I haven’t blogged about it much yet, but Stu and I have been trying to perfect our pizza recipe for months now. We are big pizza fans and ever since we attended our pizza demonstation with Jeff Michaud last July, we’ve been trying relentlessly to do it ourselves.

We’ve tried making dough from scratch so many times, but failed.  We’ve bought the dough from the pizza shop down the street. We’ve made sauce from scratch, and bought it out of a can. We’ve used fresh basil, and dried spices. We’ve used meats, cheeses, peppers, and veggies of all varieties. But we’ve never quite mastered our technique.

Another thing we are lacking is a pizza stone. These go for about $40 and are not hard to find. You can get them from a specialty cookware store, or even from your local Walmart or Target. However, it’s just not something we’ve invested in yet. Stu has temporarily solved this problem with a cast-iron skillet. This works ok for the time being, but since we make pizza almost every other week, I am feeling its time for a bigger investment.

This past week, we decided to try our pizza out from scratch one more time. The weather was nice and we were going to grill it, plus it was the Italian Market Festival and I had picked up some fresh mozzerella from DiBruno Brothers.

I  had found a dough recipe from Annie’s Eats, and decided to give it at try.

Basic Pizza Dough
Adapted from Baking Illustrated, featured on Annie’s Eats blog

½ cup warm water
2¼ tsp. instant yeast
4 cups (22 oz.) bread flour, plus more for dusting
1½ tsp. salt
1¼ cup water, at room temperature
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup.  Sprinkle the yeast over the top.  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the bread flour and salt, mixing briefly to blend.  Measure the room temperature water into the measuring cup with the yeast-water mixture.  With the mixer on low speed, pour in the yeast-water mixture as well as the olive oil.  Mix until a cohesive dough is formed.  Switch to the dough hook.  Knead on low speed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, 1½-2 hours.

Press down the dough to deflate it.  Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface.  Divide the dough into two equal pieces.  Form each piece of dough into a smooth, round ball.  (If freezing the dough, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze at this point.)  Cover with a damp cloth.  Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no longer than 30 minutes.

To bake, preheat the oven and pizza stone to 500˚ F for at least 30 minutes.  Transfer the dough to your shaping surface, lightly sprinkled with cornmeal.  Shape the dough with lightly floured hands.  Brush the outer edge lightly with olive oil.  Top as desired.  Bake until the crust is golden brown, and cheese is bubbling, 8-12 minutes.

I used regular flour because we didn’t have bread flour. This recipe was incredibly easy, especially with the KitchenAid! The dough tripled in size over a period of an hour.  We ended up baking our pizza in the oven instead of the grill. I’ll post grilled-pizza pictures when we get around to that later this summer. We were able to break the dough into 4 separate pieces  to make a few meals worth. We then made garlic knots with the leftovers.

Margherita Pizza with Tomato Sauce, Mootz, and Basil

Fresh Pesto Pizza with Cherry Tomatoes and Mozzerella

Roasted Zucchini, Spinach, and Tomatoe Pizza with Feta Cheese

All three of these pizzas were vegetarian, and although they were each delicious and unique, I think next time we will make an addition of some sausage or pepperoni. Maybe some proscuitto!  I will definitely be sticking to this recipe from here on out. All we need now is a real pizza stone and we’ll be good to go!

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