Sunday, January 16, 2011

pizza pie

pizza dough
We made pizza dough at work this past Friday for family meal to celebrate someone's last day at Gramercy Tavern. It tasted so good at work that I decided to make some at home as well. This is a shot right before it went into the oven. I prefer basic toppings: mozzarella, basil and tomato sauce (I had some leftover in my freezer from a batch I made a few weeks ago for lasagna).
The dough comes together in minutes, gets kneaded for a bit by hand then proofs until doubled in size. I stretched the dough out to a circle and then needed to let it rise at room temp for fifteen minutes. Unfortunately at that point, I set off the smoke alarm because my pizza stone, which I had popped in the oven at 450 degrees, got so hot that it started to smoke. I set the smoke alarm off so much that I usually cover it up with a shower cap before I start cooking or baking at high temperatures, but I was feeling lazy and didn't bother. Bad decision, obviously.
Chris knows the drill well by now. He threw open the front windows and I manned the front door, swinging it open and closed like a giant fan. After all that I just wanted to bake the thing off and get it over with, so my crust didn't get enough time to rise and was therefore not as tender as it could have been. I snapped the picture above right before I threw the pie in the oven. Below is a picture of the dough before I put it in a bowl to double in size.

basic pizza dough
1 T active dry yeast
1/2 C. water
1 C. all purpose flour
2 T olive oil
1 1/2 t salt
cornmeal for the pizza peel or sheet pan

Combine all the ingredients except the salt. Begin kneading the dough. As it comes together, add the salt and continue to knead until the dough is satiny smooth and has some elasticity. The salt and the yeast should never directly touch because, repeat after me, SALT KILLS YEAST!

Form the dough into a round, place in an oiled bowl, cover with a towel and allow to rise to double it's original size.

Stretch dough to a 10 inch circle and place on a pizza peel or sheet pan sprinkled with cornmeal.

Top with your favorite toppings. One of my favorite combos is ricotta, sausage and mushrooms.

Let pizza dough rise for 15-20 minutes.

Bake for 15-20 minutes at 425 degrees or until nicely browned.

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