Thursday, June 23, 2011

Belated Father's Day Pizza

Because I was in Chicago for Father's Day, I told my Dad I would make him dinner sometime in the following week and tonight was the night. I made two pizzas from scratch and they turned out great ! I used a simple recipe for the crust from I followed the directions closely except substituted wheat flour for white flour.

To start out I mixed 2 1/4 teaspoons of active dry yeast - I used one that was advertised to work especially well with wheat flour - and 1/2 teaspoon of brown sugar with 1 1/2 cups of warm water, and let it sit for roughly 10 minutes. This is to allow the yeast to hydrate and grow because after all - YEAST IS ALIVE ! Its a fungus. After 10 minutes I added 2 1/2 cups of flour and stirred to combine the mixture. Then I put the dough ball on my floured counter top and began kneading it with the palms of my hands adding more flour by the handful until the ball was much less sticky. I then put the dough ball into an oiled bowl (I thought I used too much oil, but there was no problem with the end result), covered it with a towel, and let it hang out in there for about 1 hour.

After 1 hour, the dough had risen and grew to twice its original size. Unfortunately I was too eager for the next step that I forgot to take a picture of the risen dough. Pretty much right after I removed the towel and saw my large airy dough ball, I PUNCHED IT DOWN !

Then I cut the dough in half and stretched it onto two cookie sheets. The first pizza I made was with a tomato basil sauce, shredded 2% mozzarella cheese, and cooked ground beef. The second pizza I made had a red theme and was much more creative. Rather than traditional pizza sauce, I used red pepper and cheese spread. Then I added slices of a fresh tomato, roasted red pepper pieces, and sun-dried tomatoes. I used crumbled sun-dried tomato and thyme feta cheese. I was nervous that I hadn't used enough cheese and the toppings might burn in the oven, but it turned out fine !

I then preheated the oven to 425 degrees and let the pizza sit out while I was waiting for the oven to warm up. The recipe suggested this - to let the pizza stand with toppings on for 10-15 minutes before baking if you were not using a pizza stone. Once the oven was heated I put them in the oven together for 15 minutes. Because the crusts weren't that thick and they looked sooo good, I took them out after 15 minutes. After cutting them up I realized maybe 2-3 more minutes in the oven would have been beneficial. But they still tasted amazing !!

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