Sunday, October 24, 2010
One Bite & Into the Mystic...Pizza
Over the past several weeks maybe you'll remember me telling you about Food 'n Flix? A blog started by my friend Heather over at Girlichef and co-hosted by me. Since hosting duties are interchangeable, switching every other month, and my month happened to fall in October, I knew exactly which movie I would feature: 'Mystic Pizza', and thus what I would be making.
Ever since last year's visit, Daph has never stopped talking about the pizza I made for him. He says that finding really good pizza in France is next to impossible and since having homemade pizza I've spoiled him for, even the best, pizza he can find in the stores there. Not bragging. Homemade anything is almost always better than pre-made, prepackaged, store-bought anything else.
Pizza just happens to be my favorite food that isn't ice cream. We were both eager upon our return from Ogunquit for the pizza I deprived myself of for months and promised to make Daph for a year. It was well worth the wait. Not bragging.
Maybe a little bit.
Making at home Vs. Ordering Pizza, The Pros:
Pizza is really easy to make. And super fun.
You can tailor it to suit your own taste and diet.
The freshness of ingredients is unmatched.
You home smells A-MA-ZING!
Nothing beats the feeling of pulling your own handmade, delicious, bubbling, oozing with cheesy goodness, vegetables roasted to perfection, Mmmm, so good, everyone will love this: Pizza!
This is an overnight dough. Yes, overnight. And yes, it's worth it. So give yourself at least 18-24 hours before you plan to make your pizza so the dough has time to work its magic in the refrigerator.
Recipe Courtesy and Adapted from Alton Brown.
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt*
1 tablespoon pure olive oil
1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning (Optional)
3/4 cup warm water
2 cups bread flour (for bread machines)
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 teaspoons olive oil
Olive oil, for the pizza crust
Flour, for dusting the pizza peel
Add sugar, olive oil, water, 1 cup of flour, yeast to bowl of stand mixer or large bowl. Use paddle attachment or wooden spoon to incorporate ingredients at low speed. Mix salt (and Italian seasoning, if using) into remaining 1 cup of flour and add to ingredients in bowl. Mix until incorporated. If using mixing bowl, allow dough to form ball at low speed. If using spoon and large bowl, incorporate ingredients as much as you can with spoon then scrape contents of bowl onto clean surface and knead dough with hands for about 7 to 10 minutes, or until dough forms into smooth ball. If using mixer, oil hook attachment with cooking spray, secure hook attachment to mixer and allow to knead for 15 minutes at medium speed.
Pull off small piece of dough and form into thin disc. Holding dough up to light, check for "netting effect." If dough appears to have "netting effect," and does not tear, your dough is ready. If not, continue to knead for 3 to 6 minutes by hand or 5-10 minutes with hook attachment.
Form dough into smooth ball on clean countertop. Lightly oil glass or stainless steel bowl, place dough in bowl and turn to coat. Use plastic wrap to cover bowl and refrigerate for 18 to 24 hours.
This is where Alton directs you to place pizza stone or tile onto the bottom or lowest rack of cold oven and turn oven to its highest setting, generally 500 degrees F. When I did this and proceeded to cook my pizza, I smelled burning within a few minutes. DO NOT let this discourage you. I only tell you that so I can explain I used an inverted cookie sheet to bake my pizza instead of a pizza stone. When doing that, I bake my pizza on the middle rack at 410 degrees F for 30 to 45 minutes. When I returned to my usual method, the pizza baked beautifully.
For thinner crust, divide dough into two equal parts. Flatten each piece, then fold each piece over onto itself, forming into ball. For thicker crust, leave dough whole. I leave it whole, as I use a lot of toppings.
Use very little water to dampen hands and rub them over countertop. With the heel of your hands, roll dough until it tightens. Cover with clean dish towel for 30 minutes. Repeat with second half of dough.
I skip the aforementioned step altogether. I simply remove bowl with dough from refrigerator and allow to rest on counter while I prepare my ingredients and preheat the oven, about 30 to 45 minutes.
Either way, from here you will either use dough immediately or spray inside of of zip shut bag with cooking spray and store dough refrigerated in bag for up to 6 days.
Use hands or rolling pin to stretch dough over pizza peel or inverted cookie sheet, shake stretched pizza dough on peel to ensure it moves and slide it onto stone or tile (if not using cookie sheet). Top and bake immediately for more crisp crust or allow to rest for 30 minutes then top for chewier crust.
11 logs string cheese (I use Frigo for this), cut into pieces in necessary
Sauce, Homemade or in Jar
Handful fresh basil leaves
A block and a Half of Mozzarella, Shredded ( I ONLY use whole milk Sorrento block mozzarella)
1/2 Green, Red and Yellow Bell Peppers, sliced
1/2 Large or Whole Small Yellow or Red Onion, sliced
7-8 Ounces of a 10 ounce package whole white mushrooms, sliced
Salt-free Garlic and Herb seasoning (I've tried it and Italian seasoning in not nearly as good for topping)
Leave enough dough to wrap around logs of string cheese. Place logs around outer rim of dough, cutting into pieces to fit if necessary.
Fold excess dough over logs, covering completely. Pinch dough to bottom crust to seal.
Layer dough (inside covered logs) with sauce and torn pieces of fresh basil.
Cover with cheese. I added diced pieces of sun-dried tomatoes. Sprinkle cheese with salt-free garlic and herb seasoning.
Layer with sliced fresh vegetables.
I also added sliced ball of fresh mozzarella. Sprinkle again with salt-free garlic and herb seasoning.
After about 40 minutes in the oven, the pizza is ready!
This calls for a celebration...