Is pizza. I like the basics...pepperoni, canadian bacon. I like more advanced varieties...hawaiian, taco, barbeque. I like the specialties...pesto chicken, margherita.
I really like pizza. But, homemade pizza was just okay until recently.
I decided to try a whole wheat crust. It actually is very good. We have been having pizza on it for the past 6 months. It is a good thickness. It is pretty simple. And it is very tasty.
But last night, I made the best. Homemade. Pizza. EVER. I tried a new dough - and it was perfection. I put just the right toppings on - and it was delicious.
But lets back-up just a bit, I have been research what makes a great homemade pizza. And here are the few tips that I have learned.
#1 - Your oven must be very hot. I'd say somewhere between 400 and 500, but I personally had it on 450 last night.
#2 - Cook all ingredients first. We have chicken on our pizza a lot all the time. So, grill the chicken up ahead of time.
#3 - I baked one pizza on a stone, already heated and one on a plain, flat cookie sheet. They both turned out equally yummy.
#4 - Cook your pizza for 10-12 minutes. That is all it should take if your oven is hot enough, which it should be (see #1).
#5 - Be creative with your pizza. Put whatever you like on it. Last night, I used pesto as the sauce (which makes an amazing pizza), added mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, topped with grilled chicken, pine nuts, parsley, and red pepper. The flavors melded together just right.
By the way, the pizza I make has a relatively thin crust. I'm sure different advice would apply if you are into thick, bread-like crusts.
So since I have found the homemade pizza recipe of the century that we will probably make every week for the rest of our lives and a recipe that I feel comfortable making for family and friends, I thought I should share it with you. Although, I can't take credit for it. I was told about it from a friend, who actually got it from a cookbook, which I went out and bought.
Here you go:
2 tsp dry yeast
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp lukewarm water
2 cups unbleached bread flour (I just used regular flour)
2 Tbsp EVOO
1/2 tsp salt
In a bowl, combine the years, 1/4 cup of the water, and 1/4 cup of the flour. Let it stand until it bubbles up, a minimum of 30 minutes or up to 1 hour.
Add the remaining 1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp water, the remaining 1 3/4 cups flour, the EVOO, and the salt. Mix the dough thouroughly. Turn it out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth, elastic, and a bit tacky to the touch, 7-8 minutes.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl and turn to cover it with the oil (I just used cooking spray). Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, 1-1 1/2 hours. (Or let this dough rise in the fridge overnight. The next day bring to room temperature and proceed.)
Punch down the dough. On a floured surface, divide into 2 pieces and form into round balls. Roll into a 9-inch circle, about 1/4-inch thick. Bake in a HOT oven for 8-12 minutes.