Tuesday, February 24, 2015

out of this world pizza

I used to make pizza, in the early days of our marriage when we lived in a little tiny adobe brick house and I actually cooked dinner. Then we moved in with my parents for what was supposed to be one year but turned into 3+ years. I finished college, got a full-time job, then had a baby. And I didn't cook much. I tried to pitch in dinners every once in awhile, and always tried to lend a hand to the master chef (my amazing mother), even if it was just setting the table and loading the dishwasher afterward.

So now we're on our own, and it's all me for dinner. Every night. Ack! How do people do this? I'm actually doing pretty ok, most of the time. I have a few good things I like to keep in frequent rotation, and every once in awhile I try a new recipe from Pinterest, or whatever. And then there's pizza.

I tried the sticky-note recipe I used back in the day, and it just didn't turn out right. Then I tried one from Pinterest: way too much salt. Another from the antique Betty Crocker cookbook was more cracker than pizza crust.

And then I found it. The holy grail of dough recipes. This is it. It takes some time, so this isn't a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants kind of dinner. You have to plan on time for the dough to rise and rest. But oh, is it worth it. And I swear it bakes up faster than Papa Murphey's take-and-bake (that might just be all in my head).

So here I'll re-post the recipe with my own little notes and alterations, because if you're like me, you don't want to click through to another site. You just want to see the darn recipe. And I'll follow with my secrets to making a killer barbecue chicken pizza, like the one pictured (heaven on a pizza crust).

The Very Best Pizza Dough

  • 1 1/2 cups warm (105-115 degrees) water
  • 1 tablespoon instant or active dry yeast (active will take longer to rise)
  • 1 tablespoon. sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 and 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more as needed (1/4 cup)
  • 2 T Butter, melted
  • Garlic salt
  • cornmeal
  1. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer (I use my Kitchenaid), stir in water, sugar and yeast. Let sit 5-10 minutes or until the yeast is foamy and dissolved (I wait the minimum 5). Add olive oil, salt, and 1 ½ cups flour and mix until combined with your hook attachment (or with a wooden spoon if not using a mixer). Gradually mix in 2 more cups of flour until dough starts to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If your dough is too wet, add 1 more tablespoon of flour at a time (I usually end up adding another 1/4 cup flour) until dough barely sticks to your fingers. Once dough has pulled away from the bowl, knead in mixer on medium-low speed or by hand for 5 minutes.
  2. Shape the dough into a ball and place back into your large mixing bowl that has been coated lightly with olive oil or nonstick cooking spray. Turn dough over to coat all sides. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled in size, 1-2 hours.
  3. Preheat your pizza stone or baking sheet in middle rack of your oven for 30-60 minutes at 475 degrees F.
  4. After dough has doubled, remove from bowl and knead a couple times. Divide dough into two equal balls and cover with a towel for 15 minutes.
  5. While your stone is preheating, sprinkle some flour and cornmeal on your counter and start to shape your crust. I use a combination of rolling pin and hand shaping. Once it is roughly the size you want, pick it up and sort of stretch the dough, turning it with each stretch so it stays circular. Lay it down on your hot pizza stone, again stretching it to the appropriate size. It will stay the size you want on the stone because the stone is so hot it "cooks" it into place. Does that make sense? I don't grease my stone at all, the cornmeal takes care of the non-stick part.
  6. The original recipe recommends brushing the crust with olive oil. I picked up a trick from my friend Autumn that is even better: BUTTER. Brush your crust, focusing on the outer edge, with melted butter, and then sprinkle with garlic salt. This gives you a delicious breadstick-like crust at the end of each slice, and it is truly amazing. Using a fork, prick several holes in the crust.
  7. Bake for 12 minutes at 475F degrees with favorite toppings then broil for 2 minutes or until cheese is golden.


Crazy Good Barbecue Chicken Pizza

  • Mozarella or cheddar jack cheese (to taste)
  • 2 slices of cooked bacon, chopped
  • Chopped red onion (to taste)
  • Fresh cilantro, chopped (again, to taste)
  • Leftover/pre-made barbecue pulled chicken (I like the Costco Jack Daniels variety) OR 1 cooked chicken breast, chopped and barbecue sauce, to taste (any variety you like, I like Sweet Baby Ray's)
  • 1 pizza crust (recipe above makes two crusts)

Prepare crust as directed above. Start with either pre-made barbecue chicken, or cooked chicken breast, and spread evenly over crust. Add barbecue sauce as desired.

Layer with cheese, then chopped bacon and red onion. Bake as directed above, and finish with chopped cilantro. Seriously, the cilantro makes it. And the bacon. Because what isn't better with bacon?


1 comment:

Chelsea said...

I don't have any idea how people make dinner every single night either - especially with kids around. Seriously, we would starve without freezer meals/leftovers. I don't know what I'll do when a casserole doesn't last us half the week anymore... YIKES.

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