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Making Pizza Part 1

I am a horrible baker.  I have no feel for it, and I don’t like being unsuccessful when I screw up.  It’s funny, because I think of myself as a competent cook.  I like being in the kitchen but I find that  cooking is so much more tangible than baking.  I’m not great at following recipes.  When I cook I can taste as I go along and my taste buds will tell me if I’m missing anything.  In baking, I don’t realize I’ve missed something until I get to the end and my bread hasn’t risen, or my dough won’t form.  I do know that I have it in myself to become a better baker.  I realize that I just need to slow down when I’m putting the ingredients together and read the recipe carefully.  I know with practice I will improve.

I heard a friend had a killer pizza dough recipe that was easy to make, and delicious.  Sounded good to me so I had the recipe emailed to me and it looked simple enough.  Originally my thought was to make it in my Kitchen Aid mixer, (which has only been used a handful of times in 8 years) but I realized that in order for me to become a better baker, I should try to mix and knead the dough by hand to get the feel for it.

The end result? Well, the dough never formed as I had imagined it should have even though I added more water than I was comfortable doing.  The dough makes enough for 2 pizzas.  On the first night, I forgot to put the pizza stone in the oven and ended up cooking on a baking sheet that I didn’t put low enough in the oven.

I gave myself a C for this attempt. The dough was a bit undercooked and the toppings overcooked. The sauce was delicious though.

I put the other ball of dough in the fridge and tried again the next night.  With the knowledge of the results from the night before, I put the preheated the pizza stone in the oven on the lowest rack.  I also just put the pizza sauce, meat and onions on my pizza for the first 7 minutes and then threw the cheese, and basil on for the last couple of minutes.  I also put some arugula on after I took it out of the oven because I felt I needed some greens.  Result?  It was really good.

I was starving when I made this and ate most of it out of the oven before I remembered to take a photo.

I call this post Part 1, because I know I’ll be making pizza again soon and will document the process a bit better.

Max’s Pizza Dough Recipe
  • 2/ 3 Cup – Lukewarm Water (I ended up adding another 1/3 cup because my dough was so dry)
  • 1 Pinch – Sugar
  • 1 ½ Teaspoon – Dry Yeast
  • 1 Tablespoon- Olive Oil
  • 2 Cups – White Flour, plus a bit more, as needed
  • 1 Teaspoon – Salt

Preparation
1) By hand: Stir together 1/3-cup water and the sugar in a large bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over this mixture and let it stand until it is foamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1/3-cup water, olive oil and 2 cups flour and salt. Blend with a large spoon until the contents form dough. Knead the dough on a floured surface, incorporating more flour if necessary, to keep the dough from sticking. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes (my dough never became smooth nor elastic, at a certain point, I thought “good enough”).

2) Put the dough into a deep, oiled bowl, and turn to coat it with the oil. Let the dough rise, covered with plastic wrap in a warm place for 1-2 hour or until it is doubled in bulk. Punch down the dough and form it into two balls. Each will make a large pizza. Can be refrigerated for 3-4 days. If so, let rest until room temp before rolling out.

Bake at 500 degrees for about 10 minutes.

Exquisite Pizza Sauce – taken from Allrecipes.com and modified to taste.

  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 4-6 fluid ounces warm water
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons honey (I used 1tbsp- I didn’t want it to be too sweet)
  • 1 teaspoon anchovy paste (I added double)
  • 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes (I added more)
  • salt to taste

Combine ingredients in a bowl and let sit for 30 minutes.

 

2 thoughts on “Making Pizza Part 1

  1. In regards to the amount of water, it really depends on the type of flour. With practice you’ll get the consistency down, and you will begin to know how much flour/water to add just by the feel of the dough.
    Your pizza looks delicious, great choices for toppings!
    I just got a great sounding Foccacia bread recipe from a friend, I’ll give it a try and send it your way if your up for another baking challenge. I’m going to add a caramelized onion sundried tomato topping.
    Keep up the good work!

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