I'm thinking pizza is my favorite food. Seriously. I've certainly written about it more than once. The best part is that since I've started making my own, it's become easier and easier. I can come home from work and have a pizza in the oven in less than hour. How cool is that?
Do you want the short version? Here it is:
Place a pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees F.
1 1/4 cups warm water (bathwater warm, about 110 degrees F.)
1 tablespoon sugar or honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons (or one package) dry yeast
3-3 1/2 cups bread flour (can swap out 1 cup of bread flour for whole wheat flour)
1 teaspoon salt
Place the water in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the sugar or honey and the olive oil. Stir in the yeast. Let this mixture stand for about 5 minutes or until it starts to foam (this way you know the yeast is working). Add three cups of the flour and the salt.
Attach the dough hook and knead the dough for about 5 minutes. It should clean the sides of the bowl. If the dough is too wet, add a little flour, a tablespoon at a time. Likewise, add a little water if it's too dry.
Place the dough in a well oiled bowl and turn it over so that both sides are oiled. Cover the bowl with a clean towel and let the dough rise in a draft-free area until it's doubled, about 45 minutes.
Punch the dough down and plop it on a floured surface ( I prefer my Silpat), then divide it in two. Put one of the halves of dough back into the bowl and cover it back up.
The Silpat makes it easy to transfer the dough onto the pizza peel.
Spread the dough out into a 10-12 inch circle. Sometimes mine are oblong. :)
Put a generous handful of cornmeal on a pizza peel and spread it around. Place the dough on top of the corn meal ---you are now ready to top the pizza.
No matter what kind of toppings I choose, I start by drizzling a little olive oil over the top of the dough. At this point you can spread some sauce over the top, but since I'm not a huge sauce fan, I just sprinkle some seasonings on top (whatever I have on hand--tonight it's Italian seasoning, some garlic powder, and a little salt). Put on the toppings of choice. Here, I added sliced tomatoes, onions, fresh spinach, fresh basil, Parmesan cheese and a shredded blend of cheeses. I normally don't measure the cheese, but use about a half of an 8 oz. bag. Get creative. Like olives? Load 'em on. Pepperoni? Go for it.
Of course your pizza stone is going to get all gnarly looking after a few uses. Don't mind this--it gives it character....
Slide it onto the pizza stone and bake for 10-12 minutes. I had my oven on convection and just had it in there for 8 minutes.
Pull out that pie and slice it up. Then do it all over again with your second piece of dough.
Don't you love this time of year? Fresh tomatoes, spinach and basil...there's nothing better.
And don't forget to save a piece for breakfast.