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April 25, 2011 / jadettman

Pizza Recipe

Sometimes I make pizza. Occasionally, I even make pizza for guests. Then I go and promise to send them a copy of the recipe that I use to make the pizza which I typically fail to do.

So today I’m going to publish my pizza dough and sauce recipes so that in the future I can just send folks a link.

 

Pizza Dough

Ingredients:

  • 5 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons table salt
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1.75 (1 3/4) cups plus 1 tablespoon room-temperature water (~70 degrees F)

Directions:

  1. With a large metal spoon, stir together all the ingredients in a mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric stand mixer until combined. If mixing with a stand mixer, fit it with the dough hook and mix on low speed for about 4 minutes or until the flour gathers to form a coarse ball. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes, then mix again on medium-low speed for an additional 2 minutes or until the dough clears the sides of the bowl and sticks just a little to the bottom. If the dough is too soft and sticky, mix in more flour by the spoonful; if it is too stiff or dry, mix in more water by the spoonful. If mixing by hand, repeatedly dip one of your hands or the spoon into room-temperature water and use it much like a dough hook, working the dough vigorously into a coarse ball as you rotate the bowl with your other hand. As the flour is incorporated into the ball (about 4 minutes), the dough will begin to strengthen; when this occurs, let the dough rest for 5 minutes and then resume mixing for an additional 2 to 3 minutes or until the dough is slightly sticky, soft and supple. If the dough is too soft and sticky, mix in more flour by the spoonful; if it is too stiff or dry, mix in more water by the spoonful.
  2. Immediately divide the dough into 3 or 4 equal pieces. Round each piece into a ball and rub with olive oil. Place each ball inside its own zippered freezer bag. Let the balls sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, then put them in the refrigerator or freeze any pieces you will not be using.
  3. The next day, remove the balls from the refrigerator at least 2 hours before you plan to use them to take off the chill and relax the gluten.

Jason’s notes: I highly recommend using a stand mixer if you have one available. It makes dough making much easier.

Also, you can make the dough on the same day you intend to use it. In step 2, let the dough sit on the counter for an hour and then refrigerate for 2 hours. Then proceed to step 3.

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Pizza Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 1 can (28 oz) tomatoes
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 5 to 7 cloves fresh garlic, depending on their size and your taste
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Using a food processor, start by finely chopping the garlic and then add the other ingredients. Mix well.

Jason’s notes: For my pizza sauce, I use whole, peeled San Marzano tomatoes. They are more expensive but, IMO, totally worth the expense.

I have made pizza sauce with regular crushed tomatoes and it was fine and still tasty.

– – – – – – – – – – –

When cooking your pizza, I find that a pizza stone is a must. It allows you to cook a pizza in about 6 minutes, creating a nice crisp crust without destroying the taste and texture of any vegetable ingredients you put on.

Put the pizza stone on the bottom rack of your oven and preheat to 525 degrees an hour before you plan to cook your pizza. This allows the heat to soak into your pizza stone.

30 minutes before you plan to cook your pizza, start preparing your ingredients. I usually dress my pizza with pepperoni, green or red peppers, black olives, spinach, ham, and pineapple, though usually not all on the same pizza. For cheese I use mozzarella but I also put a bit of cojack on top for color and flavor variety.

When you are ready to make your pizza, set your peel nearby and lightly coat it with corn meal. If you don’t have a peel, you can also use the bottom of a metal baking sheet, though getting your pizza out of the oven will be a little more difficult. You may need to use a large spatula to help you get your finished pizza back onto your baking pan.

Then, take one of your dough balls and flatten it out in your hands. Starting at the center, begin to stretch the dough gently being careful not to tear it. As you work, you will find that you should be able to work the dough with your fingers and allow gravity to do most of the stretching for you.

Once you have your dough to a size and thickness you are happy with, place it on your peel. It will shrink a little bit once you set it down but that is normal. Then give your peel a shake to make sure that your dough is going slide without any difficulty.

Using a metal spoon, spread your sauce onto your dough. I prefer to go pretty light with the sauce as it is strong and you don’t want the pizza to be too wet.

When you have your dough sauced to your satisfaction, cover it with a light layer of mozzarella. Then put on any toppings of your choice. Finally, another light layer of mozzarella and cojack.

Place your pizza on your pizza stone in the oven. The pizza should take 5 to 7 minutes to cook, though ovens and personal tastes will vary, of course.

Once you take your pizza out of the oven, place it on a rack for 3 to 5 minutes to let it cool. The rack will keep your crust crisp. You can cool your pizza on a cutting board but this will trap moisture in the crust and make it chewier.

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