Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Pizza alla Roma

I love to make pizza. I eat pizza probably over four times a week. So, it is essential that I'm able to make some delicious pizza at home on the cheap. Once you master the crust the toppings are truly endless. I usually go for meat free offerings, but the sky is the limit when creating your own.

The success of homemade pizzas, I believe, lays with the instrument you bake the crust on. I prefer to preheat the oven with a stone inside.

Pizza Crust, courtsey Dave Lieberman

This dough recipe works great for thick crust pizzas and calzones.

1 package active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water, about 110 degrees F
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
1 teaspoon salt

In a small mixing bowl, whisk together yeast, warm water, sugar and olive oil. Let sit for about 3 minutes to fully dissolve and activate the yeast.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour and salt.

With a rubber spatula, gradually mix the yeast mixture into the flour until just combined and dough barely holds together. Turn the dough out onto a clean counter surface dusted with flour.

Knead the dough with flour-dusted hands until the dough has become smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. The surface should be tight and silky and bounce back slightly when pressed. Lightly grease a large mixing bowl with olive oil and place the dough in it.
Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hours.

Once doubled, punch the dough down and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Knead each 1 slightly to form a uniform ball. Set aside and cover them with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap to rest for 30 minutes.

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