, with the oven off. The residual heat helps it rise beautifully!

***NOTICE: If you're familiar with my bread recipe, this next part is the only difference... I skip the second rising time (once dough is formed into loaves) and I go straight to making the pizza***

Split the dough into two parts (for two pizzas) and roll onto your pizza pan. My sister uses a stone because they like their crust crispy on the bottom. My husband likes his pizza crust super soft so I use a metal pizza pan with holes in it. 

Continue to work the dough out towards the edge of your pizza pan. Press out from the middle with your fingers until the dough reaches the outer edge with ease. Then poke holes all over the dough with a fork. It's kinda fun!! 

Now for your sauce and toppings... 

First, let's talk about pizza sauce. I like to be able to tell it's there, but barely. We use a simple sauce. Canned tomato sauce, a little basil, and garlic salt. That's it. Combine the three, and then spread a small amount of sauce onto your pizza dough. Seriously... don't go overboard. You'll thank me later. 

Next, a layer of cheese. We use shredded mozzarella and cheddar. I buy it in bricks and shred my own because pre-shredded cheese is coated in potato flour or other "anti-binding agents" to keep it from sticking together, and it never melts as well once it's had that crap on it. 

Then I add my toppings. 

(At this point you'll want to preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.)

There's always a classic pepperoni for my pizza purist. 

For me? 

BBQ Chicken (Canned chicken, bbq sauce, top with fresh cilantro. Heaven.)

Canadian Bacon & Pineapple (Pretty self-explanatory.)

Taco (Corn chips, black beans, taco meat, tomatoes, lettuce. Yum!)

BLT (Bacon. Lettuce. Tomato. Overeat.) 

And sometimes I go crazy and make one of these little numbers... 

Spinach & Artichoke Pizza. I've got a post coming later on this bad boy. Holy canoly ravioli. 

Once you have your toppings just the way you like them, make sure you top each of them off with a layer of shredded cheese, and bake @ 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

NOTE: I do bake two pizzas at once in our oven. Let them bake for about 10 minutes and then swap their positions so each gets golden on the bottom and top. If I have one pizza that's thicker than the other (say I have a pepperoni and a thick bbq chicken) I always let the thick pizza finish baking on top so the upper portion gets nice and done.

Now take them out, slice them up, say a little prayer, and stuff your face!! 

Oh and if you've never tried it, drizzle your pizza slice with ranch dressing, and top with a sliced tomato. Then eat it with a fork and knife. It is pure goodness. Magic, I tell you.

baking powder  
wheat gluten
olive or vegetable oil
tomato sauce
garlic salt
mozzarella cheese
cheddar cheese
*your choice of toppings

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