So this is a little break from my zoo and dancing posts. My hairdresser asked me for my pizza recipe the other day… Over the years I have worked on this and changed it along the way, and now it’s just about perfect. The only thing that would make it better would be to have a brick oven to cook it in… although cooking it on the outdoor grill (mine is a gas grill) is a close second.
You need a good quality pizza stone, the largest one possible that will fit in your oven. I find that the square or rectangular are much better than the round pizza stones because it gives room to move the pizza onto it in the oven and a pizza peel to prepare it on and to put it in and out of the oven. I have one for preparing and another to remove the pizza after it’s cooked.
It will take almost all day to make, unless you make the sauce and dough the day before.
At least 1 hour before the rising is done, put baking stones in bottom shelf in ovens, and preheat to 500º (if oven allows, it’s best at over 700º and then only cook for 2 mins).
1 tbsp. Dried Yeast
2 tsp. sugar
2 c. Warm Room Temp. water (about 90-100 degrees)
3 3/4 c. flour
2 tsp. course salt
2 tbsp. olive oil
NOTE: Make pizza dough about 3-4 hours before you want to make the pizza… if the air temperature is cold it will take longer for the dough to rise, if it’s warm then it will rise faster)
Put all ingredients in mixer bowl, but only use 2 ½ cups of flour. (you will have about 1 1/2 cups left of flour)
Mix together until completely mixed, then let it sit in the mixer bowl (covered with plastic) for 20 minutes.
Add the remaining 1 ¼ c. flour, about 1/4 cup at a time and keep mixing with until the dough is a teeny bit sticky but not wet, it will stick to the mixer blade… the amount of flour you use may change according to how humid it is out.
Using Dough hook, knead on low for 6-8 mins.
….or you can knead by hand here is a good video on how to knead dough
Slide dough onto floured board, with dough scraper, lift from underneath and turn over to coat the other side with flour. Divide dough into 2 pieces and put into round plastic containers that were rubbed with olive oil.
Dough is best made a day ahead and kept in the refrigerator to develop flavor. Can be made a few days in advance and kept refrigerated, but it can also be made the same day, I normally make it the same day.
If you made the dough a day ahead, then remove from refrigerator about 2 hrs before making the pies so it gets to room temperature
NOTE: At least 1 hour before the rising is done, put baking stones in the bottom shelf of the oven and preheat to 500º (if oven allows, it’s best at over 700º and then only cook for 2 mins)
Even better is to put a pizza stone on an outdoor girl (make sure it’s preheated)… the grills get hotter than an oven and they will cook the pizza in 2-3 mins… this will also make a much tastier crust with better texture.
PIZZA SAUCE (make at least few hours ahead)
Olive Oil 2 tablespoons
1/4 onion – chopped fine
2-3 carrots – peeled and chopped fine
2-3 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 cans San Marzano tomatoes (Ciento)…
(if you cant find them then used any kind of whole canned tomatoes, not puree…
but know that the tomatoes will change the flavor of the sauce)
dried basil (1 tsp or so)
1/2 tsp salt
If you have dry red wine on hand, use about 1/4-1/2 cup of it.
In a wide pan put about 2 tbs olive oil
chop about 1/4 c. onions very very fine
chop about 1/4 c. carrots very very fine
Sauté the onions and carrots in the olive oil for about 5 mins until they are soft… keep stirring them so they don’t burn. Add a little bit of red wine (maybe 1/4 cup or so… measuring is not necessary A little red wine adds some extra flavor) If you don’t have red wine, then skip it.
Add the crushed garlic when adding the wine or after the carrots and onions have cooked for about 5 mins (garlic will cook faster than the other two)
Sauté for about 5 more mins on med heat
While the veggies are sautéing, open the 2 cans of tomatoes and put them in a bowl. With a potato masher, mash them until they are smooth enough for your liking (you can also put the tomatoes in a food processor or blender, but I just think it makes it too smooth… that’s a matter of preference)
Put the tomatoes in the pan with the veggies and add the salt and basil…. cook on low-med heat for about an hour or until it thickens.
Cool the sauce or at least have it at room temperature before using it for the pizzas
MAKING THE PIZZAS
Flatten dough with hands and press into round shape. Work it until it’s the shape and size you want. This dough recipe makes 4 personal sized pizzas about 12” or so each.
Dust the pizza peel with either flour or preferably semolina. Use enough that will allow the pizza to move around freely on the peel
Note: Before putting any of the toppings on, slide the dough around on the peel to make sure that it doesn’t stick, if it does—add more flour or semolina underneath and work the flour under the dough with a spatula, can also use cornmeal or semolina (cornmeal and semolina seems to allow the pizza to slide easier than flour and does not give a floury taste to the dough)
Top with pizza sauce, grated or sliced fresh mozzarella and put it on top of the sauce. (If you like, slice red peppers very thin and red onion very thin and put on top – or any toppings you like, don’t forget the basil – fresh is best) Do not over-do it with the mozzarella and toppings because it will be hard to slide off of the peel.
Try to shake the peel to make sure the pizza slides loosely on it, if not, with some flour and a spatula, push the flour under the pizza to loosen it. Shake it again (make sure no cheese falls off or it will stick to the pizza stone). Once it’s loose, then put in oven by shaking it off of the peel at a slight angle and pull the peel towards yourself gently.
Cook for about 5-8 mins (or until crust is slightly golden). When done, slide pizza onto the peel and let set on serving board for about 5 mins to set before cutting.