Friday, August 2, 2013

The Basics: Pizza Crust

          Yum! Homemade pizza! This post focuses on the crust but gives a quickie on making it into a full-blown pizza. The recipe below calls for sliced mozzarella to be placed directly on the crust, chicago-style. The mozzarella cheese keeps the crust from getting soggy and gives it a nice cheesy chew, but you can simply omit the mozzarella on the bottom and build it how you like, no problem!
       
Note: The dough in this recipe is enough for two 12" pizzas. If you have extra dough and aren't going to use it right away wrap it in plastic wrap and aluminum foil and put it in the freezer. When you're ready to use it simply place it in the refrigerator until it's defrosted and then use the dough as directed beginning with step 2 below.



 Pizza Crust

Ingredients:
4 cups All-Purpose Flour
3 Tbsp. Cornmeal (sifted if you have course ground)
2 tsp. Salt
1 pkt. Instant Yeast (equals 2 3/4 tsp.)
1 cup + 2 Tbsp. Warm Water
4 Tbsp. Butter, melted
2 Tbsp. Canola Oil
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil (plus 1 Tbsp. for the pan)
Mozzarella Cheese Block, thinly sliced

Directions:
1. Using your hands mix all of the dough ingredients (1-8) in a medium bowl. Knead the dough to make it smooth. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover it with a towel, & let it rise for about an hour so it can puff up in size.
2. Preheat your oven to 425°F. Pour the extra 1 Tbsp. of olive oil onto your pizza pan & use a paper towel to spread it all around the bottom & sides.  Remove your puffed up dough from its bowl & pat/roll/stretch it into a pan-size circle. Lay the dough on the oiled pan & stretch & pat it to the shape of the pan (you can make it flat or build up the sides if your like). Cover the dough in the pan with a towel & let it rest for about 15 mins.
3. Poke the dough bottom with a fork & slide it into the oven to bake for about 8 mins, or until the crust is stiff & just beginning to brown. Remove it from the oven & layer the bottom of the crust with the sliced mozzarella. Now your pizza crust is ready for your toppings!

To Continue to Full-on Pizza (Chicago-style): Add your desired toppings on top of the sliced mozzarella & then spoon on the sauce & then sprinkle on the shredded cheese. The sauce in this case is best when it's petite diced tomatoes (drained & seasoned with abt. 2 tsp. Italian seasoning) or thinly sliced fresh roma tomatoes. Once you've got the pizza decorated the way you like put that bad boy in the oven for about 20 mins. or until the top is bubbling a little bit & the shredded cheese has little brown spots on it.

Tip: Make a pizza-sized ring of aluminum foil to put around the edges of the pizza if the crust is getting too brown during baking.



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