Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Homemade Pizza

We have some good friends who are vegetarian. When they come to visit, I am always looking for something they will enjoy. This was a big hit.  I made Alex Guamaschelli's basic pizza dough and then put out toppings from which everyone could choose.

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (or 1 package)
1/2 cup warm water about 110 degrees F)
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for rolling dough
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper ( I used black pepper) I don't mind the black flecks
1 scant tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, plus some additional for coating the bowl/greasing the trays
In a large bowl, combine the yeast and warm water. Stir to dissolve the yeast and allow the mixture to rest for 5 minutes.

Using a sieve or strainer, sift about 1/2 of the flour over the yeast mixture and blend until smooth with your hands. Add the salt, pepper, and honey. and mix to blend. Sift in the remaining flour and mix to blend.

Lightly flour a cutting board or flat surface. Turn the pizza dough onto the floured area and knead for 3-5 minutes. The flour should feel smooth and the ingredients fully integrated. Place the dough inside a lightly oiled large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in a warm place, about 1 1/2 hours or until doubled in size.

Press gently on the dough and turn it onto a floured surface. Divide the dough into 4 equal parts, rolling each quarter into a loose ball. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and allow the dough to rest for an additional 15 minutes. Flatten each ball, 1 at a time, and roll it into a 6-inch found. Place each round in a single layer on a lightly greased baking sheet.

Tip: Brushing the dough with olive oil can create a barrier that will help to prevent the topping from making the crust soggy.

Toppings I provided:
1. marinara sauce or pesto sauce
2. spinach 
3. mushrooms
4. oven roasted tomatoes or sun dried tomatoes
5. Canadian bacon
6. Cheese (mozzarella and cheddar)

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