March 28, 2010

Pizza is now a staple in our house

For the last 9 years I have stayed away from pizza. Ever since I was pregnant with Allyson just walking into a pizza place is enough to give me heartburn. Occasionally, if Mark and I had a date night I would order pizza and leave the check for the babysitter to pay the pizza man…that happens maybe twice a year, yeah we have a very active social life. Lately I've been getting recipe inspiration from various blogs and I saw a bunch of great pizza recipe. Hoping that maybe my heartburn issues have something to do with mass produced sauce I decided to give pizza a try with a homemade version. I found a good pizza sauce recipe at MyKitchenCafe but needed to change it for our family taste. I made some changes to the pizza crust recipe I found in the Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook. If you want to see the original recipes click the links to view them.

The pizza sauce recipe makes enough for two pizzas. We don't like a lot of sauce so I make the kids pizza first then add crushed red peppers to the remaining sauce and put it back in the food processor to blend in the peppers. We usually added the red peppers to the top of the cooked pizza, but I found the flavor better if I add it to the sauce.

We love a nice crispy crust, so I cook the pizza on my pizza stone. Funny how I have had this pizza stone for about 6 years and it just saw its first pizza two months ago. I figured out that it's best to preheat the stone. Even though the manufacturer does not recommend it in an oven over 400 degrees, my perfect crust is found at 425 degrees. So I rebel and heat my stone to 425 degrees, I like to walk on the wild side. Sometimes, but usually in my mind only. The problem I found was once the pizza stone was 425 degrees I couldn't touch it to make my crust the right size to fit the pan. It's amazing how your fingers don't like touching that hot stone. So I improvised and found my largest metal bowl, turned it upside down and put a little olive oil on it.

Then formed my crust.

If the crust gets tough and doesn't want to move down without tearing, give it a rest for a few minutes and try some more. Within a few minutes I usually have the crust all the way down.

Once the pizza stone is heated, carefully peel the dough crust off the bowl and put it on the stone. Top it with sauce, cheese, and any other topping you like. I bake mine in a 425 degree oven for about 15 minutes. While the first one is baking I remix the sauce adding crushed red peppers and form the second crust. When the first pizza is finished it will slide off the pizza stone and I can make the second pizza.

I'm glad I decided to give homemade pizza a try. It has been crazy easy and so much yummier than store bought pizza…not to mention I almost always have the ingredients on hand and the cost is much less.
Pizza Sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
1 teaspoons garlic salt
2 Tablespoons Italian seasoning
Crushed red pepper (optional)

Put all ingredients in a food processor (or blender) and blend until it is the right consistency. This recipe makes enough sauce for two pizzas. I usually make the kids pizza then add the crushed red peppers to the remaining half of the sauce and blend it again so the adult pizza gets the spicy effect.

Pizza Crust
1 teaspoon yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 ½ Cups Warm Water (110 degrees)
1 Cup Wheat Flour
3-4 cups unbleached white flour
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/3 cup Olive Oil

Put yeast, sugar and water in small bowl. Let the yeast sit for about 5 minutes to get frothy. Combine wheat flour, 3 cups white flour, and salt in mixing bowl. Add olive oil and mix for a minute. Add yeast water and mix until dough ball forms. If it looks really wet and sticky add a little bit of flour and mix again. I have found that when I use the wheat flour I only need about 3 cups of white flour. If using wheat flour let the dough ball sit for about 5 minutes before kneading. Knead the dough for 5-7 minutes. I just leave the dough in the mixer bowl and cover it with plastic wrap. Let it sit to rise about 2 hours. After it has doubled in size, split the dough in half and shape for your pan. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Top the crust with your favorite toppings and bake for 10-15 minutes.

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