Neapolitan Pizza at Home
Everyone enjoys pizza. It’s America’s favorite takeout food found in every city and every town. I grew up on East coast style. Paper-thin with pepperoni or sausage. However you like your pizza (Chicago deep dish, Detroit Square etc.) one of the best ways to enjoy is to make your own. If you just want to buy a pre-made crust and add you topping the more power to you but I prefer getting down with the dough (make from scratch). Toppings can be, of course, very personal. Pizza dough is a canvas. I have made pizza from all sorts of leftovers (BBQ chicken and even Pot Roast or whatever I find in the fridge, within reason).
In making pizza at home there are several things that can be done to help you create a quality product.
1. I really don’t recommend par-baked pizza crust. All you are doing is making bread with sauce and cheese.
2. There are dough ball available in some supermarkets. The quality varies but at least you get to work the dough.
3. Stop by your local pizza shop and ask to buy a ball of dough. Not a bad way to go.
4. Make your own from scratch. It’s not as hard as you think.
3 cups bread Flour
1 package instant yeast
1 tsp sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup warm water
The best tool you can get for making pizza is a pizza stone. It distributes the heat in your oven evenly and absorbs the moisture from your crust leaving it crisp. A variety of store carries them.
1. Put yeast and sugar in a cup. Add 1/2 cup of water. Mix well. Wait for the yeast and sugar to activate (it will bubble).
2. In a large mixing bowl, add the olive oil, flour, salt, 1/2 cup of warm water. Add the yeast/water/sugar mix (step 1) and stir until mixed (a stand mixer with a dough hook can help with this but it can also be done by hand.
3.Sprinkle some flour on a flat surface and turn the dough out onto it. Knead the dough vigorously until the texture is smooth. If dough is still too wet add additional flour to the surface and work into the dough.
4.Place the dough in a bowl and drizzle with olive oil. For best results Cover lightly with plastic. Let the dough rise until doubled in size. Punch down the dough let rise again for 30 minutes.
5. Cut dough in half. Recipe will make two 14-inch pizzas.
6. Sprinkle surface with flour and flatted dough by hand. Use thumb and forefinger to spread dough in a circular manner. Spread to about 14 inches. Do not use a rolling pin or you will squeeze out all the air and your dough will be tough.
You are now ready to top and cook your pizza!
Sprinkle cornmeal on your pizza peel. It will make it easy to slide you pizza onto your stone. If you don’t have one a large cutting board (or sheet pan) will do. Transfer your dough to the peel. Working quickly, add your sauce toppings and cheese. Remember! Too many toppings and cheese and you pizza will become unmanageable. Place in a preheated 500-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes (or until well browned). The cornmeal should make it easy to slide your pizza onto the stone.
What topping is my favorite? Believe it or not a meat eating guy like me like a roasted veggie pizza. My toppings are onion, roasted pepper, artichoke and tomato.
Tell me about yours…. Bon Apetit!