Friday, March 26, 2010

We did it our way: Homemade pizza

Pizza is kind of a big deal around our place. It is loved by all, and there's a general agreement on toppings--that is, Seth likes very few and very specific, while if it's most any vegetable at all, husband and I are fine. Every once in a while I deviate off into some fruity-pesto-y land, and leave the boys behind (as you'll see below). (Seth's pizza is pictured above, very simple: red peppers and green peppers and lots of cheese!)

But pizza itself, how lovely. Really almost a perfect food, when you think about it. I seem to remember my brother and I making this argument as children: what's not to love? You've got your grains (crust), your vegetables (sauce AND toppings), your dairy/protein (cheese). Almost a complete meal. There's been a trend of egg-topped pizzas lately, and how much more complete would that be? Yeah, I didn't think you were going to go for that one. My guys either. But I might be persuaded to give it a whirl, one bold and crazy weekend. (Yes, I know. How sad if that's what passes for bold and crazy. Sigh.)

Here's a fabulous pizza crust recipe I found in my new standby: Cook's Illustrated. It requires a large-ish food processor for the version I tried, but there are also instructions for using a stand mixer too. But if you can squeeze this into your food processor, give it a spin--it's quick and easy and makes a really delightful crust. Me, I need to work on my pizza-dough-twirling skills. They are lacking...

Pizza crust 
from Cook's Illustrated

1/2 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 envelope (about 2 1/4 tsp.) instant yeast
1 1/4 cups water, room temperature
2 Tbsp. olive oil
4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting work surface and hands
1 1/2 tsp. salt

Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle in the yeast and let it stand until the yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 minutes. Add the room-temperature water and oil and stir to combine.

Process the flour and salt in a large food processor, pulsing to combine. Continue pulsing while pouring the liquid ingredients (holding back a few tablespoons) through the feed tube. If the dough does not readily form into a ball, add the remaining liquid and continue to pulse until a ball forms. Process until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 30 seconds longer.

The dough will be a bit tacky, so use a rubber spatula to turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead by hand for a few strokes to form a  smooth, round ball. Put the dough into a deep oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Press the dough to deflate it.

 Poked and on its way down...

 Husband's veggie version, with pepperoncinis. Those peppers were HOT.

My version, with pears, blue cheese and chevre, on pesto. It was an attempt to recreate the California Pizza Kitchen's Pear and Gorgonzola Pizza... and it was quite yummy. It did not, however, hold up as well as other pizzas in the leftovers department. Sad but true.

I see this crust getting to be a regular around here. Maybe calzones are next on the list?


  1. Wow everyone! Nice. Perhaps you will be in the mood to try this again mid-April when certain guests come to town??? I know my girls would LOVE it.

  2. Wonderful!!! Have you tried it with WW flour? My cinnamon rolls on Friday night were made with unbleached but I do think I should do them WW next least try.


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