Rustic Pizza at Home

The Northwest has been hit by wave after wave of snow and ice. Ok, when I lived in the middle of the country, I wouldn't have even blinked at this stuff. Ok, now that I've got the vehicle properly outfitted for the winter, I'm not too concerned about it now. Unfortunately, there tend to be a lot of other people who don't get their vehicle outfitted and aren't concerned about the weather. They're the ones that you sit around and watch on TV as they clog up the freeway and prevent the snow plows from doing their job.

So what does snow and ice have to do with pizza? Delivery or the lack thereof. I sometimes make pizza at home. I use an old pizza stone that's in two pieces. (Never put anything frozen on the pizza stone that has heated in the oven...cracking will ensue!) Sometimes I use a dough with yeast. Sometimes I just use flour, salt and water. The yeast dough is a soft dough. The flour, salt, water dough produces a dough that is crisper; more like a cracker.

Here's the recipe that I use when I think about pizza early in the afternoon and have time for the dough to rise.

Pizza Dough

1 cup warm water (105-115°F)
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 package (¼ oz.) active dry yeast (one package of yeast = 2¼ teaspoon of yeast)

Combine the water sugar and yeast. Proof until foamy, about 5 minutes.

2¼ cups all purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1 Tablespoon Kosher salt

Mix flours and salt. If you have a stand mixer with a dough hook, use it.

2 Tablespoons olive oil

Add oil to yeast mixture once it has proofed, then pour into the flour mixture. Knead by hand or on low speed on the mixer for 10 minutes.

Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 2 hours.

Punch dough down and divide into four balls, pinching the bottoms closed. Cover with plastic wrap, and let wrise in a warm place another hour.

I don't tend to buy cake flour. In my latest experiment (cooking is always an experiment for me) instead of adding more white all-purpose flour, I grabbed a container of hand ground wheat flour. I wondered if it would make it too hard. Instead, it seemed to make a softer dough. Way back, many, many moons ago, I was in 4-H. I actually have a trophy for making bread. Our 4-H project book had an experiment using various flours. It was designed to teach the gluten content of various flours. I learned it at the time but the many moons have removed that information from my memory. Maybe I'll have to search for that information and learn it again.

When I'm ready to use my pizza dough, I roll it out into 5-8" rounds or semi-rounds or just irregular shapes. The pizza stone has been heating in the oven. After I get the dough rolled out, I toss it on the hot stone. No toppings. I just want to firm up the dough a little bit. So I cook it on one side and then flip it over and cook the over side for a minute or so. I begin topping the cooked crusts while I cook more crusts.

The pleasant surprise on my last batch of pizzas was the bubbling! Yes, the pizza rounds turned into big round balloons. This was a pleasant surprise. I have been trying to make pita type bread for some time and haven't been able to get that ballooning. I have more experimenting to do. I must learn the reason for my success. Was it the addition of the wheat flour? Was it the use of a yeast dough? My naan bread recipe is supposed to puff and doesn't use yeast. I've never achieved a really successful balloon with the naan bread recipe. So if you like pita bread, this recipe with some wheat flour might do the trick for you.


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