Monday, October 25, 2010

Pizza Pie

Pizza at home can be worthwhile if you take the time and effort. For me it is all about the crust. Put the best toppings on a bad crust and you have bad pizza. (as if there is such a thing!)

For years I have tried different flours and mixes and finally I have arrived at what I like; a crusty dough with a crunch that yields to a bready center.

However to get the best results I suggest a Pizza Stone, Peal and a food processer. I could not get good dough results out of a mixer and by hand is time consuming but is a great forearm workout.

I have two very well seasoned pizza pans that I have used for my years of experimentation, and you can forgo the stone, just turn your oven down to about 400. The results are not as good but are adequate.

Dough is something you get a better feel for the more you make it

Pizza Crust
1/2 cup warm water (110F is perfect)
1 pkg Active Dry Yeast
1 tsp honey

Combine honey with water. Sprinkle yeast on top. Let sit 10 minutes until foamy
Meanwhile mix in food processer with dough hook

4 cups unbleached flour
1 tsp Salt
1 cup warm water
1 Tbs olive oil

Slowly p0ur proofed yeast mixture in processer with motor running
process until dough forms ball at top. Check dough if sticky you may need to add additional flour and process more. Dough should be smooth but not dry. Dry requires you add additional water 1 tbs at a time.

Remove dough, Knead by hand for a couple of minutes. Add 2 tbs olive oil to a bowl. add dough turning to coat with oil. Cover with damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled about one hour. If your kitchen is drafty and cold put a cup of water in the microwave for one minute on high. Let dough raise in microwave.

Punch down dough. At this time you can choose to let it raise again until doubled about 3/4 hour and punch down again which will result in a more tender crust or:

Divide dough in 1/2. Let rest while you prepare toppings.

1/2 cup corn meal

Put 1/4 corn meal on Pizza Stone on lowest rack in oven. Preheat to 500F

Coat Pizza Peel with 1/4 corn meal. Work dough into circular shape with raised edges about 12" diameter. It takes some practice some people use a roller but a rustic look is kinda cool.
Add approx 3/4 to 1 cup sauce
toppings of choice
and if you have gone this far you might as well shred your own mixture of mozza, provolone and romano.
Slide from peal to stone using a quick jerk motion.

Bake approx 12 - 15 minutes Allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing. Repeat with remaining dough

Pizza Sauce: makes approximatly 3 cups

4 cloves garlic minced
1/2 medium onion finely chopped
2 tbs olive oil
3 tsp Italian Seasoning
2 tsp red chile flakes
8 0z Tomato Paste
2 x 14 oz can tomato sauce
2 cups water

In large saucepan heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. When soft add spices and chile flakes to oil until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomato paste, add sauce and water.
Bring to boil and then simmer for up to three hours. you want sauce to thicken.

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