Friday, November 7, 2008

Pizza for Porter

Yesterday was my son's birthday. So for his birthday, I made pizza to take to his class for lunch (don't have a heart attack, he only has 8 kids in his class). But first I must tell the story of the pizza. So I have tried pizza before many times. Each time the pizza came out just ok. To me it was sub par and I was better off calling the pizza guy, and the only reason I ever did it was to do something fun with the kids. I had searched recipes and tried different varieties and techniques, but nothing was impressing me. Then I saw the light . . . .

I was down in Popeville (the neighborhood where all my siblings live) and my brother's family was making their usual weekend pizza. I decided to go see how my sister-in-law does her pizza. I tasted it . . . . best stinking pizza in the valley. Seriously.
Being the lover of all things created in the kitchen, I had to know exactly how it is done, and this is how . . .
First, you must know there are things you have to purchase, and its the only way. You have to get a thick baking stone (the pampered chef ones are just ok . . ), and you have to get high gluten flour (not just bread flour). I bought mine online here.

My sister-in-law told me you could get the flour at lehi roller mills, but I ordered my flour online here.

The flour needs to have at least 14 percent protein content.
You can also get pizza screens here. But the second time I did pizza I just used a wood peel which you can also get at the same site.

I am not saying this is going to be easy folks, but you will make the best pizza you have ever had and it is going to cheaper than going to Brick oven.
The dough (this is a doubled recipe 4 12 inch pizzas)
1 c warm water
1 t yeast
2 t sugar
1 1/2 c cold water
2 t olive oil
2 1/2 t salt
6 to 7 c high gluten flour
( in a stand mixer) dissolve yeast and sugar in the warm water. Mix salt in 2 c of the flour. Add proofed yeast mixture, cold water and oil and mix (should be like pancake batter). Switch to dough hook and start adding more flour. Add enough flour till you have a stiff dough. Knead for about 5 min, till dough is elastic. When you roll in into a ball and pinch the middle between your fingers, it should only relax a little when you let go, if it goes right back to form, keep kneading. Now here is where you must have patience. Cut the dough into two pieces, roll them into a ball and put them into pam sprayed ziplock and put them into the fridge for TWO DAYS MINIMUM! They have to raise in the fridge for two days! The dough should get to about double is size.

So you have waited, your pizza day has come. Hopefully you have already gone to costco and got their perfect pizza cheese blend, is mozz, provolone, and cheddar. Sauce time:

1 large can crushed tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
3 t salt
2 t sugar
1-2 t pepper (your preference on spice)
1/4-1/2 t cayenne pepper
2 garlic cloves minced
2 t basil leaves
1/2 -1 t oregano

Mix that all together in a sauce pan and heat to mix all the flavors together, what you don't use you can save for next week.
Your pizza stone should be on the bottom rack of the oven. Turn you oven to its highest setting, mine is 500. You need to heat the oven for a least 30, so the stone is nice and hot.

Time to shape the pizzas, best to use you hands. Hard to describe really, but know that it isn't easy, and you pizzas probably won't be too pretty. If you use the pizza screens, they are helpful in stretching out the dough. My sister-in-law only uses the individual screens because the dough is difficult to stretch. The warmer the dough, the easier it is to shape, so pull the dough out of the fridge about an hour before shaping.

add sauce
add cheese
add toppings

If you are using a screen, set right on the stone and after about 7 minutes remove the screen and let the pizza sit on the stone. If you shaped you pizza on the pizza peel, (make sure you use corn meal) then shake the pizza right onto the stone. They take about 10-12 minutes to cook. Check them to see when the crust is browned.

It is good, I don't know if I will ever buy a pizza again. My sister makes dough every week and always has dough in her fridge ready to go for when her family craves pizza. I know this post was way to long, any questions, just post them on the comment board and I will answer them.


Anonymous said...

I feel honored to be showcased! Wow! I thought having my hand in the lettuce wraps picture was cool but I feel like I've really made it now.

K. Dusenberry said...

This is a dumb question, oh and way past your blog, but do you turn the oven back down to a certain temp to cook the pizza after the stone has heated up? Or do you keep it at 500 deg.?