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Dinner

Pizza, General Instructions

One of the easiest things to make completely from scratch is pizza.  And the greatest thing is that you can make whatever kind of pizza you want.  It is much better tasting than Pizza Hut or Dominoes and much cheaper than the mom and pop places that actually make good pizza.

Pizza Dough:

  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
  • pinch of sugar
  • 2 cups plain (all-purpose) flour or
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  1. Place the yeast, sugar, and water in a large bowl and mix to dissolve.  Set aside in a warm, draft-free place for 5 minutes or until foamy.
  2. Mix together with the flour and salt.  Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes or until soft and shiny.  Add more flour if necessary. *
  3. Lightly oil a large bowl, then roll dough around in the  bowl to cover the surface will oil.  Cover the bowl tightly with plastic food wrap and place in a warm, draft-free place for 1.5-2 hours or until the dough has doubled in size. **
  4. Knock down and remove from bowl.
  5. knead briefly before using as desired

Tips and FAQs

* (step 2) You probably will have to add more flour, don’t be afraid to.  Doughs change based on weather, temperature and humidity level, so they won’t act the same from day to day.  Some days you’ll need more flour, other days you won’t.  Bread doughs are not like baking.  Its not an exact science.  Go with what you think is right.  As you gain more experience, you’ll get a better feeling of when certain things need to be added.  Before you have experience, mistakes are the only way to learn.

** (step 3) A good place to store your dough while rising is in the oven, with it off.  At higher altitudes, the dough will rise much faster than at sea level

Using dough for tomorrow – Refrigerate:

  1. do not rise in room temperature, but still place in bowl as directed.
  2. place in refrigerator once dough is kneaded
  3. take out of refrigerator an hour or two before using.  It should have risen in the fridge over night.  Allow the dough to come to room temperature and do any more rising it may need.

Saving dough to make pizza much later – freeze:

  1. allow dough to rise once at room temperature
  2. cover in plastic wrap and place in freeze bag
  3. keep in freezer until one day before you plan to use dough
  4. put dough in a bowl with olive oil and place in refrigerator
  5. take out of refrigerator one to two hours before using.  Allow to come to room temperature and rise.

Variations on Pizza Dough:

Herb pizza dough: add 1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs to the flour mixture

Cheese pizza dough: add 2 oz of cheddar to flour mixture

Tomato pizza dough: replace the water with 2/3 cup tomato juice – make sure to warm up tomato juice

Whole-wheat pizza dough: replace half the flour with whole-wheat flour.  You may need to add a little extra water.

Toppings Ideas: (A way to utilize leftovers)

Meats:

  • pepperoni
  • chicken
  • hamburger
  • sliced up pork chops
  • salami
  • anchovies
  • tofu
  • ham, regular and proscuitto

Cheeses:

  • mozzarella
  • cheddar
  • Monterey jack
  • feta
  • goat’s cheese
  • Veggies:
  • tomatoes, sun dried or not
  • peppers, bell peppers or hot peppers
  • artichokes – best if canned
  • hearts of palm
  • potatoes – this is normal in Italy, so why not here
  • onions, sweet onions are great too
  • garlic, try roasted garlic cloves
  • asparagus
  • eggplant
  • anything really

Sauces:

  • Marinara
  • Alfredo
  • Pesto
  • BBQ

Pizza is great because you can make it out of anything.  It works well for leftovers, because very few things cannot be added to a pizza.  Be creative and use what is already in your fridge.

How to bake it:

Most of us don’t have the money to go buy a pizza stone, so I am going to tell you how to make it without one.  If you splurge though and buy one, use the directions that come with it.

  1. Roll out the dough to a size that will fit a baking sheet
  2. Pre-heat your oven to 500 degrees with the baking sheet in the oven and the rack put in the middle
  3. Prepare the toppings so that they are easy to throw on the pizza really fast
  4. Take the pan out of the oven, sprinkle cornstarch on the pan
  5. Put the dough on the pan and throw the toppings on as quickly as you can
  6. Put the pizza in the oven and cook for about 10 to 20 minutes.  Watch and when the crust is browning and the cheese is melted throughout, it is done.
  7. Heating the baking sheet in the oven first is the only way to get a crispy crust throughout.  It is the same idea as a pizza stone.  When using a pizza stone you heat it up first as well.  A stone does keep the heat better, but I have found that a cookie sheet works just as well too.
  8. Be creative and create your own pizzas.  They are cheapest when using things that are already in your fridge or are ingredients that you use for other recipes already.  But if you need some inspiration, here are some pizza combos you might want to try
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About 20somethingsfoodguide

I grew up in Hawaii, but now live in Denver, CO. I love food, traveling, photography, and everything in between.

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