Thursday, April 23, 2009

pizza!

dough

I've been in the market for a good pizza dough recipe for ages. Usually, when we decided to do homemade pizzas, we opt for the Trader Joe's pre-made dough, and it works just fine. It's not the best dough in the world, but it's cheap and made from decent ingredients. I even tried the Pastaworks dough one time, just for variety. It was good, but not something I'd go out of my way to get. Plus, I love making stuff from scratch.

dough3

When my friend Alia had us over for dinner one night, she presented us with a couple of lovely homemade pizzas. She'd made the dough herself, and it was thick, chewy, puffy in all the right places, and very tasty. When it comes to pizza, everyone is really picky, of course. Personally, when I go to a restaurant for pizza, I like the thin, slightly charred, chewy-crispy crust- like the famed Apizza Scholls makes. But, when making pizza at home, I accept the limitations of my small oven and opt for a more bread-like crust.

ikea advert

So, when pizza made its way onto our grocery menu for the week, I decided that I'd go ahead and whip up a batch of dough myself. I emailed my buddy and asked for her recipe, and through a convoluted series of attempts to connect, I ended up heading over to her house with a bag of flour and a packet of yeast, ready to be coached through my first pizza dough.

Her recipe comes from Vegan with a Vengeance, which surprised me- frankly, it's never been my favorite cookbook. I've never gone through it recipe by recipe, but the few things I've tried didn't really blow me away. Of course, I'm not vegan, and I never have been. I understand the scavenger-hunt like enthusiasm vegans have for trying to find good recipes, but it gets kind of old when things that are just vegan by default (salads, smoothies, etc.) start popping up. BUT! This was an excellent, easy-to-follow recipe (even though the instructions are way too long- even the author pokes fun at herself by titling the recipe, "Pizza Dough: A novel.) and I'm keeping it in my recipe box as my official pizza dough.

pie

Pizza Dough: the condensed novel
From Vegan with a Vengeance, transcribed in my chicken scratch as a bare-bones recipe, then re-elaborated at home.

1 cup warm water
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 (1/4 oz) packet of active dry yeast (the book says "not the rapid-rise stuff!" but that's what I used and it was fine.)
2 tablespoons olive oil (and more for drizzling)
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
cornmeal for dusting

In a small bowl, proof the yeast for 10 minutes by stirring in into the cup of warm water. If your yeast doesn't foam up within 10 minutes, it's dead and you should start over. (Apparently this doesn't really happen anymore, but just so you know.)

In a large mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients and whisk together. Add yeast water and oil, and mix up until a dough forms. It will form quickly, and if you have leftover flour at the bottom of the bowl, just set it aside. Knead for 10 minutes until dough is elastic and somewhat firm. If it's too sticky, you can add in small amounts of flour. When finished kneading, form into a tight ball.
In another large, oiled bowl, place the ball and turn to coat the entire thing with a thin film of oil, then cover bowl with a damp cloth. Let rise for 1 hour, then punch down (it feels so good to punch dough, haha!) and knead for another minute, dusting with flour if necessary, until dough begins to feel less like a sponge (it should be spongy) and more like dough. Form into a ball again, place back in the bowl, and let it rest for AT LEAST 10 minutes, but really more like an hour or two. You can also freeze it and use it another time!

When it's time to make pizza, cut the dough into equal sections (you can do 2 medium sized pizzas, 1 really big one- tonight we made 3 smallish ones) and roll/stretch out into shape. This dough rolls GREAT- I rolled it out into super thin pies and it puffed up pretty nicely anyway.

Preheat your oven to 500ºf, (preheat your pizza stone if you have one. I wish I had one!) slide your pie onto a baking pan, and let it go until it's done- 8-10 minutes.

pie2

I think it goes without saying that you can put whatever you'd like on a pizza, but if you're curious about what you see above, I'll tell you. We made 1 traditional-type pizza with red sauce (it was just classico pasta sauce, haha) and mozzarella. We did a white pie with garlic paste (garlic smashed up with salt), olive oil, caramelized onions, and mozzarella. (Go easy on the garlic, I overdid it and I was a little bummed.) And lastly, a pesto pie, because why not? It only takes a few seconds to whip up a pesto, and now I have some leftovers kicking around my fridge for later.

pie3

3 small pizzas happily fed 3 adults and 2 toddlers, but you could probably even squeeze in one more person and if you served it with a big salad, everyone would fill up.

allgoneee

Also, on the recommendation of several readers, I picked up a copy of Real Food: What to Eat and Why from the library and I'm really enjoying it so far. It's a pretty fascinating read, especially as a former vegetarian. If what she has to say is true, (that buttered bacon is delicious AND HEALTHY, in a nutshell) its kind of shocking to realize how much misinformation we are given about our diets growing up. I'm hoping that it will help me get over some of my food neuroses. It definitely reinforces most of my ideals about food- now if I could just find a book called, "IT'S OKAY, WHITE FLOUR IS STILL GOOD FOR YOU. EAT PIZZA AND PASTA EVERY DAY FOREVER." that would rule. Maybe I should just write one and see if I can sucker my body into agreeing with me?

ALSO! My friends The Klines are having us over for dinner this weekend to share the bounty of their first ever asparagus harvest! Holla! I can't wait to eat some home grown asparagus. Apparently it takes like 3 years after planting before you can actually harvest any, but after that it comes up every year like clockwork. Yum! I will post pictures, for sure.

35 comments:

Ramya Kiran said...

Wow, that looks amazing. Wish i could have a slice. :)

Eliana said...

Olive oil, caramelized onions, and mozzarella - I love that combo. I will have to try soon. Thanks so much for posting.

Wendy said...

That looks pretty similar to the Cook's Illustrated pizza dough we make. Except theirs is made in the food processor, which makes it easy to whip out a few batches in one go. If you let it rise slowly all day in the fridge it is extra tasty.

Melanie said...

The book recommendation sounds fascinating (I spend almost as much time reading about food as making it and writing about it!).

I too love home-made pizza, although down here(Arkansas) it's getting to the time of year when it has to go on hiatus for awhile. My gas oven heats the house up way too much and I'm trying to wait as long as possible before I turn on the AC! :( Breadmaking has turned into an early morning activity.

CC said...

hi, recently found your blog and love it. can't wait to try the pizza dough myself. sounds fun.

the_young_dude said...

I also have been hunting for the perfect pizza dough recipe for quite some time.. I have used Mark Bittman's recipe for quite some time, but never got a result as chewy as expected. I will definitely try your version!

Blue is Bleu said...

I might just need to try this out next time we have people over for dinner! Everything looked so yum :D

laura said...

I'm so hooked in Trader Joe's dough, I never stray. Thanks for posting a recipe to shake me from its grips!

Lovely photos, as usual!

Hillary said...

Wow, your pizza looks awesome!! Thanks for this recipe.

If you ever want to try making deep dish, here is a great recipe: http://chewonthatblog.com/2009/02/09/step-by-step-homemade-chicago-style-pizza/

kate said...

we make pizza every friday. we call it "pizza friday." yes. we are original thinkers!

my favorite is when the weather is warm enough (like today) to grill it.

fun. easy. less clean-up! win win win.
: )

Kelly J. Johnson said...

You have impeccable timing! My friend is having a homemade pizza cook-off this weekend to celebrate her ability to eat wheat and dairy now that her babe is 1 year and not breast feeding (he was allergic to both). There are so many recipes around for dough so having one from my favorite food blog really narrows it down. Thanks!

The Cast-Iron Darling said...

Looks yum!

But if you *want* thin, crispy, charred pizza at home, you can do it - Peter Reinhart has a recipe and I've never gone back.

There's instructions here: http://castirondarling.blogspot.com/2009/03/peter-reinhardts-pizza-dough.html

All you need is a hot oven and a well-heated baking stone!!

Amanda said...

I made this today and it was a HUGE hit. Made two very large pizzas for my husband and I. This recipe is definitely a keeper! Thanks for posting it!!!

Candice said...

have you read in defense of food by michael pollan? the ideology behind it is very similar to nina planck's. an enjoyable and very informative read.

bluejayway said...

oh no. I just left a gigantic comment, and then it was eaten. alright alright I'll try again

okay, re your pizza dough - it sounds awesome. I recently made a pizza with pastaworks dough with a homemade tomato sauce (just reduced-forever tomatoes with garlic, olive oil, basil & oregano) with mozzarella, provolone, gorgonzola and mushrooms. dude it was amazing and I can't wait to try similar things with a homemade crust.

and is there something about pizza dough that isn't ordinarily vegan? I just want to know if there's some traditional ingredient that is animal-based.

one last thing: enjoy nina planck! that book is wonderful & is my favorite book to recommend in tandem with the omnivore's dilemma for making people understand what they are eating and what it actually does for/to you.

Orange and Blue Homes.com said...

Your pizza looks great! I am a vegetarian and I agree, pizza and pasta forever! I will be searching your blog for yummy vegetarian meals. Thanks for the recipes. You did a nice job on your blog.

Rebekka said...

Very, very good to know. 'Specially for those of us with no go-to pizza recipe. Thank you!

mlle noelle said...

Have you ever tried pizza on the grill? It's REALLY good! It's the closest I've ever come to replicating that wood-fire flavor at home. I use the Trader Joe's dough all the time too when I don't have time to make it from scratch.

Treehouse Chef said...

Thanks for sharing the pizza dough recipe. It looks similar to what my brother used at his pizza place.

Daniella said...

homemade pizza iz so life-changing. i'm in LOO<3VE with your blog.

Nicole said...

I finally started using rapid rise yeast and skip the proofing and long rise all together. It only needs a 20 minute rest on the counter. One day I might return to the recipe hunt and try some new techniques, but right now I'm sticking with what works! (Your pizzas look delicious by the way.)

Noreen said...

I came in here looking for another recipe you had once posted, and got distracted by the pizza posting. I just thought I'd mention an interesting tidbit....the pizza dough recipe you have presented is exactly the one I use from chef Wolfgang Puck's book "Pizza, Pasta, and More", with one exception. Instead of using white sugar to feed the yeast, he uses 1 Tab. of: H-O-N-E-Y!!!!

Jess said...

I love the light in that first cutting board shot. Just beautiful. How jealous am I that you have asparagus-growing friends?! I look forward to seeing the photos.

zoe said...

Those pizzas look delish! Have you ever tried zaa'tar on pizza? Its awesome!

Treehouse Chef said...

I always enjoy your photos! Pizza looks delicious!

Jennywenny said...

mmm. I find that I can roll the crust thinner by putting the dough in the fridge to relax the gluten before rolling. I'm sure thats not authentic but I get my nice thin crust that way...

Melissa said...

I made an amazing pizza crust for dinner tonight... and after I totally impressed myself, I thought of your blog. I remember when you posted this one and how you had said that you were wanting a crispy-type crust, but had never been able to find one. And I know that you love no-knead bread as much as my husband and I do... so, I thought I would share what we did. You're sure to love it as much as the bread. :D

I followed this guys (or girls???) idea on how to do it, but didn't use his recipe http://nookandpantry.blogspot.com/2008/04/no-knead-pizza-dough.html I just used the old standby 3 c. flour, 1 1/4 tsp salt, 1/2-ish tsp yeast, 1 1/2 c water recipe. (I started it in the am, instead of the night before, which is why there was a bit extra yeast) Anyway, I did it on a pizza stone... and it was AMAZING! Just thought I'd share.

Radiantsun said...

I found your site today and have been going through each post copying and pasting your recipes to my "want to make" list. I'm so excited to have found this blog! I know this is an old(er) post but I just wanted to ask....when I make bread dough and I set it to rise (in an oiled bowl covered with a wet dishtowel) it ends up sticking to the dish towel when I take it off, causing the dough to tear and then it falls. slight cursing ensues and I just wonder what other people do to avoid this!

Alicia Lynn Carrier said...

radiantsun- use a bigger bowl! haha

Radiantsun said...

hmmm...right now I'm using the biggest bowl I have...looks like I need to get a new one! DERRRR why didn't I think of that?!

Kelly said...

Finally got around to making it, and it's fabulous! Won't go back to premade pizza bases. Only problem was, when it came time for rolling, my dough seemed to hate me. It kept resisting and then trying to shrink. Any tips to prevent this?

juliamarisa said...

i can't remember how i came across your blog, but i tried this recipe and my family LOVES it. i've done it so many times i've got it memorized. i usually do pesto with sliced tomatoes and mozzerella. so good. thanks for the inspiration.

Alena Jo said...

Yum! I'm ready to try a new pizza dough recipe. Can't wait to try this. And thanks for sharing the toppings ideas.

keri said...

I hope my kids will love it when I make some for them. They are pretty picky in what they eat.
dining tables

itzzzchloe said...

WOW! This looks really good. I was browsing for Pizza Recipes, I am going to have a home-made pizza for an upcoming
filipino Party for my sister.