Homemade Pizza and Green Salad
I get my pizza dough recipe from the AMAZING "A Year in Bread Blog". http://ayearinbread.earthandhearth.com/2007/03/kevin-pizza-dough.html
Three fabulous bakers decided to post a new bread recipe every day for a year. They all three submitted pizza dough recipes but I like Kevin's best. Here it is with notes on prep by me. If you click on this posts title "What we had for dinner" it will take you directly to their wonderful blog. Go for the bread, stay for the awesome writing.
Adapted from a recipe by Mitch Mandell of Fabulous Foods.
bread flour 3 1/2 c | 0.8 l | 18 oz | 500 g
warm water (between 95 and 115 F/35 and 46C) 1 c | 240 ml | 8.5 oz | 240 g
instant yeast 2 1/4 tsp (1 US pkg) | 11 ml | 1/4 oz | 8 g
honey 2 tbsp | 30 ml | 1 1/4 oz | 36 g
olive oil 1/4 c | 60 ml | 1 1/2 oz | 48 g
salt 1/2 tsp | 8 ml | 1/8 oz | 4 g
Combine the honey, warm water, and oil, stirring to mix. The water should be about 95 to 115° F. It should feel very warm, but not uncomfortably hot. (I use hot tap water. Also measure the oil in the 1/4 C measure, then measure the honey up to the middle or 1/8 C measure in the same cup. The oil keeps the honey from sticking to the measuring cup.)
Put the 3 cups of flour and yeast in the bowl and, using the paddle attachment, mix on low for about 20 seconds. Add the salt and mix on low for another 20 seconds. Note: salt is poisonous to yeast, so you want the yeast well-distributed before adding the salt. (I do all of this stuff by hand, I mix the flour and yeast with a whisk. And then I whisk in the salt.)
With the motor running on low, pour in the liquids. Continue mixing until a shaggy dough begins to form. Clean off paddle and switch to dough hook. Continue mixing on low until the dough comes together. (I stir with a wooden spoon.)
Increase speed to medium and knead for eight minutes. The dough should completely clear the sides and bottom within 2 minutes if it is too sticky, add additional flour 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing in thoroughly before determining if more flour is needed. If the dough seems too dry, spritz with water from a spray bottle a couple of times, mixing in thoroughly before determining if more water is needed. continue kneading for 6 minutes. You'll find the dough wraps itself around the hook, so every 2 minutes, stop the machine, scrape the dough off the hook, and then continue kneading. (I stir until it the dough comes away from the bowl, then I add a little flour on top of the dough and to my hands and I knead it.)
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead it a few more times by hand to be sure it's tight and elastic. Form the dough into a tight ball.
Wash and dry your mixing bowl then mist it with oil. Place the dough, seam-side down, in the bowl and lightly mist top of dough with baking spray. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and allow to rise (ferment) in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in size — 45 minutes to an hour. (I do not wash and dry the mixing bowl, I just put some oil in it and roll the dough around in the oil.)
Punch the dough down and transfer to a lightly floured board. Knead for about half a minute, then reshape into a ball. Respray bowl lightly, return dough to bowl, spray, recover, and allow to rise again until doubled in bulk — an hour to an hour and a half.
Heat the oven to 450F (230C).
Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and divide into two equal portions. Set 1 aside and cover with plastic wrap to keep it from drying out. Shape the other portion into a round by hand.
Place the rolling pin in the center of the round and push outward. Rotate the dough 1/4 turn and repeat. Continue until dough is about 12 inches across. Alternatively, you can stretch the dough by hand, which I do. The dough is quite elastic and will want to shrink, so don't rush it. Pause every now and then while shaping (whether by hand or with a rolling pen) to allow the dough to relax. (Yeah, my dough doesn't get to rest much. I'm brutal.)
Coat with sauce, cheese, and toppings. Then, ideally, let the pizzas stand, covered with plastic wrap, for about 30 minutes before baking. This delay highlights the bready character of the dough. Before baking, use a knife to poke holes in any noticable bubbles. (I have never let it rest that long, the crust is delicious nevertheless)
I bake one pizza and wrap the other dough very tightly with plastic wrap and then in a plastic bag, and then freeze it for later. When defrosting, simply lay on a counter for an hour or so till dough is room temperature and ready to be rolled out.
My kids (even the 19 month old) like torn romaine lettuce topped with Ranch dressing. They will pretty much eat anything topped with Ranch dressing. They might even eat rocks as long as it had Ranch dressing on it. I also peeled two apples for them to eat.
Pretty simple diner, the kids played outside with DH as I topped the pizza dough. I called them inside when the pizza was ready. The whole house smelled amazing!