Summertime means margarita… pizza, that is

Day 2 of summer at home, and I’ve already made a pizza.  That can’t be good.

But… it can’t be bad either, because nothing involving a freshly made pizza can ever be bad.  Glad to see we’re on the same page here.

If you’re making your own pizza, first you gotta start with the dough.  Yes, yeast is involved, meaning yes, it takes TIME.  However, this kind of time is mostly waiting time, which means you can continue to be your productive self while the dough rises.

Or you can be like me and catch up on some TV and let the yeast do all the hard work.

Pizza dough

1 packet (2 tbsp) yeast

½ cup lukewarm water

3 ¾ cup AP flour

1 tsp salt

¾ cup cold water

¼ cup olive oil

1. Stir yeast and lukewarm water together in a bowl. Add 1/2 cup flour. Mix well. Let sit until bubbly, about 30 minutes.

2. Combine remaining flour and salt in another bowl. Add to yeast with cold water and olive oil. Mix well to form a dough.

3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured board and knead with hands until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Or use a mixer with a dough hook, and knead about 5 minutes.

*actually do this! It’s not that bad, I swear.  I DON’T have a mixer with a dough hook.  I kneaded.  It’s good time to meditate upon your life.  Or to think about pie.

You can tell that the dough has been kneaded sufficiently and that the gluten has sufficiently formed by the window pane test.  Take a bit of dough and stretch it reeeeally thin between your fingers and thumb, in the form of a square (or windowpane).  If you are able to stretch the dough thin enough that it forms a translucent membrane, then you’re good to go!  If the dough breaks before this point, more kneading is required.

4. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and turn to coat all sides with oil. Cover bowl loosely with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours. Punch dough down, and let rise another 45 minutes.

*although as Alton always says, dough never likes violence.  The whole point of punching the dough down is to redistribute the air within the dough, so you can also kind of “poke” it down with your knuckles/fingers.

5. Divide dough into 4 balls for small pizzas (2 if you would prefer larger) Let rest 30 minutes before shaping. Lightly flour a work surface. Using your fingers or heels of your hands, stretch the disks out to 10″ shapes.

*additional dough-stretching advice: I like to pick up the dough and let gravity stretch it as I work it around the edges.  Also to stretch out the center, try transferring the dough between two fists.

Pizza sauce

1 clove garlic (on the small size), minced

5 large leaves of basil, chopped

¼ cup EVOO

red pepper flakes

lots of tomatoes, canned or fresh

Add olive oil and aromatics first, bring up to medium heat.  Then add tomatoes and let cook until skins fall off and sauce thickens (10 minutes give or take).

Pizza toppings

Sauce

Basil

Mozzarella and parmesan

Add on to your preference.

Bake at 425 for 10-15 min.  If you have a pizza stone then remember to put it in the oven while it heats up.  I do not have a pizza stone.  When I want my crust crispier I pop the pizza in the oven for a few minutes and then take it out, and then add on the toppings.  However, if you’re really going for the rustic look, the best thing you can do is use the grill!  More posts to come about that 🙂

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