Perfect Pizza for the Pack

It doesn’t matter what coast you’re from. Thin and crispy, thin and floppy, thick, deep dish…

Pizza is delicious. Pizza is amazing. It is versatile.
It can be topped with greasy meats or healthy vegetables. It can seem fancy schmancy, funky or classic.

It is also one of the most profitable foods in the food service industry. It’s fun for kids to make.
All of these things mean that it is a good idea to make your own at home. Don’t be scared. You will see the words yeast and rise in the following recipe but don’t run! It’s a single bowl method and I was testing ingredient combinations for this crust before I knew how yeast worked. What’s better?
This recipe can make 3 different styles of crust. Don’t believe me? Just try it. This is a great recipe for those who are afraid of yeast and bread baking because it’s almost foolproof.

Yuh’ welcome.

Perfectly Versatile Pizza Crust
(from Wendi Kent)

you will need:

1 packet (1/4 oz. or 1 1/2 tsp.) Active dry yeast
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour plus some for dusting
(for whole wheat crust: exchange 1/2 cup of white for wheat)
1/2 tsp salt
3 Tbsp olive oil (plus a little for brushing)
1/2 Tbsp honey (or sugar)
3/4 cup 105-110° water
cornmeal or semolina for dusting
Toppings

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients (including sugar if you’re using it instead of honey) except water and honey. Add the honey to your hot water and then temp it again to be sure it is still the proper temperature. Add water to mix.

(But, Wendi, it looks like a big mess and that’s not how you do it when you make bread and shouldn’t I do the yeast and water different and are you sure this is going to work? Chill out. It will work.)

Combine until dough forms. Once combined, knead 5 to 15 times on a floured surface.  You are kneading JUST until dough becomes resilient unlike bread.
Cover with a light towel and let rest. Choose your style below.

Fresh basil leaves, sauce and fresh balls of mozzarella make a classic Margherita Pizza.

For thin, crispy crust: Preheat your oven to 400°. Let dough rest only 5 minutes. (It still should have risen a bit.) On lightly floured surface, roll dough out with rolling-pin. Sprinkle pan lightly with cornmeal or semolina and lay crust on top. You will likely have some dough left after trimming the edges. I like to make bread sticks from this (below). Brush with olive oil. Perforate dough a few times lightly with fork or pizza cutter. Pre bake 8-15 minutes or just until light golden. Remove and add toppings. Finish baking.

For thin, soft crust: Preheat oven to 400°. Let dough rest only 5 minutes. (It still should have risen a bit.) On lightly floured surface, roll dough out with rolling-pin. Sprinkle pan lightly with cornmeal or semolina and lay crust on top. You will likely have some dough left after trimming the edges. I like to make bread sticks from this (below). Brush with olive oil. Perforate dough a few times lightly with fork or pizza cutter. Add toppings. Bake until crust is golden and toppings are done.

For thicker crust: Preheat oven to 400°. Let dough rest 10 to 15 minutes. (It should have risen quite a bit.) On lightly floured surface, roll dough out with rolling-pin to desired thickness. Sprinkle pan lightly with cornmeal or semolina and lay crust on top. Brush with olive oil. Perforate dough a few times lightly with fork or pizza cutter. Pre bake 8-15 minutes or just until light golden. Remove and add toppings. Finish baking.

For bread sticks: Take excess dough and roll out into long strand(s). (I like to twist two together.) Brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with garlic salt, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Bake until golden and serve with sauce. Nummy and no waste!

Print Pizza Crust Recipe!

Fresh basil leaves, sauce and fresh balls of mozzarella make a classic Margherita Pizza.

Advertisements

October 5, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , . Recipes. 3 comments.

Sunny Side Up

Here is a backwards (don’t ask) video on how to make great looking sunny side up eggs. Some things to keep in mind:

  1. I know, I know. I say “um” a lot. It’s because I like to be thorough and specific and my brain and mouth don’t work at the same speed.
  2. There’s a little “dead air” while the eggs are actually cooking. Let’s get real. I can’t figure out how to edit the videos and it’s not like this is the Food Network. I do my best. Give me a break.
  3. Yeah. I said they’re perfect. What of it?

So if you can get past these things, hopefully you will write and share a picture of your beautiful eggs with me.

A few more egg related notes:

  1. If you like smaller, thicker, softer whites such as these   ↓
    all you do is use a smaller pan, crack them further away from one another and do not tilt your pan to let the whites spread.
  2. I’m sure someone somewhere is going to disagree with me about something. Seriously, I did a search for sunny side eggs and I found basted ones. This is what I know to be correct according to the places I have cooked, the people who have taught me and the research I have done.

June 11, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Cooking tips, Eggs. 3 comments.

Tip O’ the Week

*Tips that are NEAT-tO know!*

PERFECT
cookies
EVERY
time.*

*Please see disclaimer.

This trick awesome to know, but it is even MORE awesome to know why it works…
then again, I am kind of food science nerd.

I have had customers ask me time and time again how my cookies stay so soft for so long. This is how I do it.

For soft, chewy cookies: When cookies are done, hold your cookie sheet about 1-2 feet from the counter top, very flat. Drop the cookie sheet to get a good, loud THWACK! Immediately remove cookies and let them cool on foil or parchment paper. I am serious! Drop it! Nice and flat. If you don’t hear a loud smack, you didn’t drop it flat enough. Try once more.

Why this works: You will notice your cookies sink after smacking them. You are knocking all the hot air that is trapped inside the dough, out of the cookie. This means they are no longer cooking on the inside. (Just because you take them out of the oven, does not mean they have stopped cooking.) The pan is also still cooking them slowly so by removing them, you are stopping the process almost immediately. These will stay soft for a week, sometimes longer!

For crunchy cookies: This is perfect for crunchy sugars, gingersnaps and so on. Just do the opposite as above. You want them to continue to cook slowly so they get crisp all the way through. When the cookies are done, remove them from the oven and gently set the pan down. Allow the cookies to cool ON the pan.

Once you know WHY this works, it makes perfect sense!

* This has never failed me…unless, of course, I over bake the cookies in the first place. This won’t save you then.

March 14, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , . Cooking tips, Tip O' the Week. 3 comments.

%d bloggers like this: