Saturday, April 16, 2011

April 16, 2011: Perfect Pizza Dough Recipe

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Okay, so pizza isn’t exactly in keeping with this month’s theme(s). But I’ve spent a lot of time perfecting my pizza dough and the truth is, you can top your pie with nearly anything you want – from chicken to seafood to veggies only. I’ve included some suggestions for toppings following the pizza dough recipe.

This pizza dough would be considered somewhere between a thick and a thin crust – kind of a “one size fits all” crust depending on what you and your family prefer!

If you’ve got a stand mixer, you can whip this recipe up in minutes. The dough only has to rise one time, so it really doesn’t take long at all to make your own homemade pizza any night of the week.

Perfect Pizza Dough

1 cup warm water
2 t. yeast
1 t. sugar
1 t. salt
½ t. oregano
2 T. olive oil
2 – 2 ½ cups flour

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water; add the sugar and let sit for a few minutes until it starts to get frothy. Add salt, oregano, oil, and a cup and a half of the flour. If you are using a stand mixer, mix on speed 2 until it starts to form the dough, then add additional flour, half cup at a time until the ball of dough cleans the sides of the bowl. If mixing by hand, knead the additional flour one half cup at a time until you have formed an elastic ball.

Place the dough in a bowl greased with olive oil, turn to coat all sides. Cover with a clean cloth and let rise in a warm place for about half an hour, or until doubled in size.

When the dough has doubled, punch it down. Oil a pizza pan (I used a pizza stone, which is ideal) and stretch the dough to the edges. Use your fingers to form a fluted edge so the sauce doesn’t drip off.

Add your toppings and bake in a 425 degree oven. Now here’s the secret I’ve found to making perfect pizza with a stone: Bake the pizza about 10 minutes, then turn your oven to Broil. Broil for a couple minutes, then return to 425 degree oven for another 5 to 10 minutes. This crisps up the bottom crust but also gets the cheesy top bubbly and browned.

Topping Suggestions

Buffalo Chicken:
Barbecue sauce with Tabasco added
Rotisserie chicken, shredded
Sliced red onions
Blue cheese crumbles

Veggie Pizza:
Kalamata olives
Shredded carrots
Thinly sliced white onion
Sunflower seeds
Feta cheese
Mushrooms, Black Olives, and Pepperoni

Everybody’s Favorites:
Homemade tomato sauce
Black olives
Thinly sliced bell pepper
Parmesan cheese
Mozzarella cheese
Pepperoni or crumbled Italian sausage

White Pizza:
1 T. butter + 1 T. olive oil (spread this over the crust instead of sauce)
Sliced garlic
Black olives
Tomatoes, sliced thinly
Bell peppers, thinly sliced
Mushrooms, sauteed
Parmesan cheese
Mozzarella cheese

Spicy Pizza:
Tomato sauce
Black olives
Jalapenos or green chiles
Monterrey Jack cheese
Italian sausage

Southwestern Pizza:
Refried beans
Enchilada sauce
Black olives
Green onions
Jalapenos or green chiles
Monterrey Jack or Cotijo cheese
Ground beef with taco seasoning

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