Read a few recipes, but decided to go with Mr B., using some tips from a great post on Kitchen Wench.
The Recipe: Pizza
Based on How to Cook Everything (10th Anniversary Edition) by Mark Bittman (I can't recommend this book highly enough...)
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tspns instant yeast [I used active dry, 2.25 tspns, which you need to activate first - the only tricky part]
- 2 tspns coarse kosher or sea salt, plus extra for sprinkling
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbspns extra virgin olive oil
1. Combine flour, yeast (if using instant), and salt in large bowl. Add water (and activated active dry yeast, if using) and oil and stir to combine, until mixture forms a ball and is slightly sticky to the touch. If dough is still dry, add another tbspn or two of water.
2. Turn dough onto floured working surface and knead for a few seconds to form a smooth round ball. [Mine wasn't expecially smooth, but it didn't seem to matter.] Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap; let rise until dough doubles in size, approx. 1-2 hrs. (You can cut the rising time short if you're in a hurry, or let it rise more slowly in the fridge, for up to 6 or 8 hrs.)
3. If you want, you can freeze the dough (or some of it) at this point. Just wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or a freezer bag and freeze it for up to a month, then defrost to room temperature and continue with step 4.
4. When dough is ready, knead it lightly, form into a ball, and divide into 2 or more pieces, as needed [dough was very moist and floppy]. Roll each piece into a ball, and put onto a floured surface. Sprinkle with flour, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest for about 30 mins while you heat the oven. [Tip from Kitchen Wench post: use cornmeal/polenta to flour the surface - this gave the finished pizza a really fabulous crunch.]
5. Put pizza stone on a lower rack if using [we don't have one], and heat oven to 500F or higher.
6. Roll or lightly press each dough ball into a flat round. Do this directly on your pizza peel (if using), or lightly oiled baking sheet(s). [Two personal-size pizzas fitted on our baking sheet.]
7. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and add any other toppings. [I did some caramelized onions, thinly sliced tomatoes, basil leaves, pine-nuts, and grated parmesan.]
8. Bake in oven for 6-12 mins, depending on oven heat, till nicely browned. If using a baking sheet, it should go in the middle of the oven.
Again, only made half the recipe, feeling sure it would be an abject failure. But another time would make the whole thing and freeze half.
Was cautious with the toppings, because everyone emphasizes how important it is not to overload the pizza. But could have used a tad more cheese, making sure it goes all the way out to the edges. Also would have tucked the basil leaves under the tomatoes, as they got a bit crispy.
But it was delicious! And the topping possibilities are endless, of course (Kitchen Wench's post has some great examples, and Mr B. gives a huge list).
About to go in oven:
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