Thursday, 9 October 2008
I have a goal to find the ultimate recipe for enough dishes that anytime company is coming over I don't have to worry about what to make or if it'll turn out okay. So that means I need an ultimate appetizer, main course and desert. I like to know that if someone requests something, say brownies, then I have a sure-fire recipe that won't let me down. One day, I will make a list for you of my current top recipes. But today I need to talk about pizza dough. Pizza is by far my favorite savory food. I have been making pizza dough from scratch for years and it's always been good, but never great. Company has approved, but never went gaga over it. Yesterday I tried a new recipe that was unbelievably good. It made me swoon and normally I'm quite picky about things I make. I can't wait to have company over to try out this dough. If they don't go crazy, I'll be slightly disappointed.
It all started when I was playing with Stumble and I came across this site. (He provides awesome photos and a better step-by-step then me so go check it out, I'll wait). How could you not want to make that?! I certainly could not resist and I'm so glad I didn't. Look what awaited me:
It was so good I'm counting the minutes until lunch time so I can go have another slice. If you want to achieve the perfect pizza here's how:
Makes 2 large pizzas or 1 deep dish
1 1/4 cups warm water
1 tbls sugar
4 tsps active dry yeast
1 tbls salt
1/4 c vegetable oil
~5 cups flour (I used all purpose)
PANS: For regular pizza a baking sheet or pizza stone. For deep dish a springform pan (though a really deep cake pan could suffice).
OVEN TEMP/COOKING TIME: Regular pizza--as hot as your oven will go/10-12 minutes. Deep dish--200C/400F/30-35 minutes.
Pour the water into a bowl, add the sugar and the yeast and whisk vigorously until all the yeast is dissolved. After a minute you should see some bubbles:
At this point you're supposed to let it sit for about 5 minutes until the top is slightly frothy. I got distracted and probably let mine sit for 10 or 15 minutes. I think it went beyond slightly frothy:
However I am convinced that this is what made my dough so light and airy and if possible I will let my yeast mixture sit for ages every time. Next add in the salt and oil. Then add the flour a cup at a time. After about 3 cups you should be starting to get a dough like substances. At this point I start kneading the dough adding flour about 1/4c at a time until I can work with the dough and it's not sticking to my hands like wallpaper paste. The dough should feel smooth. When you've reached this point put the dough back in the bowl to rise. Whether you cover it or not is up to you. I once saw on a TV program that hotel shower caps are great for covering bowls. But as this dough only takes about an hour to rise I left mine uncovered.
It's done rising when it has doubled in size or when you can press two fingers into it and it leaves a slight impression. Punch down the dough and knead until you don't hear/feel any air bubbles popping.
That's the dough part done. At this point you could just break it in half and roll out your dough to whatever thickness you like to make a standard large pizza. Just put on your toppings and bake for 10-12 minutes in as a hot an oven as you can manage. You could even put one ball in the freezer if you wanted and save it for another night (put it in the fridge to defrost the morning of). If you want to make a deep dish though, carry on reading.
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F. Break the dough into two balls, one slightly smaller than the other and roll out the smaller of the two, aiming for about 1/4" thickness.
Place your pan on top of the dough and cut around it leaving a slight edge:
Set this pizza base aside for the moment.
Take the scraps and need them into the other ball and roll this out as well. Place this larger pizza base into the pan, covering the bottom and then pressing up onto the sides:
You're now going to add your base fillings. I put in slightly browned sausages, frozen spinach (mostly defrosted), tomato puree and grated Cheddar cheese. Then put your smaller pizza base on top of these fillings, forming a crust with two edges. Cut a little slit in the middle to let steam out (I only remembered this step when my pizza was bubbling up in the oven). Then put on the toppings you would for a normal pizza. I put on more tomato puree, grated Cheddar and chopped Camembert.
Place in the oven for approximately 30 minutes. Remove from pan immediately upon removal from oven.
Let it cool for a few minutes (the filling is very hot, can you see the steam?).
Enjoy! From this deep dish I got 6 slices/servings. It's great reheated the next day and I'm off to eat some for lunch now!