Thursday, August 18, 2011

Herbed Cheese Pizza (with, quite possibly, the best crust ever, by the way)

I wanted to blog this recipe last night, but my husband was streaming Ancient Aliens on our laptop.  Have any of you seen that show?  Are these people serious?  If you haven't, here's an example of what goes on in the show: Long ago, a woman was baking a pizza.  While she was doing the dough, she left it in a draftless, warm place.  About an hour later... it had doubled in size.  Is there any other explanation than ALIENS?!  They must have zapped down in through the microwave, probed the dough, and implanted some extraterrestrial matter into the dough to make it increase in size.  *Cut to a man with an orange face, poofy black hair, and a black velvet sport coat* "Ancient texts have alluded to the existance of a disc coming down and manipulating all the dough in the city of Greece.  In my opinion, the notion of dough-puffing aliens is perfectly conceivable after reading these texts." 

On the serious side, the crust on this pizza was out of this world.  If there are ancient or modern aliens, they may just come down here to get a taste of this stuff.  It's the best crust I've made yet.  If I don't blog this recipe, I'll lose it forever!  I think it helps that aliens came down and carved stone into a perfect circle (there's no other explanation!) and packaged it in a Food Network Pizza Stone box and beamed it to me for my thirtieth birthday.  Oh, wait... My husband gave that to me.  Well, bless his soul because this pizza was amazing.  I know it will still come out great if you don't have a pizza stone because the dough was fantastic.  Next time I do this pizza, I'm making it right: pepperoni, mozzarella, Italian sausage, black olives, red onions, fresh minced basil and oregano, and maybe mushrooms if I'm feeling crazy. 

Herbed Cheese Pizza:
source: Cooking Light Annual Recipes 2003

1 c bread flour, divided
1/2 t sugar
1 package dry yeast ( 2 1/4 t)
1 c warm water
1 1/4 c flour, divided
1/2 t salt
1 t olive oil

1 t oregano
1 t cumin
1/2 t paprika
1/2 t black pepper, divided
1/2 t olive oil
1/2 c chopped onion
1/4 t salt
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 bay leaf
14 oz can tomatoes
Provolone slices or mozzarella
1 1/2 T fresh parsley

Combine 1/2 c bread flour, sugar, yeast, and 1/2 c warm water in a bowl.  Let it rest for 15 minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 c flour, 1/2 c bread flour, and 1/2 t salt.  Make a well in the center and pour in the yeast mixture, 1/2 c warm water, and 1 t oil.  Stir well. 

Place the dough in a stand mixer with a dough hook attachment.  Mix on low speed for about ten minutes or until it is smooth.  I ended up adding the last 1/4 c flour because the dough was really, really sticky.  Once it's smooth, place it in a greased bowl and set it in warm place, free of drafts (and aliens) until it doubles in size.  I always put a glass container of boiling water in the back corner of my microwave and put the bowl in there.  it works like a charm!  It took about 45 minutes. 

Take the bowl out and divide it into to portions.  This much dough will make one 7 inch pizza and and 14ish inch pizza.  Cover the portions of dough and let it rest for twenty minutes.

For the topping, combine the oregano, cumin, paprika, and 1/2 t pepper.  Set aside.

In a saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat.  Add the chopped onion and cook for three minutes.  Add 1/4 t pepper, 1/2 t salt, garlic, bay leaf, and tomatoes.  Stir and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium.  Simmer for 15 minutes. 

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  If you have a pizza stone (they rule!), place it on the bottom rack of the oven while it is preheating. 

Using one portion of dough at a time, roll it out pretty thin.  Place the rolled out crust on a baking sheet with cornmeal on the bottom.  Add the sauce, top with cheese, and sprinkle with the herb/spice mixture. 

Bake for 12 minutes or until the crust is lightly browned.   Sprinkle with parsley.

Now, one stress-inducing step you get to skip if you don't have a pizza stone is transferring the uncooked, dressed pizza dough onto the hot pizza stone.  Oh, man!  Here's how I did it.  I flipped a regular pizza pan over and covered it with corn meal.  I put the dough on there and adding all the toppings.  I opened the oven... leaned down... got blasted with 450 degree heat... and slowly shook the pizza pan until the dough slid onto the pizza stone.  Phew!   I thought for sure that it was going flop into a big pile of mess onto the pizza stone.  Thank goodness it didn't. 

If you don't want to make the homemade sauce, you can use bottled for time's sake.  This dough, however, must be tried! 

No comments:

Post a Comment