Saturday, July 18, 2009


Pizza! Pizza Hut? Papa John's Pizza? Papa's Pizza to Go? Domino's Pizza? Mellow Mushroom Pizza? Homemade pizza?

Yeah, that last one sounds just right. No need to worry that the customer service rep answering the phone will mess up the toppings, no need to go pick it up, or hope that the delivery guy will find his way to your house before the pizza gets cold. Nope, homemade equals all the toppings you want and piping hot from the oven and a crisp crust.

Hubby and I haven't had pizza in forever, and I had just enough tomato sauce left over from last week's spaghetti and meatballs to top a couple of pizza crusts. Due to my new-found love of baking, I just had to make a homemade crust. I turned to one of my favorite Food Network Chefs for a recipe. A very time-consuming recipe. After mixing the dough, I kneaded it in the stand mixer for 20 minutes, keeping an every watchful eye on the KitchenAid to make sure it didn't walk off the counter.

After all that time, measuring ingredients, babysitting the mixer, the darn dough didn't rise. The recipe advised to put the dough in the fridge overnight, but the darn stuff didn't puff up one bit. Terrified the pizza wouldn't be the best it could be, I discarded the dough and turned to The Bread Bible, hoping Mrs. Beranbaum wouldn't steer me wrong. It was the third recipe I have made from this book, and the third time was the charm.

This dough was so simple to put together. All I had to do was mix water, flour, yeast, and salt until it just came together to form a dough, put it in a measuring cup, coat it with olive oil, and LEAVE IT ALONE! No kneading involved!

The dough right after mixing. It's not very pretty.

Since my dough wasn't rising fast enough for me (remember, I was making up for lost time after the first dough debacle), I put it on a heating pad to warm it up. It worked rather well.

You don't leave it alone forever. Since I made mine the same day, I let it rise on the counter for an hour before putting it in the fridge for the afternoon. About an hour before you want to eat, you take it out of the fridge, and divide it into two pieces (well, you could leave it intact for one 10-inch pizza, but personal pizzas are more fun).

Tuck the edges of the dough under to form two balls and place them on an oiled baking sheet, and leave it be for 15 minutes. Once the 15 minutes is up, shape the dough into two discs, and let those rest for at least 30 minutes.

The shaped dough. I was going for rustic.
Next, put the baking sheet in a 475 degree oven (one that preferably has a pizza stone on the bottom rack), and bake for 5 minutes. Remove, and top the dough with your desired toppings.

I topped our pies with leftover tomato sauce, fresh parsley, thyme and basil, and mozzarella, Parmesan, and provolone cheeses. The fresh herbs made a huge difference in the flavor.

If you have a baking stone, place the pizzas (which are on the baking sheet) on the stone for two minutes. Then, using a large spatula, transfer the pizzas to a higher rack in the oven for three minutes. Then, remove, slice, and enjoy!

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