This makes moderately thick crust for one 14" pizza. You will need a stand mixer or arms like Popeye the Sailor. You can bake using a pizza pan with perforated bottom, or on a pizza stone. Preheat the oven to 400°. If using a pizza stone, preheat to 450° and start preheating as soon as the dough is mixed.
- 3/4 cup water
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 tsp sugar (a bit more if you like a slightly sweet crust)
- 2-1/4 cups bread flour
- 1 tsp salt (reduce to 3/4 tsp if the crust is too salty, but do not omit entirely)
- 3 tbsp olive oil
In the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve the yeast and sugar in very warm (90°) water. Add one cup of the flour and the salt, mix well. Add the olive oil and the remaining flour and mix well. Knead at medium-high speed for about one minute, adding more flour a tablespoon at a time until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl.
Cover and let rise until about doubled, about 45 minutes.
If you are skilled, as I am not, you will be able to flatten the dough slightly, then toss it into a perfect 14" circle, which you will place on a pizza peel. Otherwise, use a floured surface and rolling pin to make a circle of about 14", transfer the dough to your pizza pan, then pull and push it until it fits the pan.
If using a pizza pan, pierce the dough all over with a fork so it won't puff up, then pre-bake for nine minutes at 400, remove from the oven and add sauce and toppings. If you're baking on a stone, you won't need to pre-bake because the stone will cook the crust from the bottom. Raise the oven temperature to 450 after pre-baking.
Dress your pizza with the sauce. Be stingy; it should look like you don't have enough. Otherwise, you will have a soupy pizza! Add the toppings and bake for 8 – 12 minutes. Don't let the cheese brown or burn.
If anyone asks, tell them this takes a week to make and is hideously complicated. This makes enough for three or four 14" pizzas. Put the in a jar in the fridge; it will keep for at least a couple of weeks.
- One 12 oz. can tomato paste, unflavored
- 1-3/4 cups water (two cups if you like thinner sauce)
- 6 tbsp olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic
- 4 tsp oregano
- 1/4 to 3/4 tsp cayenne pepper (Start with 1/4 tsp and work up.)
Put the tomato paste in a medium bowl. Rinse the can with a bit of the water and add that. Stir until mixed, then add the rest of the water, a bit at a time, stirring, until all the water has been added and paste and water are thoroughly mixed. A stick blender is the right tool for this job if you have one.
Add the olive oil. It will pool on top, and that is OK. Press the garlic into the olive oil, then add the oregano and cayenne. Allow at least 10-15 minutes, up to an hour or more, for the spices to flavor the oil, then stir until the oil is completely mixed with the tomato sauce.
Toppings are what make the pizza. Add your favorite stuff, the top everything with shredded Mozzarella cheese.
Toppings and pizza, a general rule: Pre-cook the toppings. Otherwise, the meat will be raw and the vegetables will be either raw or burned.
Anchovies Ah, yes! In the words of Buffy's little sister, "Anchovies! Anchovies! You're so delicious / I love you more than all the other fishes!" A two-dollar tin of anchovies will get you about 1-1/2 oz. of olive oil and about half an ounce of anchovies, enough for one 14 - 16" pizza. If you like anchovies, see whether you can buy in bulk online.
Italian sausage Buy this "loose," which will really be a dense loaf. Cook it, breaking the pieces up with the end of a wooden or silicone spatula, until it begins to turn from gray to golden. Drain off the grease and refrigerate or freeze.
Pepperoni Buy it already sliced; experiment to find a kind you like. Freeze what you don't use.
Bacon and pineapple: Try it! You'll like it! Cook thick-sliced bacon until crisp, drain thoroughly, and cut into pizza-size pieces with kitchen shears. Five or six slices is about right. Use an eight ounce can of chunk pineapple and cut the chunks in half.
Mushrooms: Buy 'em whole, slice them, and sauté in butter. You can freeze these after sautéing.
Ground beef, banana peppers, and Cheddar cheese: Use lean ground beef and pre-cook it to brown it well. The Cheddar is in addition to the Mozzarella, OK. Try putting about a quarter-cup of sugar in the jar with the banana peppers about a week before you will use them, and put them on after the pizza is baked, not before.
Try a spinach salad pizza: Top with mushrooms, sautéed spinach, and bacon. Don't forget the Mozzarella.
Orignially posted: 2019-01-17