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Pizza

What can I say? Pizza.. from scratch, with a few cheap ingredients.. a great dinner!

BLOG POSTINGS > Everyday Meals

Pizza

by zirbirt

There are some foods I consider 'catch-alls'. These foods basically serve as a delivery vessel for leftovers and just about anything I have kicking around in my cupboards and fridge. Of those my favorites are Quiche, Pies and of course.. Pizza!

Pizza can house anything from leftover ham and chicken, to leftover steak. I have even done pizza with taco filling. You can use leftover pasta sauce as the base for your toppings even if that pasta sauce is a cheese sauce.

So not only can delicious home made pizza give you a better quality pizza, it can really help to stretch that budget. Pizza is an amazing food, it requires only a few ingredients, not a lot of time and is very open to your imagination.

Though I do use pizza as a leftover basket, sometimes the classics are great too. So, today I will be sharing with you, basic pepperoni pizza.

First things first, I need some sauce.

Simple Pizza Sauce
1 onion diced
1 can diced Tomatoes
1 can tomato Sauce
1/4 tsp each oregano, thyme, basil (or 1 tsp Italian seasoning)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 Tbs Olive Oil

Since home made pasta/pizza sauce is really easy to make, I prefer to make my own. I'm sure that the canned stuff is just fine, but being able to balance my sauce to get just the right zip of tomato and onion to accent my pizza is worth the effort to me. Try it one time, and decide if it's worth it to you.

To begin I heat the olive oil in a medium pot over medium heat. Do not let it get too hot, olive oil has a very low smoke point.

Then I toss in my onions and stir them occasionally until the onions are translucent.


Next, I put in everything else.

Sometimes I do this without the tomato sauce. It gives you a different result, with tomato sauce, it is very similar to an amazing pizza sauce. Without it feels more like yummy tomatoes are sitting at the bottom of my pizza. So if I am doing a classic pizza, I use the tomato sauce. If I am doing something I want to have a more garden feel.. then I leave it out and add a second can of diced tomatoes. If I am feeling extra fancy, I omit all the canned stuff and use fresh tomatoes, chopped up.. and instead of dried herbs, I would use fresh herbs. Note: I almost never feel that fancy.

I just bring this to a boil over medium heat and reduce the heat to low and let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes.

Once that is done, I transfer it to an air tight container and put it in the fridge. (I don't want to put boiling hot sauce on raw pizza dough).

What's nice about this is that the sauce will keep for weeks. Since this is enough to do about 4 pizzas and I am making 2 pizzas, it means I have some leftover sauce, in case I want to make pizza again.. or if I just want to pour it over some pasta for an easy lunch.

THE CRUST

1 cup warm water (about 110 degrees or luke warm to touch)
1 Tbs Sugar
2 1/2 tsp yeast
2 tsp Kosher Salt
2 Tbs Olive Oil
3 cups flour

If you are paying attention, you might say.. HEY! That's almost the same as your basic bread dough. Well, if you did, give yourself a pat on the back.. and even if you didn't still give yourself a pat on the back. Most yeast breads are based in one way or another off the basic bread dough. Ratios in baking are critical.. and yeast to flour to fat are the main things we are looking for. So, to make different breads, we really just change what yeast, flour or fat we are using... well, plus the inclusion of proteins but I will get into that in another posting. Sugar is involved to give the yeast something to eat.. Yes, I mean that literally.. Yeast is alive, it eats the sugars then burps and farts, which makes air that gets trapped in the dough which causes it to rise... Gross? Maybe, but once you eat a good fresh yeast bread, you wont care anymore.

Before I go on, lets talk a little bit about what kind of flour we want to use here. Bread flour will make the crust much more crispy... All purpose flower will not give you a bit more of a chewy crust, but it will still crisp. I actually prefer All Purpose flour for pizza dough, but that is purely a personal preference.

So, I take my water, sugar and salt and put them in my stand mixer.. Then, I just sprinkle in my yeast.. and wait 5 minutes. Once the yeast is creating some nice foam, I add 2 cups of my flour, then my oil.. and..

Normally I would mix it now.. but I want to add just a spattering of pizzaz to my crust. So I add in about 1/2 tsp of garlic powder, and about 1 tsp of Italian seasoning. This is strictly optional...

Now I mix it.. then add in the last cup of flour 1/4 cup at a time until it hits the right consistency (I don't have to use all the flour).

Instead of letting this proof for an hour, Im gonna give it just 15 minutes. Then divide the dough into 2 balls, and lightly flour each ball.

Next I press it down with the palms of my hand to flatten it kinda like a round pancake.

If you have skills (I do not) you can hand toss this and make a perfectly round pizza.. but if your like me, time to grab the rolling pin. Roll that dough..

I let mine get funky shaped, not really round. I really don't mind it at all.. I think it makes for a more interesting pizza, and once sliced it still looks and works fine.


See those specks of Italian seasoning?

Do both pizza crusts.. and then let them rest/rise for about 15 more minutes.


While those are resting, Its time to consider how we will cook this. You can use a normal cookie sheet.. a pizza pan or.. a pizza stone. Any of those options will give you fantastic pizza, but I am going to talk just a second about the pizza stone.

The main reason a pizza stone is great for making pizza is because it gives you a hot even temperature surface for your pizza. This means a better finish on the final pizza. It is definitely not required, but if you do get into pizza making you will most likely want to pick one of these up at some time. So, I am going to explain a little bit about how to use it.

The pizza stone can be used for more than just pizza. Artisan breads, for example come out amazing when baked on a pizza stone. To use a pizza stone, it must be hot.. which means, we put the stone in the oven before we preheat it... and leave the stone in the oven.



I prefer a larger 15" stone.. to give me the most options. You do not need a very expensive stone, in fact, if your paying more than $20 for the stone.. look for a cheaper option.

When you are about to put bread or pizza on the stone.. just toss some cornmeal on there to ensure what your baking will lift and slide easily off. Do not spray it with oil or cooking spray.


Ok, so now I am going to preheat my oven to 425 degrees.

While my oven is warming, I am going to slice my pepperoni.. then start assembling my pizza.


There is a lot you can do to a pizza.. but I am going to keep it simple.

First I brush on a light layer of olive oil over the entire dough.

Then I sprinkle just a little salt over that.

Next, I add my sauce, generously.

Drop on some cheese (about 1 cup)

lay down my pepperoni.


The crust will still look a bit thin, and that is ok, it will rise quickly when you first put it in the oven. If you want a more bubbly, or risen pizza crust.. just let it rise a bit longer before topping it.

Now, I just bake it for about 15 minutes...

*note.. I actually use a pizza stone. I simply don't have a pizza peel.. so I just use a pizza pan to remove the pizza from the oven.

Now just cut it like a normal pizza.. and feast!

Hope you enjoyed this posting. Thanks for reading!







zirbirt
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