How are you feeling? Did you have a good week? Anyone build any arks or find any crocodiles swimming down their street? Just me then, huh? It’s been cold and rainy all week, and according to weather.com, things haven’t been much better across the country. Well, when the weather gives me soppy, disgusting, stay-indoors weather, I turn that into pizza.
I mean, I like ordering pizza. I like it because it means no work and for a decent tip, it also means not leaving the house. There’s this place in town that makes sweet mini-pizzas for dessert. Now that is a well-rounded meal. But there’s something so comfortable and cozy about making your own pizza. I don’t want to sound all Pioneer Woman or Rachael Ray (EVOO, ladies!!) but it’s nice family time, especially when your family is mostly a very large dog who likes to eat everything except carrots.
Even better is when you can just pile on your favorite toppings. See, it’s not that pizza joints can’t get you basically any topping your heart desires – I can get artichoke hearts and sundried tomatoes on my pizza any day of the week. It’s that, well, they don’t always get the ratios right. You get that, right? The perfect proportion of sauce to cheese is crucial for a tasty pizza pie. There’s a new golden ratio in town, and that golden ratio is deep into the mushroom to onion proportion.
As an added bonus, making a pizza gives you several tangential benefits:
You can work out a lot of aggression by kneading the dough. Tough day at work? Smack that dough around. Dog eat your underpants? Smash your fist into the forgiving carby flesh. Significant other eat the last cookie? Ho ho ho ho, that dough will be feeling the pain.
Turning the oven on is a convenient way to heat the house when you don’t really feel like turning on central heating. It’s double the toasty pleasure.
It’s completely appropriate to use the “one for you, one for me” rule when applying pizza toppings. One mushroom slice for the pizza, one mushroom slice for your mouth. You deserve to eat what makes you happy, and if you can do that while working on making more food, well, then you’re living the dream.
Now I wasn’t a fan of home-made pizza until I got to taste some really great pizza dough. This recipe comes courtesy of the best baker I know, so while I can’t claim credit for the design, I can vouch for its deliciousity (technical term).
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
2.5-3 cups bread flour
dried basil and oregano to taste
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Dissolve the yeast in warm water and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. You need that yeast to activate to get your dough all nice and poofy. Combine the dry ingredients and spices in a large bowl, and then add the yeast mixture and olive oil. Mix, smash, and knead the ingredients until the dough is formed. Work until the dough is moist but doesn’t stick to your hands – if necessary, add some more flour. Knead the dough for 5 minutes and cover it with a damp towel for 15 minutes. After the dough has risen, roll it out on a well-floured surface and shape it into a pizza crust. Spread on the sauce and toppings (PS – vegans, check out Daiya “cheese,” it’s pretty solid and it melts) and bake it on a pizza stone for 10-12 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Chow down because there’s no pizza like fresh pizza.
So, what are your doughy tricks? What toppings do you throw on your pizza? How many pieces of pizza can you eat in one sitting (I think I ate a whole medium pizza once, it was pretty good)?