Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pizza for the football game


We always have pizza for Vikings games. It's a great tradition at our house and lately I do homemade more often than not.
After years of experimenting I finally found a crust recipe that I love. It is flavorful and tender, yet you can still pick it up to eat it.

American style Pizza Crust by Wolfgang Puck

Ingredients:

Untitled Ingredient
1 Package Active Dry Or Fresh Yeast
1 tsp. Honey
1 cup Warm Water (105º F To 115º F)
3 cups All-Purpose Flour (Use Good Quality All-Purpose Or A Bread Flour)
1 tsp. Kosher Salt
1 tbsp. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, plus more for brushing

Directions:

1. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and honey in ¼ cup of the warm water.

2. In a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour and the salt. Add the oil, yeast mixture, and the remaining ¾ cup of water and mix on low speed until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl and clusters around the dough hook, about 5 minutes.

3. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead by hand 2 or 3 minutes longer. The dough should be smooth and firm. Cover the dough with a clean, damp towel and let it rise in a warm spot for about 30 minutes. (When ready, the dough will stretch as it is lightly pulled.)

4. Place a pizza stone on the middle rack of the oven and preheat the oven to 500º F.

5. Divide the dough into 2 balls. Work each ball by pulling down the sides and tucking under the bottom of the ball. Repeat 4 or 5 times. Then on a smooth, unfloured surface, roll the ball under the palm of your hand until the top of the dough is smooth and firm, about 1 minute. Cover the dough with a damp towel and let it rest for 15 to 20 minutes. At this point, the balls can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days.

6. To prepare each pizza, dip the ball of dough into flour, shake off the excess flour, place the dough on a clean, lightly floured surface, and start to stretch the dough. Press down on the center, spreading the dough into an 8-inch circle, with outer border a little thicker than the inner circle. If you find this difficult to do, use a small rolling pin to roll out the dough. Lightly brush the inner circle of the dough with oil and arrange the toppings of your choice over the inner circle.

7. Using a lightly floured baker’s peel or a rimless flat baking tray, slide the pizza onto the baking stone and bake until the pizza crust is nicely browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Remember that the oven is very hot and be careful as you place the pizza into and out of the oven. Transfer the pizza to a firm surface and cut into slices with a pizza cutter or very sharp knife. Serve immediately

*My note: Through trial and error we have found the best way to get the pizza on the heated pizza stone is to use tin foil. Prepare the pizza on the foil and then slide pizza and foil onto the heated stone. The dough going directly on the hot stone makes all the difference in how it cooks. No more soggy crusts! A cookie sheet can be helpful with this process; especially to pull the pizza out of the the oven. Just slide the cookie sheet under the foil.

The above recipe makes a pizza for each of us. Personal pizzas, if you will. I like my pizza traditional: crust, sauce, topping, cheese in that order bottom up. Husband likes to put cheese down on the sauce and then a bit more cheese on top of everything. He likes a lot of meat; I like a bit of meat and more veggies. So now we each our own pizza made the way we want. I eat half for the game and usually half later in the day.
The picture above is my pizza. It looks huge, but it is really only a little bigger than the "personal pizzas" you see offered at restaurants. For topping I have turkey sausage and a few pepperoni, red onions, portabella mushrooms, black olives, a pizza cheese mix and some fresh mozzarella.
It was delicious.
Now if the Vikings can just figure themselves out this season.

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