Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Homemade Pizza

Making homemade pizza has been on my To Do list for a very long time. For Mother's Day I purchased 500 Pizzas&Flatbreads cookbook so that I could finally mark another item off the list. I know it's very easy to get recipes off the internet when it comes to pizza making, but I really love having a cookbook handy. I go through it over and over again until I finally pick the one to try. I went ahead with the basic pan pizza crust recipe because it allows you to either stretch it out into a jelly roll pan, or make two 9 inch round crusts. So with that sorted out I needed to tackle the yeast packets.

The recipe calls for "Traditional active dry yeast". I am used to the rapid rise yeast from back home. However they don't sell that here. You can use the rapid rise yeast in place with no problems but luckily I figured out that the yeast sold over here is the active dry yeast it called for. I'm telling you,sometimes I need to figure out several different things before making one item:) So anyway for my dutch and german peeps,the yeast packets we have here are A-ok to use. I was super skeptical because of the small amount of yeast that it called for. I thought for sure that it was going to fail and not beable to stretch out to fit the jelly roll pan. Like always, I was wrong:) The crust was perfect. I was really happy with the way it turned out and we all loved it. It's not the same as say eating a Pizza Hut pizza crust but it is a decent crust.
 I look forward to trying many more recipes in this book. So far it's been a real winner!

Basic Pizza Crust
1 cup Bread Flour
1-1/3 cups Flour
3/4 cup plus 1 TBS Warm Water
1 tsp. Traditional Active Dry Yeast..can use one packet of the rapid rise yeast in place.
1/2 tsp. Honey
1-1/2 tsp. Olive Oil
3/4 tsp. Salt

To make the dough,combine the flour. Place warm water, yeast,honey,and olive oil in bowl of standing mixer. Add 1/3 cup flour and mix on low speed or whisk by hand until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap or clean paper towel and let sit for 20 minutes,until mixture is foamy top. Add remaining flour and salt and mix with dough hook for 4 minutes,or knead by hand for 10 minutes,until the flour is incorporated and the dough is smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot to rise for 1-1/2 hours, or until dough has almost doubled in size. If using rapid rise yeast I imagine it will only take 1 hour until it's doubled in size.

If making one pizza, lightly oil a jelly roll pan. Place dough in pan, and punch down once in center. Using your hands, stretch out the dough from the center to the sides,taking care to distribute it evenly around the pan. Using toothpicks or small lightweight containers as supports in each corner,tent the dough with paper towel and return to warm spot for another 45 mins. **I actually didn't bother with the toothpicks and tenting. I let me dough rise in a warm oven and the dough never shrank.
 If making 2 pizzas,lightly oil two 9 -inch round cake pans. Using your hands or a rolling pin,stretch out each ball to form a 9 inch disc. With fingers,work a little dough around edges to form crust. Place dough in pans,cover with clean towel, and return to warm spot for 45 minutes.

Place oven rack on the bottom rack of oven. Preheat to 550 or 300 celcius. Spread pizza sauce over crust, leaving a 1/2 inch border around the edge. Bake in oven for 8 minutes. Remove from oven and spread on shredded mozzarella cheese and choice of toppings. Return to oven and bake for another 5-6 minutes,until cheese has melted and crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes. Slice into squares.
   For my Dutch friends..when using the yeast packets here it says that you do not need to let it sit in warm water but instead can be mixed in right away. Thats what I always do and never have problems. Simply add and mix everything all at once and then move on to the kneading part.