Thursday, April 16, 2009

Homemade Pizza

Pizza is one of those universal dishes that everyone loves. And it brings up good memories too. From reward "pizza parties" in elementary school to college, eating pizza in dorm rooms.

My husband was a youth pastor at a church when we were dating and first married. Once we even made homemade pizzas for a fundraiser. We made prebaked crusts, cooled them, added sauce and did simple toppings. We had earlier gathered pizza orders for the kinds we were making. We then packaged them up in plastic wrap and pizza boxes and had people pick them up on a certain day.

I don't remember if we made much money or even if the pizzas were popular, but I do remember the memories. And at the request of a former youth (who now is married and has a family of her own!), I am posting the recipe for the pizza crust that I use. I include ideas for toppings at the end.

Homemade Pizza (This appears in the "More-With-Less Cookbook" as Cheese Pizza, page 142. I have some variations on the ingredients though.)

Combine in a large bowl:
1 cup warm water
1 package yeast (scant Tablespoon of bulk yeast)

When dissolved, add:
2 teaspoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 Tablespoons olive or grapeseed oil
1 1/4 cup whole grain wheat or spelt flour

Mix well, until smooth. Add:
2 cups additional whole grain flour, or enough to make a stiff dough
(may use part unbleached flour to make a lighter crust...100% whole grain dough is great and fine, but many people will want to ease into this and start out slowly...using some unbleached flour is a good first step)

Knead until elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in oiled bowl and let rise until double, about 30-45 minutes (depending on room temperature and humidity). Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

Form 2 balls for a thin crust, or use the full recipe for a thicker crust. You do not need a round pan. I often make pizza with my jelly roll/cookie sheets. Pat out or use a straight, tall drinking glass (or a special pastry short rolling pin) for rolling out directly on a oiled pan. Take a fork and prick dough (not edges) Let rise 10 minutes.

I sometimes bake the crust by itself for about 5 minutes at this point. If I'm making it a thin crust there's no need. Just make sure that you aren't putting too many toppings on. Otherwise it won't bake well all the way through.

Topping Ideas (best to only have 2-4 toppings for each pizza if thin pizza...if you have a thicker, prebaked crust, turn down the heat to 400 degrees and don't overload the pizza)

Tip: don't have overly wet ingredients or the crust won't bake properly

Sauce: Any homemade or prepared sauce you prefer...doesn't need to be a tomato sauce either

Veggies:
garlic
onion (red is nice)
bell peppers
mushrooms (not just white button)
hot peppers
fresh or sun dried tomatoes
spinach, fresh or frozen (thawed and squeezed dry)

Other:
black (ripe) olives
pineapple (yes!)
anything you might like to try on a pizza...be creative!

Once assembled, put a sprinkling of oregano on top and put into the hot oven. Depending on thickness, bake for about 20-25 minutes or until done. Enjoy!

1 comment:

Loretta said...

Lately I have been adding whole fennel seed after I put on the pizza sauce. It adds a great flavor reminiscent of sausage, without the meat!