Monday, November 07, 2011

Pizza Paradise

Quick note of praise: Hubby made his weight goal. He officially lost like 43 pounds. No kidding. I am soo proud of him and he looks AMAZING. :)

So, for his first celebration meal, he asked for my homemade pizza, which is actually mostly my mom's homemade pizza. Isn't that sweet? Out of all the pizza's out there, he wants mine?

I say mostly, because I've tweaked the process a bit over the years.

I have a large family, so I made 3 batches worth. The crust comes out thick and fluffy. My mom's made this dough for as long as I can remember.

Here's the recipe:
1 cup warm water
1 packet yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
1 Tbl sugar
3 Tbl oil (I use olive oil)
1 tsp salt
3 cups flour

I always proof my yeast, as you never know if it's working properly. It's no fun to make an entire recipe and find out after the fact that your yeast is no good.

So, Thursday night, I made the dough in my KitchenAid. I love this mixer. The fireman and I bought it as a Christmas present for ourselves last year.

I add the yeast and warm water and sugar first. I don't proof in a separate bowl, why bother? The water has to be warm enough to activate the yeast, but not too hot or it will kill some of it. A nice warm, but not scalding water is great. The sugar feeds the yeast.

Let it sit until you see bubbles form and rise to the surface.

Then you can add your salt, oil and flour. Add the flour slowly, mixing between portions. You can use canola, vegetable, olive oil or you could use butter. You're using 3 Tbl of a fat. If you want it butterier, use part, or all butter. I used olive oil.

It's a recipe, but you can still feel free to play with the ingredients.

I also played with the flour. I added 1/3 wheat, to see what the difference was. So, I used 1 cup wheat, to 2 cups white (unbleached).

This is 3 batches worth, so you're dough won't be this large if you're only making 1 batch worth.

Saran wrap and place in fridge overnight.

The next day, your dough will have raised, mine was to the top of the bowl.

 Knead the dough on a slightly floured workspace. I separated mine into two large balls and two smaller ones, then work them to fit your pizza pans. I really love rectangle shaped pizza.

Sometimes it's easier to roll out the dough, sometimes it's more uniform to stretch it. I just mess around with it until I get it the right shape. Don't worry if you have thin spots. It happens. And hey, it's rustic.

It's homemade!

I scatter corn meal on the bottom of my cookie sheets. It holds the dough a bit off the bottom of the sheet and allows the bottom to get a good crust and adds a little nice texture when you're eating.

Let the dough sit for about 30 min in a warm kitchen. The browning hamburger adds warmth to your kitchen and I shift the cookie sheets while I'm cooking so they all get some warmth.

I did notice that the wheat flour kept the dough from raising quite as much. Part of my family likes a thinner crust sometimes, so it was no big deal, but you could add some gluten if you're not gluten-free.

I like a mix of tomato paste and tomato sauce. I especially love Hunt's Roasted Garlic tomato paste. It's sooo yummy and rich. I mix two cans of paste to one can of sauce. It's fairly thick. After the dough is raised a bit, just spread on with the back of a spoon.

You can add your Italian seasoning to this. I don't use much, since I really love the roasted garlic flavor. The fireman likes more and sprinkles some over his sauce right on the pizza.

My dough with the wheat added didn't raise much, but you could see a little puffiness added.

 I browned up a couple pounds of hamburger meat. I usually use about a pound per pizza. After it was browned, I added minced, dried onions. They plump up a bit and add tons of flavor, but the kids will eat them because they are so small. Almost unnoticable.

I also sliced deli-meat ham thinly and browned it up in the skillet. It adds some texture and flavor to the ham.

One pizza was all meat (hamburger, ham, bacon bits(the lean prepackaged bits) one was supreme (hamburger, less ham, bell peppers, mushrooms and black olives).

The pizza to the left is my supreme one. My fav! The pizza to the right is the fireman's. He's added anchovies! Yikes! And is adding banana peppers here. Other than that, he also had some hamburger and ham on it.
 The pizza below is the ham only pizza, I add pineapple to half of it. Yum! Oh, I also added some bacon bits to this one.
 Below was the meat one.
Then pop into a hot oven 400 degrees, for about 20 to 25 min each. I swap mine after 10 minutes since I'm using both top and bottom racks.

The first two out of the oven! I just clean the counter well and slide them right onto it.

If you let the pizza sit for 5 minutes (if you can wait) before you cut it the bottom stays crisper. Otherwise, the warm, wet tomato paste, cheese and any meat juices tend to make it softer.

You can tell I mixed a little Colby Jack into the pizza on the left, wheras the other pizzas were only mozzerella. Use whatever you like.

Third pizza out, and first two cut. The girl waiting impatiently. The fireman's anchovy pizza needed a few more minutes.

All the pizza's out, the girl got into her ham pizza already. She couldn't wait.
Overall, the dough was a little crunchier, which I liked, but also a little less fluffy on the body of the pizza. I didn't like that as well. I think the boys liked it, though. Can't say for sure as the only sounds at dinner were the sounds of eating. They did get seconds. And thirds.

So, I'm thinking next time, I will make half of it with some wheat added and half without.

This was seriously good.  I had the bowl of leftover tomato paste on the table and would put a dollop on my plate to dip some pieces of pizza in it. I love it! We also shake parmesan cheese over our slices.

I totally recommend you making pizza this weekend!

Mix up the dough late at night and dream of pizza all the next day. Come home from work and get into it! Get your kids involved. Let them pick toppings, have portions of the pizza that's all their own. Get busy cooking and tasting with your hubby. Put on some Elvis.

Get flour on the counters, and pizza crumbs and cheese on the floor! You can sweep later! Or better yet, get a dog...

Mix up some dough!


Jana said...

That looks so yummy.

I finally ordered myself a stand mixer as a Christmas present to myself. It's a Sunbeam but it has all the hooks and paddles and two bowls. So maybe once it arrives, I'll dig out the dough hook and give this recipe a try. I've never had much luck with yeast but I suppose I shouldn't give up, though.

BTW, Kudos to your fireman for reaching his goal. The two of you are on FIRE. hehehe

JenMarie said...

Hehe. :) Thanks!

Honestly, the recipe couldn't be easier. I know it's kinda scary when you start messin with yeast, but seriously, pizza dough is a good start. Once you proof your yeast and you can tell it's working, you're gold.

Just remember, you can't overbeat yeast breads. They just get more tender, pastry's you don't want to overmix or they get hard. And you don't need pizza dough to get super fluffy, so it's a good one to start with.

I've got confidence in you! My first one was a Sunbeam, and I LOVED it. Mine just didn't have all the hooks and paddles.