Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday is Homemade Pizza Night

It has become a tradition in our family to have homemade pizza for dinner EVERY Friday night. It gives us all something to look forward to at the end of the week and even motivates Dave to try to get home from work before 7 pm! Some of our visitors have liked the pizza so much, they have asked me for the recipe, so I thought it would be a good opportunity to write a post with photos (and I'm trying out my new flash, so bear with the photos- I'm no expert here).

For the crust:

2 cups flour (if you want to use part whole wheat flour, use 1/2 c whole wheat, 1 1/2 c white)
1 TBSP yeast (1 packet)
2/3 cup warm water (90-110')
pinch sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 TBSP oil

To make the dough for the crust, put the yeast in your mixing bowl with the pinch of sugar, the sugar helps activate the yeast. I run the tap water at its hottest setting until it reaches the highest temp, then I measure out my 2/3 cup, the hottest setting here usually comes out around 100'. Add the water to the bowl with the yeast and let it sit about 5 min. (NOTE: IF you are using wheat flour, add the wheat flour to the bowl first, then the yeast, then the sugar, then the water. I read that the wheat flour is less stiff if you let it soak in water for a while). See my photo below of the yeast/flour - you can see it bubbling up, the yeast is activated:

Add in the rest of the flour, the oil, and the salt, mix on low until the flour is mixed in, then turn it to medium and let it knead for about 5-6 min, I once read that is the optimal kneading time. You can tell it's done, it will peel itself off the side of the bowl in a nice ball- see photo below. If it's still sticky, add a touch more flour, or if it's crumbly, a splash of water- but honestly, with this recipe, I've always had it come out perfect everytime.

While the dough is kneading, I cut up one onion and saute it in about 1 TBSP olive oil. I add a pinch of salt and pepper to this, and then I use my Garlic slicer and add about 6 cloves of garlic. I saute it over medium until the onions are translucent, when they are done, we add them to our sauce. Here is what they should look like when finished cooking:

When they are done, you can add them to the sauce, we use Contadina tomato sauce, it's thin and plain, so it's easy to customize it with seasonings to your own taste. I sometimes saute them in the morning while the kids are playing and refrigerate them for later.

Put the dough in a greased bowl, cover it with a cloth and let it rise about 1.5 hours. I usually sit it on the stove top with the oven at 200', the heat helps the dough rise. There is a new yeast by Fleischmann's, especially for pizza crust, where you don't need to let the dough rise, it is very nice, but hard to find in the Northeast of the USA.
This is the dough when it is doubled in size:

Punch down the dough and pick off balls to roll out for your crust, this recipe can make 1 medium and 1 small thin crust or 1 large thick crust pizza. We are used to Massachusetts thin crust, so we opt for the 2 pizzas. Lately, I've been doubling the recipe, making 1 large, and 4 small, so that we have extras for lunch the next day. Also, I got the kids these individual pans so they can make their own pizzas, they love it and it keeps them busy while I'm cooking. Before rolling out the dough, I use a paper towel to rub olive oil around the pizza stone. Roll out the dough, then pinch the edges of the crust for a small crisp crust.

Roll sauce around the dough, leave about 1 inch around the crust.

For cheese, we use some shredded kind that I can't read what type it is, too much kanji for me and we also use shredded mozzerella. Sometimes we add pizza seasoning from Penzey's or salt and pepper. For toppings, we either use cooked crumbled bacon or pepperoni:

Cook the pizza at 400' for about 15 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Mine's a bit burnt below, but I like it crispy.

Here are the little chefs enjoying their creations.

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