When I was first married I used to make pizza, but frankly it was terrible! Over the years I have learned that I need to use better ingredients, and I have adjusted the use of the dough. (For some stupid reason, I used to use ground beef....) I have it figured out now and I want to share with you what I have learned! Why spend a lot of money on take out pizza, or going to an expensive pizza parlor when you can make it good at home?
The dough recipe was given to me by my brother. When I first started using it, I didn't have pizza pans, so I made one big pizza from a jelly roll pan. Now I realize that was too much dough for that size of pan. It was more of a pizza cake.... This recipe makes three rounds. It's such an easy recipe that I have it memorized.
In a large mixing bowl (I use the large tupperware bowl) combine the following:
3 Cups flour
1 tsp. salt
In a separate bowl combine:
2 1/2 teaspoons of yeast (I think that's one packet...I measured once)
1/2 cup of very warm water
Note: When using yeast, if you use too hot of water you will kill the yeast. But it needs to be pretty warm. If you could wash dishes in it, it isn't too hot. :)
When using yeast, always start it in a separate bowl so that you can "proof" the yeast. This means that you are basically testing it to make sure that it is good yeast. If it starts to bubble and the water turns cloudy, then your yeast is good. When all of the yeast in the bowl has started to react, then you can add it to the flour mixture.
Make an indentation in the center of the flour mixture. Pour in the yeast mixture. Add one more cup of very warm water. Stir until the flour is incorporated and the dough follows the spoon. Now knead for a few minutes by hand. You will probably need to add a little more flour so that the dough won't stick to your hands. Knead until the texture is smooth and elastic.
You knead by folding the dough in half and pressing down, then fold in half again and press down. Repeat this until the dough is smooth. By kneading, you are causing glutein from the wheat flour to form. Glutein is the substance that binds the bran.
Leave the dough in the bowl and cover the bowl with a clean, dry cloth. Let sit until double in size. That means that the circumference of the dough ball doubles.
While the dough is rising, prepare your other ingredients, and grease the pizza pans. When the dough is double in size, take one third and put on the pizza pan. Grease your hands slightly and begin to form the pizza by hand. I used to roll out pizza dough until I saw this method on tv. It works much better, and is less mess. Repeat with the other 2/3 of dough.
Here are my favorite pizza recipes:
No science to this. I buy inexpensive spaghetti sauce and spoon some on the dough. Next spread a layer of mozzarella cheese. Lastly lay out a layer of sliced pepperoni. Bake about 15 minutes, or until the bottom of the pizza is golden.
Make a pepperoni pizza, but add chopped onions and bell peppers, chopped mushrooms, olives, etc.
Instead of spaghetti sauce, spread barbecue sauce on the dough. Top with cheese, shredded cooked chicken, and thin red onion slices. After it is cooked, add fresh chopped cilantro
For the sauce, combine pesto sauce with a little olive oil. (Try growing your own basil and making pesto from scratch!) Spread on the dough. In a bowl, combine one chopped tomato, and one chopped red onion. Add a little olive oil and balsamic vinegar. (about a tablespoon each) Mix well and put on top of the pesto sauce. Top with chunks of feta cheese.
Try this some weekend!