Sunday, November 4, 2012

Rosemary Pizza Crust

I love pizza. It’s hands down, my favorite thing to eat. While I do think it’s important to try new foods, and experiment with new flavors and ingredients, if I see a pizza on a menu, it’s rare that I have the strength to pick something else. Thin, thick, flat bread, deep dish, I like them all. My change to eat minimal to no meat has changed how I eat pizzas a bit, but I have to admit, I’ve made some really good vegetarian pizzas in the last couple of months.
One of the great things about pizza, is you can make it so many different ways, on Halloween, we needed a quick dinner before the Trick or Treators starting knocking, so I sat out a ball of dough that I had frozen a couple weeks ago, let it thaw while we were at work, and then we had a wonderful pepper and mushroom pizza with a kale pesto topper. If I hadn’t been distracted by the ghosts and goblins that were on their way, I would have taken a picture, but I will re-create it at share at a later date.
For today, I thought it would be helpful to start with just the crust. I’ve been making pizza at home for years. I’m not in love with most of the pizza places here, so I decided to start making my own, first with a packaged crust, then I moved to mixes. I used the Bob’s Red Barn mix for a while, but when the Italian issue of the Food Network Magazine came out a couple years ago, my life changed forever.
I have been a subscriber for years, and while I always cook at least one thing from every issue, my favorite recipes have come from that one, and there are a few dishes that I make quite often years after the issue came out. Since it has been years, I have taken the liberty of adjusting the recipe a bit to make it my own.
What you’ll need:
1 1/3 cup warm water (too hot will kill the yeast, too cold will take forever to rise)
1 TBSP instant yeast (or 1 packet if you have those, I go through a lot, so it’s cheaper to get the jar)

1 TBSP Rosemary
3.5 cups of flour
Olive oil
1/2 tsp salt 

Sprinkle the yeast evenly over the warm water and let it begin to poof. The edges will start to look like this:

If you notice a lot of yeast falling, your water is too hot and you have killed it. Start over now with cooler water! If you yeast doesn't poof, it could either be old, or your water may be too cold and it needs mroe time. Wait a little longer and see if it poofs (noramlly it takes about 10 minutes), if it doesn't, your dough won't rise, try again after your next trip to Kroger.

Combining the 2.5 cups of flour, salt and rosemary. You can use AP, bread or WW flour or a combination of those. I go through phases where I prefer each, right now I've been on a bread flour kick, it makes an extra light crust.

Now, your yeast has poofed, and you have your flour mixture combined. In order to minimze the mess, I use a large bowl to knead in rather than kneading one the table. Make a well in the middle of the bowl, pour in the water and begin to gradually combine with a spatula.

Continue to add more flour until the dough is pliable and no longer sticky. If the dough stops accepting more flour, it's ready. Cover the dough in olive oil and cover the bowl with Saran Wrap and set aside for 90 minutes, or until it doubles in size.

The dough will start to climb up the side of the bowl.

Give it a little punch to let the air out.

Preheat your oven to 500 degrees and assemble your toppings of choice. . .here are my picks for today's pizza.

Take HALF of the dough and lightly pull until it is pizza sized. I typically make one pizza when it's fresh, then wrap the other half in saran wrap and freeze (when you want to use it later, just sit it on the counter in the morning and by dinner time it will be ready.

Once your dough is adequately spread, bake for 7 minutes. It should look like this.

Quickly, add your toppings, sauce, veggies and cheese.

Bake for an additional 7 - 8 minutes.


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