Sunday, January 27, 2013

How to make: Homemade Pizza

This is one of my favorite dinners!  Let me tell you, I love pizza sooo much.  I have been known to make statements such as "I could eat pizza every night and never get tired of it!"  Ok, that may be an overstatement, but that just shows how much I enjoy eating pizza!

Now, living in Chicago is rough for pizza eaters on a budget.  Back when I lived in Michigan, I was used to affordable pizza wherever you went.  Here, pizza is SOO much more expensive!  Because of this, I've been in the habit of periodically making my own pizzas at home.  It's much cheaper, you can put as many toppings on it as you want (none of this $2.50 per additional topping idiocy), and it's delicious!

I've adapted this recipe from over on the Food Network, and it works out great for me.  In this recipe I use all white bread flour, but you can use 1/2 white and 1/2 wheat to make wheat dough as well.  I'll post that sometime soon.

Gather your ingredients:

Pizza Dough
(Makes 6-8 medium thin pizzas or 3-4 large pizzas)

7 cups bread flour
1 Tablespoon sea salt
2 Tablespoons dry active yeast (or two packets)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons honey
2 2/3 cup lukewarm water (~115 degrees)

Begin by sifting together your flour and salt in a large mixing bowl:

In a separate, medium sized bowl, add your sugar, olive oil, yeast, and warm water:

I don't trust myself to judge what "lukewarm" is, so I like to make sure with a thermometer.  About 115 degrees should do it.     

Once the wet mixture is together, give a light whisk, then let sit for 10 minutes to let the yeast "bloom"

Here's the yeast after 10 minutes, active and ready to go!

Make a well in your flour, and pour the wet mixture in all at once.

Using a fork, swirl and mix in the flour until all combined.  This process may take a while.

Keep mixing!

At a certain point, get your hands in there to start bringing the dough together.

When it's mostly combined, pour contents onto a floured working surface and start kneading to combine the rest of the flour.

Keep working, kneading...

Knead until you're left with a smooth, springy dough, about 5-7 minutes.

Now we need to let the dough rise.  Grease the inside of a bowl with olive oil:

And set your dough inside.  Cover with a damp towel and put in a warm place to rise.

My oven is relatively warm when it's off because of the pilot light.  I'm leaving my dough here to rise for one hour.

 Here's the dough after it has risen.  It's nearly doubled in size!

Here's the fun part:  PUNCH IT DOWN!  

Give the dough another quick knead to push the air out. You're ready to make pizza!  Cut off the portion that you want to use now.  I used about a 1/3 of this dough for my pizza tonight.

Roll out the dough and place in a pizza pan for baking.

Brush with olive oil:

Spread some sauce:

Add some mozzarella:

And any other toppings you want!  I have pepperoni and green pepper today.  Another fun addition (which I forgot to do, and wanted to try) would be to butter the crust and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  

Bake in a 450 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, or until the edges start to brown slightly and the dough is cooked through.  And voila! You've got pizza!  

The rest of the dough can be cooked immediately or frozen for future pizza :)  Enjoy!

If you liked this, let me know in the comments!  And don't forget to follow me on Facebook and Twitter!

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