Friday, February 24, 2006

Friday Food Fun

As promised... here is the recipe for my husband's yummy, thin and crispy crust pizza dough and homemade sauce, along with important tips... He wanted me to stress that food is a personal preference, and not everyone may love this as much as his awesome wife does (that's me!).

First -- two quick tips:

Use flour with a high gluten content in order to make the crust crispy. The King Arthur Flour Company manufactures a high-gluten flour that contains 14% protein which is excellent for this recipe (see their "Sir Lancelot" brand). If you don't have Sir Lancelot handy then use a quality bread flour. Do not use all-purpose flour.

Unfortunately, a stand mixer with a dough hook is the best thing to use for making this dough recipe. I'm not even sure what you could use in its place if you don't have one. ;-(

And now ... after all the anticipation ... The Pizza Recipe ...

Dough Recipe
3 1/2 cups flour
About 3/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 & 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 & 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt

In a small bowl, activate the yeast with a couple tablespoons of warm water and the sugar.

In a heavy-duty stand mixer (like a KitchenAid) fitted with the dough hook, add the water, oil, activated yeast with sugar, and salt. Mix thoroughly until yeast has fully dissolved. Slowly add flour and mix on low speed until all of the flour and water have mixed and a stiff dough ball forms, about 3 to 4 minutes. You may need to add a bit more flour or water until the dough balls up (it should not be crumbly). Stop mixing as soon as the dough ball forms as this type of dough should not be kneaded.

Place the dough ball into a large bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest on the counter for about 2-3 hours, and then for 24 hours in the refrigerator before using. This is sooo important. Do not skip this step! This is what makes it so crispy and gives it it's special taste.

Homemade Pizza Sauce
28 oz. can tomatoes in heavy puree
1 teaspoon fresh yellow onion, finely chopped
1 clove fresh garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Saute onion, garlic, salt and spices. Add tomatoes and incorporate. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Pour back into saucepan and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Don't let the sauce to boil, because it will make it acidic. Allow to cool to room temperature before using.

When you're ready to put your pizza together:

Preheat your oven to 500 °F about one hour before you plan to bake the pizza. Thin crust pizza needs the high heat to cook it without getting soggy. While the oven is preheating, set the dough out on your counter so it can come to room temperature.

Turn the dough out onto a large surface and dust with flour. Using a heavy rolling pin, roll the dough out very thin to form a 24-inch or larger circle. Dust the pan lightly with flour, place the dough in the pan and prick it with a fork. Trim off the excess dough drooping over the sides of the pan. If you are using a flat pizza pan or a pizza stone, fold the edge over 1-inch all the way around and pinch it up to form a raised lip or rim.

At this point, you can pre-cook the crust for 4 to 5 minutes before adding any sauce or toppings. Remove the crust from the oven and pop any large air pockets that may have formed. Add the sauce, shredded mozzarella cheese, and your favorite toppings. My husband will brush the exposed crust on the edges with a mixture of olive oil, garlic powder, salt andItaliann seasonings just to give it an extra punch of flavor (mmmmm). I prefer when he uses coarse sea salt (kind of like an everything bagel... but I digress).

Continue baking, on the lowest oven rack, rotating the pan half way through so that it cooks evenly, and crust is sufficiently browned and crisp, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove the pizza from the oven and slide pizza out of cooking pan onto a large wire cooling rack (or cutting board). Allow to cool for 5 minutes before serving. This step allows the crust to stay crisp while it cools, otherwise the trapped steam will soften the crust.

This is a great recipe to make on a yucky weekend. And honestly, we have been known to use the dough after the first 3-4 hour rest on the counter, but it really is better if it has been refrigerated. I bet it would be fun for the kids to help with, too!

If you try this, let me know how it turns out!


Anonymous said...

Sounds delish. I am not ambitious enough to try it--I have a bread maker that will do it for me! :)

Sheri said...

Hey...I just found your blog and have been stuck here reading it all night instead of bathing my second to youngest...sigh...oh well, another day dirty he's bound to be developing some extraordinary immunities!

GiBee said...

Welcome to my bit of craziness, Sheri! Glad to have you. Stay a while!