As promised, I will share with you today the pizza crust recipe from allrecipes.com that has finally unlocked the secrets of home-baked pizza for this mensch. Prior to this recipe, every time I tried to make my own pizza dough, it would come out doughy and floury and generally unpleasant. But this dough is crispy, soft and chewy--the epitome of what makes good pizza dough.
Let's start with the ingredients:
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 1/2 cups bread flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
Be sure to use bread flour--it's magnificent! (And don't make my perennial mistake of using whole wheat flour. It won't make the recipe healthy and it WILL make it waaaaaay too dense).
Mix together the yeast, sugar and warm water and let it sit for about 10 minutes until it's beautifully yeasty and gassy:
While you're waiting for the yeasts to do their gaseous work, mix together the olive oil and salt. At the suggestion of another allrecipes.com user, I also added a 1/2 teaspoon of oregano, a 1/2 teaspoon basil, and a 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder. It adds a little oomph to the flavor of the dough:
Once the yeast has done its stuff, add the herbed olive oil and the flour to the mixture. I don't have a picture of this process because when I do it, flour flies everywhere and my hands become encrusted with doughy gook. (My husband wonders sometimes if I just throw flour in the air and let it settle where it might). Once the flour has been smoothed into the mixture and you've had a chance to wash your hands, the dough will look something like this:
Notice the herby goodness!
Let the dough rest for five minutes (and this means there's no need to let it rise! Huzzah!) Then, it's time to do the fun part--rolling out the dough. We have an enormous cutting board that I only ever use in conjunction with a rolling pin, but any lightly floured surface will do. Roll and stretch and throw (if you're brave) the dough into a round--or in my case, into a shape that does not occur in Euclidean Geometry:
Then, it's time for the toppings. Brush some olive oil on the dough, then go to town:
(We forgot to transfer the pizza from the cutting board to the cookie sheet before adding the first toppings. Oops!)
We like chicken and pineapple on our pizza. We discovered with this particular pizza, however, that leftover roasted chicken does not taste like grilled chicken. Lesson learned.
After 15-20 minutes in a 450 degree oven, the pizza comes out beautiful and delicious:
Let the pizza rest for 10 minutes before slicing into it. Otherwise, you might not be able to taste anything for a few days with your charred tongue. (Not that I'm speaking from experience or anything).
Had I known this recipe earlier in my financial fast, we might have avoided the Pizza of Shame.