Saturday, February 9, 2013

Friday Night Fun

I keep coming across a quote that says, "If you only do what you know how to do, you won't do very much." Tonight I stepped into the unknown. 

I've said more than once that considering where we live, it's usually faster to make supper at home rather than go somewhere. Well, not so much with pizza. But I've wanted to give it a try. Not hard, but it does take a little time. I still need practice getting the unbaked pizza onto the hot pizza stone. (Maybe two smaller pizzas?) But the rest was fun. Take a look... (Glad to have Jessica at home to photograph the process.)

I'll do this again for sure. If I discover any secrets along the way, I'll be sure to share. The very best part was the extra crispy crust. By the time we've driven home with a pizza, the crust has had time to soften in the cardboard box. Good to know that Demeter's is only 7 miles away, but now we do have another option. The long written directions make it look more involved that it is. Making the dough was surprisingly easy. I had the most trouble getting the unbaked pizza into the oven. I'll figure out how a better way to do it with the stone eventually. If I had used a pizza pan, it would have been a breeze.

Give it a try.

PIZZA DOUGH (makes 1 large pizza)
       -adapted from Emeril Lagasse's Pizza Dough,  (his recipe is made without a dough hook)

1 cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 envelope active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Kosher salt (or 1 teaspoon table salt)

In the bowl of a Kitchen Aid mixer, stir together water, yeast and sugar. Let sit about 5 minutes, until mixture is foamy.

Add 1-1/2 cups of the flour, oil and salt into the yeast mixture and using paddle attachment (the regular beater), combine until the mixture is smooth. Switch to dough hook.

With mixer running at LOW, add remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time, making sure each addition is mixed in before adding the next. Once all the flour (might not need quite all of it) is added, turn up the mixer speed and let the machine knead the dough for about 3 minutes. It should be very smooth and maybe a little "tacky."

Oil a large bowl with olive oil. Remove dough from mixer and form into a ball. Place into oiled bowl and turn dough, making sure all sides are oiled. Cover bowl with damp towel (or plastic wrap) and place in a warm area. Let dough rise until doubled is size, about 60-90 minutes.

When dough is ready, punch down and knead it a few times while still in the bowl. Lightly flour your work surface and place dough on it. Let rest 10 minutes.

Shape into 14-inch round in a pizza pan and add your favorite toppings. (If dough wants to shrink back up as you work with it, let it rest a little more.)

Bake at 450 degrees on lowest rack in oven, about 8-10 minutes, until crust looks done. Or, bake directly on a pizza stone, following directions that come with the stone. Keep a close eye on it until you learn how it works in your oven.

PIZZA HUT PIZZA SAUCE (copycat recipe)

1 15-oz can tomato sauce
1/4 cup water
1 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp oregano
14 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 bay leaf (remove leaf when done)
1/2 tsp lemon juice

Combine ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat on medium until sauce starts to boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 30-45 minutes, until it reaches desired thickness.

Makes sauce for 2 pizzas

Notes for next time:
     1.  Put cornmeal on pizza peel to see if the dough slides off easier.
     2.  Don't wear a black sweater when making dough.

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