Tuesday, June 7, 2011

must eat this pizza!

Since I don't have a house or apartment to work on this summer, I'm pretty obsessed with trying new foods and focusing more energy on that. Also, since we're eating 3 dinners a week with my parents, that helps out with the grocery budget and means I can let myself buy some more interesting ingredients for the meals that I am making!

This domestic restlessness yesterday prompted me to abandon my normal stand-by pizza dough recipe and try out the one on Smitten Kitchen, one of my new favorite cooking blogs. But......no offense to my old quickie pizza dough......it was the best decision EVER! This pizza took longer to make than my old recipe--about 1 hr and 45 minutes from start to finish rather than less than an hour, but it was completely worth it!

Here are her instructions with my modifications in italics:

Smitten Kitchen's Really Simple Pizza Dough

Makes enough for one small, thin crust pizza. Double it if you like your pizza thick and bready. I was nervous about the pizza being too thin and wimpy, so I quadrupled the recipe to make 2 big pizzas and 1 more ball of dough in the freezer. It was so thick and filling that Julie, Nathan, Ellis, Brody and I only ate one pizza between us all, and now Ellis has a whole pizza for lunches the rest of the week. So I think that she is a bit conservative about the portions. One recipe I think would make a perfectly sized, medium crust pizza!

1 1/2 cups flour (can replace up to half of this with whole wheat flour)
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup lukewarm water (may need up to 1 or 2 tablespoons more)
1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon sugar (sorry about that random space--it won't let me get rid of it!)

Stir dry ingredients, including yeast, in a large bowl. Add water and olive oil, stirring mixture into as close to a ball as you can. I tasted it at this point, and thought it was a little salty so added the sugar in. Dump all clumps and floury bits onto a lightly floured surface and knead everything into a homogeneous ball.

If you are finding this step difficult, one of the best tricks I picked up from my bread-making class is to simply pause. Leave the dough in a lightly-floured spot, put the empty bowl upside-down on top of it and come back in 2 to 5 minutes, at which point you will find the dough a lot more lovable.

Knead it for just a minute or two. Lightly oil the bowl (a spritz of cooking spray perfectly does the trick) where you had mixed it — one-bowl recipe! — dump the dough in, turn it over so all sides are coated, cover it in plastic wrap and leave it undisturbed for an hour or two, until it has doubled in size. I preheated the oven and let it rise in there, and it had doubled in an hour.

Dump it back on the floured counter (yup, I leave mine messy), and gently press the air out of the dough with the palm of your hands. Fold the piece into an approximate ball shape, and let it sit under that plastic wrap for 20 more minutes.

Sprinkle a pizza stone or baking sheet with cornmeal and preheat your oven to its top temperature. Roll out the pizza, toss on whatever topping and seasonings you like. (I always err on the side of skimpy with toppings so to not weight down the dough too much, or if I have multiple toppings, to keep them very thinly sliced.)

Bake it for about 10 minutes until it’s lightly blistered and impossible to resist.

Our dough puffed up beautifully, but wasn't the least bit doughy. LOVED it!!

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