Saturday, January 28, 2012

Best Pizza

 We make pizza almost once a week around here. It's a flexible go-to meal for us. So long as someone takes ten minutes to get the dough started sometime between 2:30 and 4:30 pm, it's a quick and easy meal that we can all pitch in to get made in less than half an hour (plus baking time).

Over the years our toppings have gone through many evolutionary steps. There were the early years when certain kids would not eat anything that wasn't approximately white, so we'd cook one pizza with only cheese, just a molecular layer of marinara sauce, and sometimes a sprinkling of corn kernels. There were the years none of the kids would eat mushrooms, or olives, or peppers ... and so we made one of two pizzas with those things omitted. And then when we had a mix of vegetarians and carnivores, we would have a veggie pizza and one with half meat.

Now with more mature tastes and the demise of our vegetarian ways, anything goes. And this week we adapted one of our favourite panini recipes to the top of one of our pizzas. (The panini omits the marinara sauce and mozzarella cheeses.) The pizza toppings are:

  • caramelized onions with a sprinkling of balsamic vinegar, 
  • chopped dried figs, 
  • spicy beef or pork sausage of some sort, 
  • fresh spinach and 
  • a sparing mix of cow mozzarella and goat chèvre cheeses. 

1-1-1-1-1-Enough Pizza Dough
1 cup lukewarm water
1 Tbsp. sugar
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. instant yeast
enough flour to make a just-barely-no-longer-sticky dough

Mix, adding flour gradually. Stand mixer with dough hook makes it easy. Allow to rise covered in a warm place until doubled. Punch down, roll/throw/stretch out. Makes enough dough for one 16" pizza.


  1. Can this be made with regular yeast?

  2. Oh sure, with regular yeast you'd just need to combine the water & sugar first, add the yeast and let sit for 5 minutes or until properly foamy before combining the rest of the ingredients.

  3. Thank you! One more question: when baking in a regular oven, should it be pre-baked at all? I've had problems with soggy crusts before, and I'd love any tips. :)

  4. Hot oven helps: 450ºF is good. It also helps to bake it on something that allows a bit of air circulation. We have some nice marble-textured metal pans. Pizza stones are the ultimate solution because they allow the crust to cook from the bottom as well as the top.

    Once it's cooked, immediately slide it onto a cutting board, slice, then place on a cooling rack or something that allows a bit of air circulation.

  5. Oh, and we don't pre-bake at all.


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