Category: - The Baker and The Chef
 
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Who doesn't love a nice hot fresh pizza?  I remember when I was a kid and my mom was pregnant with my younger sister, she craved pizza constantly.  I honestly think we ordered from River Pizza at least two times a week, if not three.  It was a small neighborhood place with real Italian food, and their pizza was to die for.  You would think after nine months of non-stop pizza eating we would all hate pizza, but I still think about that place.

I didn't know how good the pizza was until I moved away and ordered what turned out to be the first of many years of bad pizza.  Every pizza I've had since then gets compared to that pizza and none measure up.  Periodically I get the urge to make my own pizza thinking that I would somehow match the taste of their pizza, but they never turn out as good.  It's not difficult to make pizza, but it is time consuming and who wants to spend a good chunk of their day making what they know will be so-so pizza when you could just pick up the phone and order one?

Until now.  I finally found the right combination of ingredients.  Actually, I was motivated by the economy.  Dropping $35 on a couple of pizzas just didn't seem smart.  I'll admit, I've become the queen of the bargain hunt.  I don't think it should matter how much money you have, if you can pay less for something why wouldn't you?  So I got re-motivated to make good homemade pizzas.

We started out making our own pizza using dough that The Chef would bring home from the restaurant.  I can admit that's kind of cheating.  The taste of the crust is so important and I just didn't want to waste a good pizza craving on a boring crust.  Finally fate intervened.  I wanted to make barbecue chicken pizza and The Chef was at work and wouldn't be home until late.  I started researching through my books and on the internet and through my cabinets to see what I ingredients I had available and I came up with this dough recipe.  It's fantastic!  I couldn't believe it.  After all the bad pizza dough I've made over the years, this dough was great!

It was so good, in fact, that when The Chef came home that night and warmed some up for himself he said, "You know, we're considering changing our pizza dough recipe at the restaurant.  This is really good, could you give me the recipe so I can test it out?"

I'm really picky when it comes to pizza sauce.  I'll be honest, I'm not much of a fan, and when you look at the pictures you'll see I don't put much on.  I always order my pizza with easy sauce, which drives the rest of my family crazy, but too much sauce makes me gag.  To me, the sauce was never the highlight of the pizza but I decided to make some that even I would like.  I decided to roast some garlic and add it to the sauce and it was delicious!

So the next time you crave pizza skip the phone and try this out.  It's so good you'll be glad you kept your $35!

PIZZA DOUGH
yield 2 - 16" thin crust pizzas
  • 1/2 oz Active Dry Yeast
  • 2 C Water, warm (110 ° F)
  • 4 C Bread Flour
  • 2 C AP Flour
  • 1/4 C Olive Oil
  • 2 t Sea Salt
  • 1 T + 1 t Sugar (separated)
  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water; whisk together to activate yeast; let stand until frothy (about 10 mins)
  2. In large mixing bowl combine bread flour, olive oil, sea salt and sugar; add yeast mixture; stir well to combine
  3. Using a dough hook, knead dough; as the dough kneads begin adding AP Flour (about 1/2 C at a time) until the dough is no longer liquid and is smooth and stretchy; you may not need all of the AP Flour, and sometimes you may need more than the 2 C called for, you have to use your judgment to know how much to use
  4. Cover bowl and let dough rise until doubled
  5. After rising, punch down dough; divide into boules, cover with plastic and allow to rest on bench
  6. On a floured board punch down boules and shape into pizzas; top with ingredients
  7. Bake at 500 for 16 mins
ROASTED GARLIC PIZZA SAUCE
yield approximately 2 1/2 Cups
  • 16 oz Tomato Sauce
  • 6 oz Tomato Paste
  • 4 oz Water
  • 1 t Italian Herbs
  • 1/4 t Cayenne Pepper
  • 1/2 t Sugar, granulated
  • 1/2 t Onion powder
  • 1/2 t Salt
  • 1/2 t Black Pepper, ground
  • 3 cloves Garlic, roasted
  1. pour tomato sauce, tomato paste and water into saucepan; whisk together
  2. add Italian herbs, cayenne pepper, sugar, salt and pepper; whisk together
  3. squeeze the bulbs of roasted garlic into sauce and whisk together
  4. place over a low flame and just let it warm to allow flavors to marry, for as long as you like
Hints:
All of the flavorings can be increased or reduced according to your tastes.  If you don't have time to heat the sauce it can be used right after mixing, it just won't develop as much flavor.

-The Baker