Our friend was coming over last night so the night before he was coming we decided to make pizza. The dough process needs to begin the night before. I have never made pizza dough before and it is surprisingly easy. The key is using the kneading piece for the mix master. If I had to do it by hand, I am positive I would not have had the same results.
Take 1 1/2 cups really warm, almost hot water and sprinkle 1/4 tsp. of yeast on top. Let that sit for about 10 minutes and the water should turn foggy and feel a little thicker. If it doesn't do this, the yeast isn't active. Then add 2 tsp. olive oil and 2 tsp. kosher salt. In the mix master, put in 4 cups all-purpose flour and pour the water mixture over the top. Mix with the kneader for 10 minutes at medium low speed. The dough will form a ball and completely pull away from the bowl. After 10 minutes, take the bowl off the mix master and put a damp towel over the top and let it sit for 5 minutes. Then, put the bowl back and knead again for 10 more minutes. Once this process is over, take out the dough, fold it over to make a ball, cover with olive oil, put into a new bowl, cover with plastic wrap ( tightly ) and put in the refrigerator over night. In the morning, pull the dough out, fold it in half and put back in the refrigerator for 4 hours to 24 hours. About 2 hours before you are ready to use the dough, roll the dough out, just a little, and cut it into 4 equal pieces. Make each piece into a ball and set on a floured surface ( put it on a cutting board ), each piece far away from each other to grow. Put a damp cloth over the four balls and let sit until you are ready to use. At least 2 hours in advance so the dough can rise. If anything, it is just a time consuming project but it isn't that hard.
I decided on making 3 different types of pizzas. I made all the toppings before. To make a pizza in your oven, you really do need a pizza stone. Make sure when you pull the dough, I just move it in circles with my hands and pull a little as it grows until a circle, cover the dough with ground yellow cornmeal. Put the toppings on right after as the dough starts to shrink back.
I have a wooden pizza piece ( see picture ) that allows me to put in and take out the pizza. I make sure it is really covered with cornmeal so when I place the pizza on the stone by sliding it off the wood piece, it comes off easily. Also makes for getting it back on the wooden piece easier when it is done. Nothing worse than having half of the dough stick and melting slowly into a hot oven. Serious mess. The oven should be set at 500 about an hour before you make the pizza so the stone is super hot.
First pizza was a roasted cauliflower, toasted pine nuts mixed with pecorino and mozzarella cheese and a tiny bit of Parmesan. I pan roasted the cauliflower with olive oil and panko before and the pine nut in a little olive oil to get crisp in a separate pan.
Second pizza was more of a twist on a classic. I used turkey sausage ( because it was being sold at the local Greenmarket on Saturday ) and pan fried it out of the sausage casing to get crumbly. Thinly sliced tomatoes. Ricotta and mozzarella cheese. I put dollops of ricotta around the pizza, layered with the tomato slices, tossed the sausage over the entire top and then sprinkled more mozzarella over that.
Last pizza, which might have been the fave. Pan fried pieces of butternut squash, pecorino and Parmesan cheese, crispy turkey bacon ( which I had roasted in the oven – less greasy ), and fresh pea shoots on top. I forgot about the pea shoots until afterward but I did sneak one piece in with the pea shoots on top. Nice combo.
I served all this with an arugula salad mixed with spanish almonds and pieces of orange tossed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
Really fun, interactive and yummy. Definitely doing this again.
Last night was Halloween. As Fred put it this morning when emailing our friend about the evening… Joanne makes pizza from scratch, we get egged, and the basement floods, and andy petite gets an RBI single and a win.
Just another night at the wilson home ;)
It really was quite fun!