Thursday, April 28, 2011

Building a Perfect Pie Starts with a Perfect Pizza Crust!

To say that my family loves pizza would be a vast understatement.  The hubs could eat pizza in some shape or form every night of the week.  His favorite is Canadian bacon which just so happens to be my LEAST favorite.

Ick.

We make pizza 2-3 times a month instead of ordering out.  I prefer it because then I can control the amount of salt and fat that goes into my pie.   While dh could eat the same pizza over and over, (again, Canadian bacon, ick...) I like to experiment with different flavor combos.  Some of the most successful combos so far have been Philly cheesesteak pizza, barbecue chicken pizza, taco pizza, bacon cheeseburger pizza, chicken cordon bleu pizza, and fajita pizza.

Unfortunately, one thing was always coming up short with my homemade pies, the crust.  It was always too dry, too thick, too chewy or just blech...  I've tried several different recipes but this last one was the keeper!  It is from the March 2010 Food Network Magazine and it makes enough for 2 pizzas or 1 pizza if you like a super thick crust.  You can also make it the night before, let it rise and then stick it in the fridge to use the next day.  This makes it a great option for working moms too.  ;)

One of the things that I liked most about it is that you can do it all in one bowl.  You don't have to activate your yeast in one bowl and mix your dry ingredients in the other.  You do it all together.  I was totally skeptical, but it worked quite well.

We're making this again tonight with a bacon cheese turkey burger pizza.  Mmmmm....  The recipe will follow soon.

Recipe
3 3/4 c flour + more for kneading
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 2/3 c warm water
1 Tbsp sugar
1 packet yeast (I like highly active yeast)
3 Tbsp olive oil
  1. Whisk flour and salt in a large bowl.  Make a well in the center and add warm water.  
  2. Mix yeast and sugar into the water, but NOT the flour.  Read the directions on your packet of yeast to make sure you get the right water temperature.  If it's too warm, it will kill the yeast.  If it's too cold, the yeast won't activate.  Don't leave out the sugar because the yeast needs it to work properly. 
  3. When the yeast makes a foam on the top of the water, mix in olive oil and combine all of the ingredients.  Again, reference your packet of yeast for how long this should take.  If it doesn't make a foam, then your yeast has kicked the bucket and you'll have to bury that batch and start over.  It happens to the best of us. 
  4. When the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, take it out and knead on a lightly floured surface until smooth, about 5 minutes.  It will be sticky when you take it out.  Keep working with it. 
  5. Brush with olive oil and put in a bowl covered with a cloth and let it sit in a warm spot for about 1 1/2 hours or until doubled.  Divide into 2 balls.

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