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Friday, January 29, 2010

pizza perfection



I have high standards for pizza.  It must be full of flavor, not grease...loaded with toppings...and dairy free.  For some reason, the pizza joints around town just don't seem to live up to my standards.  If I want a dairy-free pizza, I have to order it without cheese, and they never add more toppings to make up for it.  Instead, what I get is a thin piece of bread topped with a thin layer of weak sauce and about three pieces of meat.  Talk about unsatisfying!

Fortunately, I am not living a pizza-deprived life, thanks to this recipe.  This is the BEST pizza recipe I've ever had, and I've tried several of my friends' concoctions (sorry guys...this is better).  Once you try it, you'll wonder why you ever paid money for a pizza in the first place.

Try it...you'll love it...I promise.

For the crust, you'll need 3 cups Better for Bread flour (I'm sure you could use all purpose, but Better for Bread is...well...better), 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, 2 packages of quick rise yeast, 1 teaspoon salt, 8 oz. of lukewarm water, and 1/2 teaspoon sugar.  Simple enough, right?

 

 Combine all of the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.


Add the oil and water.  And then...don't be shy...just stick your hand in and knead.  It's fun, trust me.

 

Knead the dough for a good three minutes.  Try to resist the urge to bow out early.  Apparently, kneading causes gluten production which makes better bread.  I don't understand it, but that's what I've heard.  

Once you've kneaded for three minutes, shape the dough into a ball and cover it.  Let it rise until it's doubled in size.


While your dough is rising, you are going to whip up some sauce.  None of that sauce-in-a-jar for us...we're better than that.  :-)

Your sauce ingredients are simple - 1 small can of tomato paste; 1 small can of tomato sauce; 1 1/4 teaspoons oregano, basil, and garlic powder; and 1 teaspoon salt.

 

Put everything in a bowl (preferably larger than the bowl that I chose - man, did I make a mess).

 

Now stir...
 

This sauce is amazing.  I could eat it straight out of the bowl.  Don't do that, though - you'll need it for the pizza.

Okay, back to the dough.  If it's doubled in size, uncover it and punch it down.  Then let it rise for another 4 minutes.  Why four?  I have no idea...

After the random four minutes is up, roll out your dough into a nice large circle.

 

Yes, mine's more of an amoeba shape.  I think it adds character.
Transfer your dough to a pizza pan and let it rise on the pan for 10-15 minutes.

 

And now we put it all together!  Spread the sauce over the crust, getting it right up to the edges.  Then, put on whatever toppings you want.  Our personal favorites are red pepper, onion, turkey pepperoni, and turkey breakfast sausage.  It's a winning combination every time.

 

For cheese, you've got a couple of options.  If you are luckier than me, you can use real mozzarella.  If you are luckier than me and adventurous, try mixing Monterrey Jack and mozzarella...yum. 
If you are going for more of a dairy-free approach, soy cheese works amazing.  I'm not usually a fan of soy cheese, but there's so much flavor on this pizza you can't tell the difference.  We've served this pizza (with soy cheese) to our friends and they never knew it wasn't real cheese.

Or, the final option, is to do what I did on this particular pizza.  I just left the cheese off my half.  It sounds odd, but the sauce is just so flavorful that I didn't need the cheese!  And since I'm in control of the cooking, I made sure there were plenty of other toppings.

 

Place this beauty in a cold oven.  Did you catch that?  A cold oven.  No preheating.

Turn the oven on to 500 degrees and bake your pizza for 17-20 minutes.  You'll be able to tell it's done when the cheese is melted and the crust is golden.  It looks something like this.

 

YUM.  Excuse me while I go enter pizza paradise...


Perfect Pizza
Pizza Dough:
  • 3 cups Better for Bread flour
  • 1 T. vegetable oil
  • 1 T. (2 - 1/4 oz. pkts) quick rise yeast
  • 1 t. salt
  • 8 oz. lukewarm water
  • 1/2 t. sugar
Combine the above dry ingredients.  Add oil and water.  Knead by hand 3 minutes; shape into a ball.  Cover and let rise until doubled in size.  Punch down.  Let rise for 4 minutes.  Roll out and place on pizza pan.  Let rise 10-15 minutes.  Add sauce, toppings, and cheese.  Place in cold oven; turn to 500 degrees.  Bake 17-20 minutes.  Serves 6.
Pizza Sauce:
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 small can tomato sauce
  • 1 1/4 t. oregano
  • 1 1/4 t. basil
  • 1 1/4 t. garlic powder
  • 1 t. salt
Mix above ingredients to combine.
Nutrition (just crust and sauce): 310 cal, 4g fat, 0g sat fat, 0mg cholesterol, 1199mg sodium, 59g carbs, 4g fiber, 6g sugar, 11g protein, 12% vit. A, 15% vit. C, 3% calcium, 26% iron.


This recipe linked to This Week's Cravings: Pizza!

6 comments:

  1. Wow! That looks fabulous!

    And what's this I see about being published in Gooseberry Patch?!?! CONGRATS!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Looks great. I will try it. I love your blog. It's very pretty background. Doylene

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  3. Thanks everyone! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

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  4. Such a great recipe for pizza. I look forward to making this!

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  5. I am REALLY truly going to try this, THIS WEEK! I have never made my own pizza dough, but it's about time. Here I GO.....

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