Home-made Pizza

A few days ago we went to lunch at a local pizza place (that shall remain nameless) where they advertised an all-you-can-eat lunch special. Their pizza was in a word bad; thick spongy crust, cheese pizza with practically no cheese. But we still wanted pizza, so last night I made some.

We have a pizza stone, which I put in our gas grill and fire it up. This works great. The pizza cooks in just 2 or 3 minutes and the crust gets nice and crisp. The trick is to not overload with toppings; too many toppings and the top will not cook and will be soggy.

Notes: You can use prepared spaghetti sauce for the topping. Spread very thinly; too much sauce will keep the dough from cooking completely. Use all other toppings sparingly — less is more.

Serving Ideas: Serve with cooked Italian sausage, sliced red onion, fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced mushrooms, sliced black olives, fresh basil, sliced tomatoes, anchovies, dried oregano, dried red pepper flakes, sliced pepperoni, etc.

Here is my recipe for pizza dough, which is best if you make it the day before.

Pizza Dough

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 ounce active dry yeast(package)
  • 3/4 cup warm water, 105 to 115 degrees
  • 1 1/2 cups unbleached flour
  • 1/4 cup unbleached flour, reserved
  • 1/2 cup semolina flour
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Method:

1. Make sure that you have fresh yeast! Packaged yeast has a short shelf life.

2. Dissolve the package of yeast in the warm water and let stand for 10 minutes. Heating in the microwave for about 1 minute will get the water to the proper temperature, but check with a thermometer.

3. In a food processor with the metal blade inserted, combine the following: 1 ½ cups of flour, ½ cup of semolina, 1 tsp. sugar, and 1 tsp. salt. Mix well. With the motor running, slowly mix in the yeast mixture until combined. Add the 1 tbsp of olive oil to the mixture and continue mixing for 1 minute. The dough should have formed a ball. Note: Add the remaining ¼ cup of flour if it hasn’t formed a ball yet.

4. Take the dough out of the mixer and put onto a floured surface and knead briefly with flour until the ball is not sticky.

5. Next, form the dough into a ball and put it in a bowl that has been lightly coated with olive oil. Cover the bowl with a damp towel and put it in a warm place for about 1 hour. (You may then put it in the refrigerator).

6. Take the dough from the refrigerator and roll it on a floured surface into a long cylinder and cut it into 5-6 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and place on a floured platter. Do this with all the balls and keep them covered with a damp towel.

7. Place a pizza stone on a rack in the oven and preheat to 500 degrees for 1 hour prior to cooking. Alternatively place pizza stone on gas grill. Turn on burners to medium heat and heat for 1 hour prior to cooking.

8. Using a rolling pin, roll one ball into a circle making a pizza crust. Now you can add the tomato sauce and your toppings and cook at 500 for about 5 to 7 minutes. Watch closely as it cooks very fast!

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