After a busy day gunning down the enemy (see previous post, here), what better way to refuel at night than with some homemade pizzas? I made some pizza dough the day before and the kids put the toppings on their pies, then into a HOT oven, and a few minutes later we were all munching on their hot pizzas. The dough was only a say 7 or 8 out of 10, not superb, but not bad for a home pizza, and the kids consumed everything they made… How I wish I had that wood burning brick oven at 700F for home made pizzas… :)
To make the dough, I added roughly 1/2 tablespoon of yeast to 1 and 1/4 cups of lukewarm water with a pinch of sugar to help the yeast bloom. After a few minutes undisturbed, the yeast should be “alive” and if not, start over with fresher yeast. Next, I added 2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, a teaspoon of kosher salt and the secret ingredient — 4 cups of sifted Italian “00” flour. I found the flour at an Italian food wholesaler and have been meaning to use it in pizza ever since. With a dough hook attachment, I kneaded the mixture for several minutes until smooth, then transferred it to an oiled bowl, covered in plastic wrap, and stuck it in the fridge overnight to rise slowly.
The next day, the dough should have roughly doubled or more in size in the fridge (yes, a slow rise in cold conditions); cut it into two pieces and stretch it out into a pizza shape. Top it with some simple tomato sauce — I used some crushed tomatoes briefly sauteed over high heat with some olive oil and salt — and place whatever toppings you desire. We used some chopped up country ham, shredded mozzarella cheese, grated parmesan cheese and chopped basil leaves.
The Teen made a “Margherita” with just tomato sauce, basil and cheese, while everyone else added ham in. Our first pizza, in the photo up top was a few minutes shy of having a totally crisp underside, but in succeeding pizzas they turned out rather nicely.
It is so easy to make pizza at home, and so relatively economical, I am surprised more folks don’t do this more often. The Teen sometimes cheats and uses those pre-made and frozen crusts in the grocery freezer cases for a fast home-made pizza, but it’s still best to make it from scratch…