• How to Make Pizza

    Date: 2016.03.20 | Category: Blog | Tags:

    Pizza may possibly be the perfect food. Children and adults both love it, and it can be served in a variety of ways that cover most food groups: bread, dairy, vegetables, meats, and even fruit.

    The Italians believe that good pizza is all about the crust. There should not be an overabundance of toppings, because that would detract from the bread, which is the star. It’s up to you if you want to follow this philosophy, but either way, you can take your pizza to the next level by making it from scratch. It’s more affordable than delivery and tastes infinitely better than a frozen pizza and most delivery options. Making a pizza crust from scratch is easier than it sounds, and it really doesn’t take much more time than waiting for the delivery driver.

     For the dough, you’ll need:

    3/4 c warm water (110 degrees)
    1 package dry yeast
    2 tsp honey
    1 1/2 T extra virgin olive oil
    2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
    1 tsp salt

    First, combine the water, yeast, honey, and olive oil in a large mixer bowl. Allow it to sit for five minutes so the yeast can proof.

    Add 1 cup of flour and the salt, and mix with a dough hook on a low speed. Gradually add the remaining flour as the dough will absorb it (you may not need it all).

    Knead for about 7 minutes. Turn the dough out on a floured board and knead by hand a dozen times.

    Put the dough into a large, oiled bowl and roll the dough around until it’s well-coated. Cover it with a kitchen towel and allow it to sit for 30 minutes while you prepare the toppings. After 30 minutes, divide the dough into two balls and roll out each on a floured board into 8 inch rounds.

    Brush the dough with olive oil, and top with your favorite cheese and toppings. Bake on a sheet pan coated with cornmeal at 475 F for 8-12 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown around the edges and the cheese is bubbling.

     Always allow the pizza to rest at room temperature for 5-10 minutes before cutting into it; this allows the juices to go back into any vegetables on the pizza, preventing a soggy crust after cutting, and allows the flavors to further develop.

    You can turn making pizzas into a family event, or even a pizza party with your friends. Have about eight different precut toppings available, such as sliced red onions, caramelized onions, sliced red and yellow bell peppers, olives, pepperoni, sausage, pineapple, figs, and sauteed mushrooms. Offer a mozzarella, fontina, parmesan, feta, and even goat cheeses. The possibilities are endless.

    While a good pizza crust is delicious when simply brushed with olive oil and topped with mozzarella, salt, and pepper, you can offer even more different combinations by offering sauces. Go beyond the traditional tomato sauce with an alfredo, garlic oil, or pesto.

    Play around with the basic dough recipe to make it your own. Add some chopped herbs, garlic, or grated Parmesan when mixing the dough. Enjoy the process of making your own dough, of making the crust the star of the pizza, just as the Italians do.