Yes, yes…I know. Pizza is considered junk food but we do have to have a life! As far as pizza goes, it’s not as bad as it seems especially when made at home and you can control what goes on it. So once in a while it can be fun to get the kids involved and make it at home. Last summer my 2 1/2 year old grand daughter, Erynn even helped. I just put a big sheet on the floor and gave her the goods and away she went. She did nearly sit in it and we do believe there may have been a toe print but all in all, it was a success and a good time was had by all. I cooked it on the BBQ and it was great!
There some basic things to know about making pizza to increase your success. Here’s what can make it easier.
Erynn, pizza maker extraordinaire with Grandpa Duck
1) Get a bread machine. If you don’t want to buy new, go to the thrift store. Often you can pick up used machines for a few bucks and they are easy to use. My machine will make 2 large crusts at a time and you can freeze the dough and pull it out and thaw the morning of the pizza making event.
2) Cook pizza at 500 degrees for about 20 mins.
3) Not necessary but a pizza stone is a great tool too. If you don’t have one, just use a baking sheet with Semolina flour scattered on it to avoid sticking. Don’t use regular flour for this. Fine cornmeal would be a better choice.
4) Make sure your toppings are dry. For eg. canned unmarinated artichokes will be quite wet so dry off on some paper towel.
So here’s my recipe:
Pizza Dough (makes 2 large pizza)
Put in bread machine tin in this order…
9 to 11 oz water
3/4 tsp sea salt
3 TBSP Olive Oil
4 Cups Organic Unbleached White Flour (I don’t use whole wheat because it is often rancid. You can get rice crusts but I’m going for the ‘complete pizza satisfaction’ feeling here so alter as you wish for your circumstances.)
2 tsp active dry yeast or bread machine yeast
My machine setting is 11 and that setting just kneads and rises but does not cook so look for that mode on your machine. If you don’t have a machine, just hand knead for 10 mins until shiny and put in a bowl rubbed with olive oil to avoid sticking and cover with plastic wrap. Leave in a warm place to rise and then use immediately or freeze. You can put it in the fridge and take out closer to assembly time to warm up.
When ready to assemble, sprinkle the counter with semolina flour which is a bit on the course side and roll out your dough. I don’t recommend flinging it in the air without some practice as it is hard to scrape off the ceiling:) Your dough doesn’t have to come out round. Odd shapes are OK.
Place the dough on the baking sheet or stone that’s been sprinkled with semolina. Preheat oven to 500 F.
Now for the toppings…
While your dough is rising, prep the toppings. You will need pizza sauce (tomato based). One small can (213 ml/7.5 oz) will do 2 large pizzas. If you want to get adventurous, try pesto instead. Both these choices can be home made or buy organic.
Cheese choices: Mozzarella of course but cheddar, emmentaler, parmesan, feta are all good too. You can even buy pregrated pizza cheese but watch out for the additives. Safer to grate your own.
Other possibilities: peppers (sweet or hot), onion, mushrooms, pineapple, artichokes, olives (kalamata or black), etc.
Meats: Look for meats with no additives and preservatives. There are some deli meats on the market like that now. Options… Back Bacon, Ham, Pepperoni, Salami, Cappicolli, small meatballs, ground beef, etc. Some people like seafood on pizza so really…it’s your personal preferences. You can keep it vegetarian if you want.
I like to tear some fresh basil or arugula on the pizza when it comes out of the oven.
So assembly…spread the tomato sauce or pesto all over the pizza except near the edges, sprinkle liberally with cheese. Then add the rest…don’t overdo as it will be soggy. My personal fave: tomato sauce, mozzarella, a bit of cheddar, smoked bacon (partially cook before putting on the pizza), pineapple, black olives, feta cheese, peppadews and basil. You can get peppadews which are a sweet picante brined pepper that resemble a cherry pepper at Granville Island (South China Seas Trading) or online. I’m lucky to have talked my local butcher shop here on Gabriola into stocking them. Peppadews have a tangy fruity taste that is very unusual and fantastic! I’m sure they will be available all over the place soon!
Here’s a link with some interesting info about peppadews.