Easy Eats: Homemade Pizza

15 Mar

I’ve promised to share this recipe with a number of people and keep forgetting to post it!

We’re pretty big fans of pizza – thick, thin, delivery, frozen, Chicago, New York – but we draw the line at St. Louis style pizza. I’m sorry. Provel Cheese and I will just never see eye to eye. Mainly on account of it not being cheese.

St. Louisians every where are gathering to hunt me down at this very moment, I’m sure. But call it what you will, it is not cheese. Just ask the FDA. It’s a product, not a cheese. Like Velveeta. Except I like Velveeta.

My opinion aside, most folks in these parts worship the provel topped, cracker thin crust that makes a St. Louis-style pizza. That means we have two options when we want pizza: make it ourselves or go with a chain.

Nothing wrong with pizza delivery chains either. I’m certain a small group of people I know doubled the business of Dominoes when we were in college. We also doubled our waistlines but that’s another blog.

In the past year – thank Jesus! – we’ve found another source of excellent, made-with-real-cheeses pizza right here in Edwardsville. If you’re in the area and haven’t been to Peel – you need to go as soon as possible. It’s small, warm (probably because of the wood burning oven), offers a fabulous beer list and very, very good pizza. With real cheese and fabulous toppings.

Anywho…I get sick of delivery pizza and I can’t afford to go to Peel every time I’m craving a decent slice therefore, I must make my own pizza.

I’d tried no fewer than a dozen varieties of pizza crust. Some made from scratch, some using packets or boxes or tubes of pizza dough mix. All failed. One failed so bad I declared myself done wasting my time.

Then a good friend slipped this recipe in with the stack being collected at my bridal shower. It is perfect and you should make it tomorrow.

Tomorrow because by the time you read this, realize you need to stop at the store, get around to kneeding your dough and letting it rise, you’ll be eating pizza at 10 p.m. So plan ahead, stop at the store tonight, kneed and rise tomorrow.

I’m a purist, so I stick with the basic listed toppings. I suppose you could put regular pizza sauce and/or toppings on this crust, but I haven’t tried it yet. If you do, I’d recommend letting it bake just a bit before adding any toppings.

Happy pizza making. And if you’re ever in the St. Louis area, try a pizza with provel cheese. Then let me know if you love it or feel compelled to wipe off the roof of your mouth with your paper napkin. Who knows, could just be me.

Without further ado:

Fresh Mozzarella & Tomato Pizza

1 packet (or 2 1/4 tsp) dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
3/4 cup flour plus extra 1/2 cup flour
1 t. olive oil
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. supgar
sliced tomatoes (I prefer to use Romas)
8 oz fresh mozzerella (fresh – as in that ball of cheese in plastic)

To make the crust, disolve the yeast in the warm water. Stir in 3/4 cup four, oil olive, salt and sugar until combine. Add additional 1/2 cup flour, possibly a bit more, to make the dough doughy and easy to handle. Knead the dough on a floured surface for 10 minutes or until smooth and springy.

Place the dough in a greased bowl and turn to coat. Cover the bowl and allow dough to rise for 20 minutes in a warm place. Move covered bowl to refrigerator for 2-48 hours. If dough doubles or grows to insane sizes, just use your fist to deflate.

Now heat your oven to 425 and move the rack to the lowest position. Grease your pizza pan with olive oil (using a standard round pizza pan). Press the dough out from the sent of the pan to the edges…you might have to work at it a bit but keep going and you’ll get it even and stretched to the edges.

Now slice up that fresh mozzerella – it can be tricky since its spongey-ish but don’t worry too much about getting them perfect of even. Just get them thin enough to cover all the crust in a layer of cheese slices. Now slice up your tomatoes and layer them on, using as many as you like. I cram and entire layer of tomatoes on mine.

Now season with salt, pepper, 2 T basil and 1 T oregano and a pinch or 2 of garlic powder. Drizzle the whole thing with 1-2 T olive oil. Truth be told I don’t measure that part I just use my oil jar thingying and drizzle it up nice – aiming to get the oil onto the tomatoes and making sure each tomoates gets some.

Now bake it up for 16-20 minutes until bottom of crust is golden and cheese is melty! Be warned that depending on the tomoates you may need to remove some excess juice from the top of the pizza as it cooks. This normally only happens when I use excessive amounts of tomatoes. Just try to spoon some off right quick and it will be fine.

Happy eating!


3 Responses to “Easy Eats: Homemade Pizza”

  1. Brandi March 15, 2011 at 7:39 pm #

    I LOVE this recipe!!! I haven’t made it in sooo long. You just made me very hungry!! 🙂

    • maggieandzac March 15, 2011 at 7:54 pm #

      I consider it one of the best gifts I’ve ever been given!! We make it all the time!

  2. Kate March 15, 2011 at 9:53 pm #

    And it only took me 28 months to get it from you. But even though I nagged for 28 months and you sent it to me back in November…I still haven’t made it! opps!

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