Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Homemade Pizza

When I was little, my family used to regularly make pizza together on Friday nights. My mother would make the dough from scratch and would give me a little bit to “knead” which, as a three year-old, really just meant playing with it like Play-Doh. As I got older and life got busier we eventually let go of the ritual of Friday night pizza. On a recent visit home, however, my mother and I once again made pizza from scratch together. Though this dough recipe is not the one that we used when I was a child, we were both really pleased with the results (as were our guests who shared the meal!).  Homemade pizza is also incredibly fun because of the opportunity to use any topping that you can dream up. (The pizza pictured features fresh mozzarella and caramelized onion.) Enjoy!

Homemade Pizza (adapted from Rocco Dispirito)
Makes 2 pizzas

½ tsp molasses
 ¾ cup warm water
1 packet active dry yeast
 ½ tsp salt
1 ¾ cup flour (I used half whole wheat and half white)
1 can Muir Glen pizza sauce (I think the canned sauce is good but you can use homemade tomato sauce as well)
Fresh mozzarella (or any other cheese you like)
Other toppings: caramelized onion, olive oil, basil, fresh tomatoes, artichokes, other vegetables, sausage etc.

In a bowl, dissolve the molasses in the warm water. When the water is cool enough to keep your finger in but still warm, add the yeast and mix. Let sit for about 10 minutes, or until the yeast starts to bubble. Add the salt and mix. Add the flour and combine with the liquid. Then, remove the dough from the bowl and turn onto a floured surface. Knead for about 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth like a baby’s bottom. Lightly coat a bowl with olive oil and place dough inside. Cover with a towel and let sit in a warm place for about an hour or until dough has doubled in size.

Divide the dough into two equal sized pieces.  Roll into a ball in the palm of your hand and then place each ball onto a lightly oiled baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit until it doubles again, about 45 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 500 degrees and place a pizza stone inside to heat. Let sit for about 20 minutes until the stone is nice and warm. On a lightly floured surface take the dough and roll it out as thin as possible. Place onto the pizza stone, prick the dough in several places with a fork and then put into the over for 2-3 minutes. Flip and bake for another 2-3 minutes until the crust is nice and crisp.

Remove crust from the oven, take several tablespoons of sauce and spread to the edges of the crust. Add all your other desired toppings. Place the pizza back into the oven for 6-10 minutes or until the cheese is well melted. Let sit for one or two minutes then slice and serve!

--Article and photos by Leyla Mocan

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