Happy New Year, Dirt readers! 2020 is in the rearview and we are making our way (knock knock) to the tail end of this historic global event. With yeast and flour back on the shelves, I thought to offer some of the tips and tricks I’ve picked up along the way to turn your kitchen into a pizza parlor.
This recipe yields three five-inch pizzas.
For the dough2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all purpose flour½ - 1 teaspoon of salt (depending on taste)1 package active dry yeast¾ cup warm water plus 2 tablespoons3 tablespoons olive oilCornmeal for dusting
For the topping(I’m making roasted veggie pizza, but your options are wide open)4 tablespoons olive oil for brushing3 tablespoons minced garlic¾ cup chopped broccoli1½ cups mozzarella1½ cups cheddar cheese20 small asparagus stems2 medium tomatoes, sliced1 teaspoon garlic powder1 teaspoon Italian seasoningSalt and pepper to taste
MethodPlace flour in a large bowl and add salt to one side and yeast to the other. Place water in the microwave for about 40 seconds until it is room temperature. Add oil to the water and then pour into flour mixture. Combine with a wooden spoon until the dough comes together, it’s ok if it’s a bit wet. Knead the dough with your hand, pressing the base of your palm into the dough while pushing easily away from you, then fold back toward you and repeat for about five to six minutes. Form dough into a ball and place back in mixing bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and leave undisturbed in a warm corner to rise while you prep your toppings.
About half an hour into rise time, begin preheating your oven to the highest setting it allows, 500 to 550 degrees if possible. (Parents note, this is a very hot situation, please keep children and pets out of your work area.)
Have all the topping ingredients prepped because you will need to work quickly. Here is how to mimic a hot pizza oven at home: heat a cast iron or oven-proof pan on the stovetop for about five minutes. Take about 1/3 of your pizza dough out of the bowl and form a ball in your hands (you may need to flour liberally to work the dough if it is too wet). Work into a flat disk in your hands and stretch slightly to form a flat circle the size of the inside of the pan. Sprinkle a small amount of cornmeal in the pan and then carefully lay the dough flat on top.
After 45 seconds to two minutes, heat will cause small air pockets to start bubbling up from the center of the dough. Now you can start your assembly. Brush with olive oil, sprinkle garlic, then broccoli, season with salt and pepper. Spread cheese liberally over broccoli and top with asparagus, tomatoes, garlic powder and Italian seasoning. Pop the pan into the preheated oven. Cook until the crust is a golden color and the cheese browns nicely (about 10-12 minutes, though timing varies depending on your oven). PS - if your crust isn’t as tender as you’d like, you can brush with a little water before popping in the oven.
Repeat with the rest of the dough.