Sunday, April 10, 2011

Cheesy Homemade Pizza

I love pizza.

I could eat pizza every day.

Pizza is delicious.

I've never eaten a pizza I didn't like.

Cheese + Bread + Tomatoes = LOVE

If you couldn't tell, pizza is one of my all time favorite foods. We had pizza every week growing up and so I get very sad if I don't get it on a fairly regular basis. Over the last couple years I have started making my own pizza once in a while. I think it's fun to do and tastes pretty delicious. This will definitely not be my only homemade pizza post.

I have learned a few things about pizza making over the years, here are some of my tips. I welcome any other advice that you might have:
  1. While a pizza stone will make the best crust, a cookie sheet pre-heated in the oven does a decent job. 
  2. Crank your oven up as hot as it can possible go (mine goes to 550), and let it heat up that cookie sheet for at least 20-30 minutes. 
  3. Make the pizza on a piece of parchment paper. When you're ready to put it in the oven, lift up the parchment paper place it, pizza and all, on the super hot pizza sheet. 
  4. Just keep an eye on it and pull it out when the crust is light brown and the cheese is bubbly and starting to brown in spots-when it looks good to you. This will probably take less than 10 minutes.  
  5. Let it sit a few minutes before cutting in, so the cheese has time to set slightly.
  6. Eat and enjoy!

Shape the dough, it turns out looking different every time

Grate up some mozzarella
Heat up some sauce

Spread it on

Ready for the best part!

 I love cheese

So delicious, I could seriously eat this every day

Note: Here is the recipe I use as printed, but I don't follow it exactly. I usually use instant yeast so I can throw it right in with the flour. Also, I sometimes add a little more salt and olive oil, just my preference, it's a pretty forgiving dough, so just do what you like!

Pizza Crust
From Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook
  • 1 c warm water (about 110 degrees) 
  • 1/4 tsp sugar 
  • 1 envelope (1/4 oz) active dry yeast 
  • 14 oz (about 2 3/4 c) all purpose flour 
  • 1 tsp table salt 
  • 1 1/2 Tbs olive oil 
  • Cornmeal for dusting 
In a small bowl, sprinkle sugar and yeast over warm water; stir with a fork until yeast and sugar dissolve. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.

In a food processor, pulse flour and table salt to combine. Add yeast mixture and oil; pulse until mixture comes together but is still slightly tacky. Dough should pull away cleanly from your fingers after it's squeezed. Turn out dough onto a lightly floured work surface; knead four or five times, until a smooth ball forms.

Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, smooth side up. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 40 minutes.

Punch down dough. Fold dough back onto itself four or five times, then turn smooth side up. Replace plastic wrap; let dough rise again in a warm place until doubled in bulk, 30 to 40 minutes.

Punch down dough; turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Using a bench scraper or knife, divide dough into two equal pieces. Knead each piece four or five times, then form a smooth ball. Return on ball to oiled bowl; cover with plastic wrap. Pat remaining ball into a flattened disk; cover with plastic wrap, and let rest 5 minutes.

The dough is now ready for use, go wild!

(Alternately, the dough can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one day; before using, let it come to room temperature. If freezing, dough should be shaped and wrapped well in plastic first. Thaw completely in fridge.)

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