Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Homemade Pizza!

If you had to ask me what would be one food that I could live off of for the rest of my life I would answer hands down, pizza. It has to be my absolute favorite food; it's so versatile! It can be as healthy or as unhealthy as you make it. So tonight I deemed pizza night, especially after being inspired by this pizza recipe I found over at How Sweet It Is.
I first started out with my homemade whole wheat pizza dough that I made quite a long time ago. The batch makes two pizzas worth of dough so I usually make one pizza and throw the other dough ball in the freezer. This makes it super easy when I want pizza on a whim. In fact, I wasn't planning on making pizza tonight so once I had figured out we had all the ingredients and took out the dough it was around 2:30PM. The dough defrosted in time, but its still probably best to defrost it over night in the refrigerator so it can defrost all at the same time (my dough ball was still cold in the middle while the outside was room temp because I didn't do this.) I'm proud to say that this is my very own recipe; and I'm very proud of it. Every single time, the pizza dough comes out absolutely fabulous. :D This will give you a nice bubbly crust that is nice and thick.
Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
4 1/3 cup white whole wheat flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons yeast
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 3/4 cups water (warm)
3 tablespoons vital wheat gluten
1 tablespoon flaxseed
1 teaspoon each of dried basil,oregeno,garlic, or any other seasonings you have that would work well
dash of red pepper flakes

Add yeast to warm water while you prepare/measure all the other ingredients. Into the bread machine add yeast/water mixture, sugar, and olive oil. Then add all of the dry ingredients but reserve 1/3 cup of the flour (I like to put salt last just as a precaution so it doesn't touch the yeast).  Start bread machine on dough cycle. Watch and add the extra flour if it looks too wet. Once dough cycle is done, punch down dough and cut into two pieces. Each dough ball should be approximately 1 pound 3 ounces. Rub each ball with a little olive oil (not a bunch, just enough to keep things from getting dry) and wrap in saran wrap. Freeze (and use within 3 months) or refrigerate (up to 6 days). This dough is best after spending the night in the fridge, so do not use immediately. When ready to use, remove from refrigerator 2 hours prior to allow it to come to room temperature (keeping it wrapped).

Okay! So there you go, this is my tried and true pizza dough recipe so its basically fool proof :D Sorry I don't have directions for kneading by hand but I'm sure a quick google search can provide you with some.

Beware this dough likes to expand like nobodies business!
Yes, the dough pushed out of it's saran wrapping... that was two layers of wrap around it because I knew this dough has a tendency to want to break free. Its a monster! A very tasty monster (:
This is enough dough for one big (12 to 14 inch) pizza but I wanted to try two different toppings so I decided I would just cut it in half.
First you get out a big knife, a cutting board, and scale (handy, but you don't need it)-
Cut the dough in half...
And if you're a perfectionist like me, weigh both halves to see if they are close to the same-
Alright the first one is 9.6 ounces; lets weigh the other one-
Uhm, WOW!!! First time in Carlyn history! The other half was 9.6 ounces too! I think I'm getting better at this :D Maybe the monster dough was behaving for the camera, who knows.

Okay so on to the TOPPINGS! No pizza is complete without them, I tell ya. Back to my inspiration: I was looking over at How Sweet It Is and she had made this fabulous roasted vegetable and goat cheese flat bread (link is at the beginning of this post) . I took her recipe and halved it for my half-sized pizza.
Oh my goodness gracious. These vegetables are like crack! It's zucchini, green(Jessica used orange) and red bell peppers, and onion all roasted in balsamic vinegar, oil, garlic, salt, and pepper. Jessica's took 30 minutes to cook but mine ended up looking done after 15, just by the way.
ohhh yeahh
For the other pizza I wanted to go the more traditional route. Classic cheese and pepperoni with green and red bell peppers and onions (I used separate veggies from the balsamic roasted ones; figured that wouldn't taste very "tradition")
The toppings-
For the pepperoni pizza: turkey pepperoni, roasted tomato and garlic sauce, mozzarella cheese, and bell peppers/onions (not shown).
For Goat Cheese Pizza: pesto (as the base; Jessica did not use this in her flatbread recipe), mozzarella (wow I just spelled that "mossarelly"...its late) cheese, parmigiano reggiano cheese, goat cheese, and roasted vegetables (not shown)
For both, minced garlic :D
Okay back to that delicious dough :P
After I separated em into two pieces, I stretched them into circles. Feel free to toss the dough up in the air; have some fun! The good thing is the pieces of dough are small enough so you won't ruin them by tossing them up a couple times.
Eh, not perfect; but I'm sure they'll get eaten anyways :D
You want it about yay thick.
Alright so now you want to put these guys on a pizza peel; or if you're like me and don't have one then any ol' wooden cutting board will do fine. Make sure to dust it with some cornmeal; if when you jiggle the board the dough doesn't move then you need to lift the dough and add more cornmeal to the bottom. Now poke the dough a couple times and let it rest for at least 10 minutes.
"I'm ready for toppins' all ready!!"
poking it is quite fun :D
Sauce em up!
I decided the pepperoni pizza needed a little pesto-lovin' too. Pesto is great on everything, I swear.
Alrighty, now for the best part! I added all the crazy toppings and gave each pizza a dash of red pepper flakes and Italian seasoning (as if there wasn't enough in the dough :P)
Ready for the oven!
I swear there's vegetables under all that pepperoni!
I use a pizza stone (really it's just terracotta tiles purchased at home depot for about $1.50 each, I use 2 and half tiles)
Here's what my oven looks like pre-bake-
My dad is a pretty handy craftsman so we cut the tiles to perfectly fit our oven :D
A pizza stone can really rank up there in price so this is a much more cost effective way to cook pizzas and bread and they work just as well (just maybe not as pretty, and much more breakable; see that crack on the top left?)
If you're using a pizza stone you want to put it in there while the oven is cold, then set the oven to 475 degrees and preheat for 30 minutes so the pizza stone gets nice and hot (it retains heat).
After about 9 minutes in the oven dinner was ready!

I think you can tell which one is which, right?
Served with a romaine salad on the side.

My portion:
Plus salad that I got after.
Oh my god. These pizzas were absolutely amazing; amazing!! The pepperoni is a classic, so of course it was good, but the balsamic roasted vegetable pizza with goat cheese is where it was at! Everyone loved it; and four out of two of them hate goat cheese! Go over to this post right now and make this, guys. Feel free to use Jessica's flatbread recipe, or try out my pizza dough recipe and tell me how it goes! I'd love to see if anyone gets the same success I get out of this dough :D
Okay, it's way too late but I really wanted to squeeze this post in. Goodnight!

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