Saturday, December 15, 2012

Mushroom Pizza (with homemade pizza dough)

Raise your hand if you like pizza.

So everyone has their hand in the air, right?

Me? I definitely enjoy pizza. I won't turn down a stuffed crust slice from Pizza Hut or a thin and crispy Dominos. That super thick Chicago style pizza? Delicious! New York floppy and greasy? I'd fold that baby in half and eat that too. $5 from Little Caesars? Pizza! Pizza! I say. I especially like local places with different pizza specials. Whether it be thick or thin, you'll bet your bottom dollar I'll eat it.

When you're living alone, ordering and consuming an entire pizza yourself is not the best idea. For that reason, and to play around with yeast some more, I started making homemade pizza dough. And I'm telling you, best decision of my (culinary) life! I have made the following dough at least three times since I've lived in IL and another time I made it with half whole wheat flour.

This dough is great for a couple reasons. One- it is very easy to put together. Two- it freezes beautifully. That means you can whip up the dough and freeze it into individual sized portions to use whenever you have a hankering for pizza. It works great for calzones and as a vehicle for any combination of toppings you can come up with. This week I went with a simple tomato sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese and mushrooms.

Just look at that cheese!

Homemade Pizza Dough (from Annie's Eats)
1/2 cup warm water
2 1/4 tsp instant yeast
1 1/4 cup room temperature water
4 cups bread flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Combine the warm water and yeast in a small bowl. Let sit for a few minutes. Add the room temperature water and olive oil and mix. In a large bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Mix in the wet ingredients, stirring with a wooden spoon until you cannot stir anymore. Then turn out the dough on a floured surface and knead to mix in the rest of the flour. Keep kneading until the dough is smooth, about 5 minutes. Place it into a lightly greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled, about 90 to 120 minutes (the timing will change depending on the temperature of your house).

Lightly punch down the dough. Separate into 5* equal pieces. Form each into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap, place in a freezer safe bag, and freeze until ready to use.

*The 5 portions will give you individual sized pizzas, if you want to do large family style pizza, separate the dough into 2 portions.

Personal Mushroom Pizza
1/5 of pizza dough (from above)
1/3 cup tomato pizza sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms

If your dough is frozen, thaw in the fridge over the course of the day.

Preheat oven to 500 F. Place a baking stone or upside down baking sheet in the oven during the preheating process.

Remove the dough from the fridge (or use non-frozen dough from above). Place the ball on a clean surface and cover with a damp cloth. Let sit for 10-30 minutes while the oven reaches temperature. Prep your pizza sauce, cheese and mushrooms.

Stretch the dough into a flat shape. Remove the baking sheet or stone from the oven and sprinkle with cornmeal. Place the dough on top of it and moving quickly spread your sauce over most of the dough. Top with the cheese and mushrooms.

Bake for 7-8 minutes until crust is golden and cheese is hot.

Serves 1.

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