Monday, July 24, 2006


Crystal's from-scratch pizza

All the secrets are revealed here.

2-1/2 to 3 C bread flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. sugar
1 pkg. quick-rise yeast
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 C warm water

1 8 -to 12 -oz can tomato puree
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper
1 clove garlic, minced

1 8-oz. package shredded mozzarella cheese
Other toppings

Note: these instructions are given for someone making the dough with a Kitchen Aid mixer. If you don't have a big mixer, you'll have to knead the dough yourself. I can do that too, so if you have questions about how to do it, let me know. Stephie, I expect to hear feedback from you, since you now have that beautiful cobalt-blue Kitchen Aid mixer.

Crust: Combine in mixer bowl all dry ingredients. Stir with a spatula so that they're somewhat mixed together. Add oil. Add water. Turn on mixer on with dough hook attachment. Knead dough for about 5 minutes or until the dough forms a big, sticky blob. Add the remaining 1/2 C flour and knead about 3 minutes or until the dough is a smooth ball. Remove dough from bowl; wash bowl and coat with a small amount of butter or oil. Place dough in bowl and flip it around until coated with oil. Place plastic wrap over bowl. Allow to rise in a warm, still environment. (I stick it in my car with the windows rolled up during the summer; otherwise I put it in the microwave without turning it on.) You will know the dough has risen when it looks bigger and, when you poke it, your finger leaves an indentation. If you poke it and it bounces back, allow it to rise some more.

The dough's the hard part. Now that it's risen, remove it from the bowl and place on countertop. Squish it with your hands until it forms a flat disc. You can either roll the dough with a rolling pin or try to spin it in the air (takes practice). Once the dough is in the pizza pan (I use a cookie sheet or a 16" round pan), stab it with your fingertips all over to pop any bubbles that may form.

Spread sauce evenly over the pizza crust. Sprinkle cheese on top.. remember, as cheese cooks it moves toward the middle of the pizza, so make sure you put enough cheese at the edges. Sprinkle toppings over cheese.

Bake at 425 with the oven rack in the lowest position possible. It will take 10-15 minutes for the pizza to cook. Remove from oven, allow to cool for 2 minutes, then slice.

normally I don't make my own crust, I cheat and buy the frozen dough balls. but since you have challenged me I may have to start ;)
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