recipe: homemade pizza

20 Jul

I’m not much of a pizza-eater, but I do love homemade pizza, especially when it means I don’t have to put tomato sauce on it. I like tomato sauce–just not, for some reason, on pizza.

Anyway, this recipe is whole-wheat, basic, easy, and delicious. I use a baking stone (the 15×10 brownie-baking size) and it comes out crisp and wonderful. You can load it up with various vegetables to maximize its nutritional value. Last night, I made this with onions, broccoli, cheddar, and queso blanco (a Mexican crumbly cheese). It was delicious. You can, of course, also use tomato sauce if you like.

Crust:
3 cups flour (I use white whole wheat flour)
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup water

Preheat your oven to a high temperature (450 degrees or so).

If you have a high-quality mixer, such as a KitchenAid, you can do what I do: dump all of these ingredients into the bowl and turn it on. (Remember that bread dough should be mixed at level 1 or 2–higher levels can overtax the motor). Otherwise, mix with a wooden spoon until it’s too hard to stir, then knead by hand.

When dough is smooth and elastic and forms a ball, place it in a clean bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place. Because this is destined for a flatbread application, it doesn’t have to rise a lot if you’re in a hurry. 20 minutes will be enough if necessary. 45 minutes, however, will get you the traditional amount of rise.

Spray a baking sheet with nonstick spray. Roll out your dough as evenly as you can. Let it proof while you cut up your toppings.

You can top with anything you like. I like onions and garlic, steamed broccoli, olives, red peppers, etc. As for cheese, I particularly like a mix of cheddar (which is very flavorful) and some other kind of better-melting cheese, such as queso blanco, mozzarella, or Monterey jack. You don’t need a lot of cheese, either: I grate about a cup and a half to cover the whole pizza.

When your dough is proofed (so that it has risen and plumped up a bit since you rolled it out), drizzle it with olive oil and use a pastry brush to spread the oil over the surface. Add tomato sauce if you’re using it. Sprinkle with the toppings. Add cheese. Pop it in the oven.

Watch it carefully–it can take anywhere between 12 minutes and 20 minutes to cook. (The variation, I think, is because of differences in the toppings and variability of the moisture level of the dough, based on how old your flour is.) When it’s done, the crust will be golden brown and all of the cheese will be bubbling.

Cut into squares and serve–but make sure you save some for breakfast, as this is delicious cold!

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