Pizza

Who doesn’t love a good pizza.  Occasionally, when I chance it, I shop at Trader Joe’s.  I really love the freezer section and the snacks.  Last year on a whim I picked up some of their refrigerator pizza dough.  We made our own pizza.  It was delicious.  Then I wondered if I could MAKE my own pizza dough.  Buying is easy, but have you seen the LINE AT THE 14TH STREET TRADER JOE’S!!!  Ask my sister, it’s crazy.  Which is why it is a sometimes place.  So making it has to be easier than the insanity.  I pulled out my favorite trusty cookbook, Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Anything seriously, if you don’t have this cookbook you should get it.  It really does tell you how to cook EVERYTHING.  So I found the page with pizza dough.  And oh my goodness, I was floored by how easy it is to make your own.  It calls for rapid rise yeast, so you only need a couple of hours lead time instead of a day, like with regular bread.

So here’s how to make super delicious homemade pizza. Mix:
1 tablespoon rapid rise yeast
2 cups of all-purpose or bread flour
1 teaspoon or kosher or sea salt (I’ve used regular salt, but I cut the amount in half)

Then add
1 cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil

Mix until smooth.  Slowly add 1 cup of flour (this makes 3 total) until dough is stiff.  knead until the dough is smooth and moist.  Form into a ball.  Then grease a bowl with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and place the dough in the bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap or a damp cloth and let it rise for an 1 1/2 to 2 hours.  (If you didn’t plan ahead you can made do with an hour – or if you did, refrigerate for up to 8 hours instead)

I added flax seed and black pepper to my dough, that’s what the specks are.  You can also add herbs, garlic, flavored oil (instead of olive) or a number of other things to give the dough a little something extra.  When the dough has doubled in size knead it down and divide it into as many pieces as you like.  Leaving it as one big piece will give it more of a deep dish texture, we usually do two (see above, 2nd photo), but you could make mini pizzas also.  Roll into smaller balls, cover with plastic wrap and let it sit for about 20 minutes (this step is important).

When the dough is ready roll into discs.  I have a pizza stone, but since the dough can be hard to transfer, I find it easiest to roll it on the baking sheet, if I use the stone it starts cooking…oops, so I either use an unheated stone or a regular cookie tray.  Now it’s time to assemble.  Add tomato sauce (or paste, or a combo)

Fresh basil and chopped tomatoes.  Or pepperoni or sausage or whatever your favorite topping may be.

And top with fresh mozzarella.  Or shredded if that’s all you’ve got.  Or even cheddar if you really forgot to plan.  But in my opinion fresh is best.

To bake I turn the oven on to whatever (usually 350 or 400) let it heat up and bake until cheese is fully melted and dough is crispy on the edges.

Delicious!

**side note:  for this particular pizza I tried using gluten free brown rice flour.  bad idea, it doesn’t rise well, and gives the dough a really grainy texture and just doesn’t taste as good because it’s so heavy.  so don’t try and make pizza too healthy – it isn’t worth it.  next time, back to regular flour.

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