An evolving collection of recipes and experiments in the kitchen from South Carolina to Denmark and beyond.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Another American favorite. And the possibilities are endless! There are several important factors to making a good pizza. Let's start with the crust.
Basic Pizza Crust
.25 oz/7 g dry active yeast or fresh brewers yeast. May need to use a little more or less depending on the strength of the fresh yeast. 1 cup/2.3 Dl warm water (no more than 110C. Hotter than that kills the yeast) 1 Tbsp. Sugar 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil 2.5-3 cups all purpose flour ( I like to use 2 cups whole wheat flour and the rest white flour)
Mix yeast, water, and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Let rest in a warm area of the kitchen until there is a tannish colored cloud in the water. Add the olive oil. Then add 2 cups of the flour. Mix with a spoon until all of the flour is good and wet. *now the hard part* Then gradually add the rest of the flour a little bit at a time as needed. While you are doing this you should be mixing and kneading the dough with your hands. You want to add enough flour so that the dough doesn't stick to your hands but where you can't see too much extra flour on the outside. (This will take practice to get the dough just right. Keep practicing since this recipe is dirt cheap to make. You will be so happy you kept trying once you do get it right! ) Don't over knead the dough otherwise it will just turn out tough. Once you are done, cover the bowl with a dish towel and let it rest in a warm place for 15-20 min.
Now the really fun part! You can chose what type of crust you want. This recipe makes 1 deep dish (as in the photo), 1 standard, OR 2 thin crusts. For the deep dish, I used a spring form pan. I just rolled it out to a size a bit smaller than would fit in. For the thin crust I divide the dough in 2 and roll each piece out separately. I never bother to try and get the pizza round. They always end up with some funky shape resembling amoebas!
Here you really can get creative. This is a list of some of my favorite toppings and tricks.
-Canned diced tomatoes. Make sure you drain off all of the liquid first otherwise you will end up with a soggy pizza. -Use a variety of different types of cheese. Don't just stick with shredded mozzarella. Try gouda, swiss, cheddar, or no cheese at all! -When using fresh mushrooms be aware that they will add extra moisture and water. Slice them thinly or saute them before adding. -Pizzas are a great way to use leftovers! Slice up grilled sausage, crumble meatloaf, sliced pork chops. -In the beginning I used to make a nice flavorful sauce. It added a lot to the prep time and as it turns out it really didn't make too much of a difference in the taste. Now, I just put drained diced tomatoes or tomato sauce on and sprinkle with a store bought pizza or italian herb mix and a little bit of garlic powder. -If you want to spice things up a bit, try adding crushed red pepper flakes or a little bit of hot sauce to the tomato sauce base. -Try adding spices or using different types of flour for the crust. I really love the taste the whole wheat flour adds. And it makes it more healthy. Try substituting 1/4 cup oatmeal or cornmeal or corn flour, or add 1 tbsp. flax seed, dried basil, or thyme. -I typically roll out my dough on the kitchen counter. Just make sure there is plenty of flour to keep the dough from sticking. Then I put it on a standard over tray on parchment or baking paper. I really recommend using a pizza stone but I have been lazy and haven't invested in one yet. You can also just use a standard pizza plate. You can use some corn meal to help prevent sticking in the pan but as long as you have something that is non stick it really isn't needed.
Moved to Denmark from South Carolina in Feb. 2007. I live in Vest Sjælland with my Danish husband, 2 sons and our 2 dogs. I am a student at Copenhagen University studying for my MSc. in Biology. I consider Denmark to be my home as much the USA. Though I do miss me some good ol'Southern Food!