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L M Ashton
06-18-2008, 06:15 PM
So, I finally found an available not-absolutely-terrible mozzarella cheese that'll do fine for pizza, so guess what we had for dinner tonight? I'll give you three guesses. ;)

I used a sourdough pizza dough (http://www.sourdoughhome.com/pizzacrusts.html) that was pretty good, but, well, have I mentioned before that our oven is broken? It's gas and the, uh, regulator knobby is broken, so on a ten point scale, our oven only goes as high as two. So, you know, no high temperatures for us. But it's what I've got and it's what I've got to use until we get it replaced... So that's part of my excuse for why the dough doesn't rise as much as it should and why it takes longer than it should to bake...

Anyway. That's neither here nor there, except as an excuse to curse.

When you make homemade pizza, what do you do? Do you make your own tomato sauce, and if so, what's your recipe? Do you use pesto-based or other sauces, and if so, what? Recipes, please? :)

I ask because decent pizza here doesn't exist. We've got Pizza Hut and Dominos, but man, that stuff is pure garbage, their best pizza on their best day being far worse than the worst pizza I ever had in Canada or the US. Their version of chicken sausage is a chicken hot dog. Seriously. I'm in pain here, folks. Won't you help me? Please? This is a desperate cry for help...

zenwriter
06-18-2008, 08:44 PM
Here’s what I do:

I make my pizza dough:

Mix 1.5 cups warm water with 1 envelope yeast and 2 tbsp. sugar. Wait 10 minutes, then add 1 tsp fennel seeds (optional), 2 tbsp olive oil, 4-6 cups flour (start with 4 and work your way up if the dough is sticky), and 1 tsp salt. Knead the dough, pop it in a bowl, drizzle generously with olive oil and put in a very low oven to rise. I like very thin crust, so this makes two largish pizzas.

I make a white wine sauce:

Heat about 2 tbsp chopped garlic in about 5 tsp butter and 5 tsp olive oil. Add chopped basil, oregano, and chopped rosemary to taste (fresh or dried). Add a good dose of white wine (about 6 tsp). Stir until you are happy with the consistency. I sometimes add some parmesan in, sometimes not.

If I don’t feel like white wine sauce I make a rub for the pizza instead:

I drizzle plenty of olive oil into a bowl and then add 2 cloves minced garlic and plenty of dried or fresh herbs (rosemary, basil, oregano, parsley, paprika). I add some finely chopped roasted red peppers, mash the whole thing together and let it sit for a while. When the dough is ready, I smear this on like any sauce.

I like just a few ingredients: sun-dried tomatoes, fresh tomatoes, olives, and mushrooms.

If I’m in the mood, I make a pesto chicken pizza:

I add crushed chilies rather than fennel to my dough. Then I make a mixture by sautéing chicken, onion, and garlic. I spread pesto straight on the dough, then add the mixture on top. I cover the whole thing with sliced mushrooms and then mozza.

If your oven is on the fritz, all the above are good made on the grill, too.

sassandgroove
06-18-2008, 08:49 PM
Mix 1.5 cups warm water with 1 envelope yeast and 2 tbsp. sugar. Wait 10 minutes, then add 1 tsp fennel seeds (optional), 2 tbsp olive oil, 4-6 cups flour (start with 4 and work your way up if the dough is sticky), and 1 tsp salt. Knead the dough, pop it in a bowl, drizzle generously with olive oil and put in a very low oven to rise. I like very thin crust, so this makes two largish pizzas.
help me out here. I make dough from a box, so I need a little more between "let it rise," and "I make two."

:)

zenwriter
06-18-2008, 09:35 PM
Sorry – I guess it’s second nature to me so I don’t think about it in terms of details. I’ll try to describe a little more. I cover the dough loosely with plastic wrap before it goes in the oven. So once the dough is in a low oven (I just turn the oven on – I think the pros call it an “ambient oven”?), I just keep the oven door closed and look to see when the dough has risen. I usually wait until the dough has doubled in bulk. At that point, I consider it fair game. I know some people let their pizza dough rise twice, but I don’t have patience reserves of that caliber.

Anyway, once the pizza dough has doubled in the oven, I get my two cookie sheets (one the standard square type and one the large round pizza type). I grab a glob of cold butter and smear both pans with it. Then, I take the dough out of the oven, rip the plastic wrap off and plop the mess of dough onto a pan. It is squishy and oily at this stage. I use my clean hands to divide the dough into two – one half for each pan. Then, I use my fingers to press the dough all over the pans into a thin crust (this is quite messy). I basically just smooth it out gently over the pans, I guess. Then, I put on my ingredients and sauces of choice.

I then bake the pizzas at 325 degrees for about 20 minutes. That’s my oven, though. I know some people prefer higher temperatures for their pizza. My boyfriend’s sister cooks her pizza at 425 for 10 minutes and it still turns out good.

Oh, and when I pop the pizza out of the oven, I sometimes add some fresh grated parmesan, fresh ripped up basil leaves and maybe some salt and pepper if I feel like it. Sometimes I just end up diving in.

I hope that helps. I do notice that the dough seems pretty forgiving – I’ve sometimes left it for longer while it rose and sometimes I haven’t let it quite double in bulk because I was in a hurry and it still turned out nicely.

zenwriter
06-18-2008, 09:38 PM
Oh, and you can leave the fennel seeds out of the dough, if you like. I usually like to add them (or chilies) to my pizza dough, but I know some people prefer plain crust.

sassandgroove
06-18-2008, 09:46 PM
how long does it take to rise. Could i do it on a weeknight and still have dinner at a reasonable hour? I get home at 6 and we go to be b/w 9 and 10, to give you a time frame. :)

I just use canned sauce, mozzerella, turkey peperoni and bacon bits. Mmmm....

I've been using Jiffy Mix Pizza Dough mix. I can't get my pizza dough crispy. Do you think making it from scratch first instead of from a mix would help? I even put the dough in the oven for a few minutes before I put the rest of the ingredients. I spray the pan with canned oil spray and sprinkle it with corn meal. Do you think the butter would work better?

zenwriter
06-18-2008, 10:05 PM
In my oven, I would say that the dough takes about 45 minutes to rise. I think that in a low oven it would take no more than an hour, since you will want to take it out before it starts to bake. I place my dough in a bowl that is just large enough for the dough to double, so when I see it starting to peek over the top, I know it is done.

I’m not sure how crispy you want your pizza dough, but I would say that buttering your pan will help. You can also buy a pizza stone or a pizza screen. They can be found at many grocery stores, Wal Mart, those sorts of places, as well as local cooking supply stores (is that what those stores with all the nifty gadgets are called?). They are not very expensive and they will crisp your dough without you having to do much extra work at all. Come to think of it, I saw a pizza screen at a local hardware store for about $10 on sale, so I don’t think they are hard to find. Anyway, the screens look like cookie pans with holes in the them. I’m not sure how they work, but I think it has something to do with encouraging air flow and so letting less moisture in.

Getting your dough thin would also make it easier to crisp, I think. You can also try keeping it in the oven until it is a nice deep brown. Oh, and my boyfriend’s sister likes to run her pizza under the broiler for just a minute after it’s done. Using a higher temperature (425 or so rather than my usual 325) would help, too. The screen or stone is your best bet, though.

I like thin, crispish dough but I make homemade dough for the taste, really.

zenwriter
06-18-2008, 10:33 PM
Oh, and I noticed that there are a lot of recipes for pizza dough on YouTube. You might want to check a few out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qH2YuhID8U&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFk0An-FWOw&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFk0An-FWOw&feature=related

Even if you don’t end up following all (or any) of the recipes, it might be clearer to actually see someone making pizza dough. It really is quite simple – it sounds complicated when you write out every step, but after a while you can make the stuff in your sleep. It’s a matter of trying a few pizzas and then adjusting the recipe to suit your tastes. As you make pizzas, you realize that you want to keep the pizzas in the oven for longer or shorter or you realize that you want some extra oil on top or whatever.

Interestingly, most of the videos suggest making a sponge rather than just letting the yeast proof. I’ve never tried that before. Maybe I’ll give it a whirl next time I make a pizza.

misslissy
06-18-2008, 11:02 PM
My favorite type of pizza is pesto sauce with chicken on top of it. Definitely worth having again and again.

I can't speak towards crust because usually I'm not the one making it (my aunt makes really good homemade pizza and usually that's the only time I have it homemade), but when I was in German, my host mom put corn on the pizza and I thought that was unusual but really excellent to taste.

brianm
06-18-2008, 11:04 PM
I can't get my pizza dough crispy.

If you're going for a thin crust, make sure your oven is cranked up as high as it will go (500F). Buy yourself a pizza stone. The stone distributes the heat evenly to the dough so that you don't get uneven baking.

Additionally, I place a cast iron skillet in the bottom of my oven. When the pizza goes in, I throw a handful of ice cubes into the skillet. The steam they create makes for a crispier crust. (It's the same technique used to form the crust on French bread, except that professional baking ovens have jets that pump in the steam.)

icerose
06-19-2008, 12:59 AM
This is my husband's favorite pizza because he has acid problems it's a white sauce. If you have the capabilities, grill your pizza if your oven isn't working. We also use less garlic than this recipe calls for.

CHICKEN ALFREDO PIZZA

SAUCE
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 dash ground black pepper
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
3/4 cup grated Romano cheese
GARLIC BUTTER
2 tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 pinch dried rosemary
1 pinch salt
DOUGH
1 cup warm water
1 (.25 ounce) package instant yeast
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3 cups all-purpose flour

2 boneless chicken breast halves, roasted
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt


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DIRECTIONS
To Make Sauce: Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Blend in salt, pepper and flour, then stir in the milk and Romano cheese. Simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.

To Make the Garlic Butter: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Blend in the garlic, rosemary, and salt. Cook, stirring constantly, until garlic is tender but not browned. Remove from heat, cover and set aside.

To Make the Dough: Pour the warm water into a small bowl and stir in the yeast until dissolved. Allow to rest until yeast foams, about 5 minutes. Mix the vegetable oil, sugar, salt, rosemary, and garlic powder together in a mixing bowl. Stir in the yeast mixture, and gradually stir in the flour. Gather into a loose ball and knead until a smooth ball forms. Cover, and let rest 1/2 hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Season the roasted chicken with rosemary, thyme, poultry seasoning, garlic powder and salt. Chop or shred and reserve.
To Assemble the Pizza: Spread dough out on prepared pizza stone. Top with cooled garlic butter, covering entire crust. Next spread with Alfredo Sauce (if necessary, warm to spreading consistency), leaving crust edges. Top with chicken, turning to coat with sauce.

Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes, or until bottom crust is lightly browned. Remove from oven and let set for 2 to 3 minutes before cutting.

L M Ashton
06-19-2008, 05:15 PM
Grill, zenwriter? You think I might have a grill? Living in Outer Darkness as I do? :ROFL: Ah, that was fun. :) No, no grill. I'm stuck making pizza in the broken oven or over the stove. I haven't tried over the stove - if I had a heavy enough pan, I might, now that I think about it...

Your idea of a rub sounds pretty good. :D And your pesto chicken sounds great! More than that, the concept of putting the red pepper flakes into the dough is one that I'm sure my husband will love. :D


sassangrove, if you want your crust crispy, you could try rolling it out a bit thinner or prebaking for 5 minutes before adding the toppings and tossing it back in the oven. That's what I did, and it turned out perfectly crispy for me. :)


icerose, your chicken alfredo pizza sounds delightful. :) Not nearly enough garlic by a long shot, but the spice combination... I'll have to give that a try. Thanks! :)

sassandgroove
06-19-2008, 07:24 PM
sassangrove, if you want your crust crispy, you could try rolling it out a bit thinner or prebaking for 5 minutes before adding the toppings and tossing it back in the oven. That's what I did, and it turned out perfectly crispy for me. I do that already. :( I don't know what I am doing wrong. Maybe a different pan. Thanks.

L M Ashton
06-20-2008, 04:58 AM
Huh. I don't know.

I pre-cooked mine and then baked 'em for ten minutes later with the toppings on. I used the whatchamacallit thin metal grilling pan that came with the oven since it was the only thing I had that was remotely close to appropriate, and I'm wondering if it was the type of pan that I used that contributed to it being crispy?

sassandgroove
06-20-2008, 06:36 PM
I have a baking stone in the bottom of my oven. Alton Brown (Good Eats) says it helps retain heat and distribute it more evenly. I've always wondered if that is part of why. By the time I think of removing it to see if it is a factor, the oven is preheated and I don't want to fight with it.

roncouch
10-24-2008, 08:04 PM
Best Pizza Dough
Two and one-half cups flour
One cup luke-warm water
One package dried yeast
One teaspoon salt
Two Tablespoons Olive Oil (or vegetable oil)

Dissolve yeast in water
Stir salt into flour
After yeast is dissolved, add oil to yeast water, and stir
Mix liquid in flour/salt
Stir until liquid is absorbed
Put mixture on floured surface and knead for three to five minutes, forming into ball

Place in oiled bowl, cover - put in warm oven until double in size (about one hour)

Place and form in a 12x17 oiled metal pan

Add pizza sauce, cheese and desired toppings and cook for about 18 minutes in a 385 degree oven

Ensure bottom of crust is golden brown -- better than most pizza places!
__________________

MattW
10-24-2008, 09:09 PM
Made a deep dish pizza in the dutch oven last week. Not bad for my first attempt - the dough was plenty thick, but tasted too bready. More oil may have been needed, or perhaps some other treatment of the dough after kneading?

Topped with browned fennel sausage, tomatoes, sauce and cheese, I hardly noticed.

Ease of making: B
Dough: C-
Toppings: A
Overall: B-

Next time I might buy premade dough from a local pizza joint.

stormie
10-24-2008, 09:11 PM
My dough gets too tacky to work with properly, even on dry days. I'm going to try Ron's recipe. (Okay, Ron, I can then blame you! He-he.)

shawkins
10-24-2008, 10:01 PM
Made a deep dish pizza in the dutch oven last week. Not bad for my first attempt - the dough was plenty thick, but tasted too bready. More oil may have been needed, or perhaps some other treatment of the dough after kneading?

I used to work in a pizza joint. To prep the dough for thick crust, we took regular crust, added six or eight cups (really!) of oil, and let it rise in the walk-in freezer overnight.

MattW
10-24-2008, 10:24 PM
I used to work in a pizza joint. To prep the dough for thick crust, we took regular crust, added six or eight cups (really!) of oil, and let it rise in the walk-in freezer overnight.
6-8 cups per pizza?!?!? I'm hoping that's what you used for a restaurant sized batch of dough...

shawkins
10-25-2008, 12:39 AM
6-8 cups per pizza?!?!? I'm hoping that's what you used for a restaurant sized batch of dough...

Nah, man. That was one pie, no joke. I haven't eaten deep dish since.

MattW
10-25-2008, 12:41 AM
Yikes.

I'll stick with my sub-par recipe.

stormie
10-25-2008, 03:17 AM
Okay. Moral: never eat pizza out. Or at least deep-dish pizza. (It's mind-boggling. 6-8 cups oil, seeping into the dough overnight.)