Sunday, July 25, 2010

Homemade Pizza

My poor, poor hubby- God Bless him! As my live in taste testing, Guinea Pig, he has endured some pretty awful homemade bread. Four years ago, I set out to make homemade bread- and not the sweet kind with baking powder and baking soda. Not this chick, I wanted to make the fresh baked farmhouse loaf that was perfect, with a slab of butter, and steam rising off.




I am not one to be defeated- especially by a tradition such as bread making. Hello, I was the new proud owner of a Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer. I could make anything.


Bread= science. You have to check the weather, the water, the flour, the oven. You have to enlist the help of bricks in your oven, steam misting water bottles, countless cookbooks, countless websites, and yes countless loaves of bread that were dense, tasteless, and just wrong!

Over the past four years I have definitely plugged away at finding that feel of the dough- somewhere between sticky and smooth. I have stopped rushing the kneading process (how hard is it to let the mixer do the work for 8 or so minutes). I have made rolls, loaves, pretzels, and a beloved pizza crust!

It is no question we love pizza! When we lived in Richmond, we would get pizza from Leonardo's. Heaven. Now, with limited options-and the desire to make everything THAT tiny bit healthier- we do our own thing!

Pizza crust presents the same pain in the rear problem as all yeast breads. If you mess it up, you have a load of tasty toppings atop of cardboard. There is no disguise for a bad crust. Dough being the science that it is, is best followed from a tried and true recipe. I happen to use this one from my Cooking Light cookbook. I use highly active yeast, and white wheat flour. No it's not dripping in butter along the crust- but you absolutely could brush some on.

The recipe says it yields 2 crusts- I make 3. When I first started making it, the crust was hanging over the pizza stone and was a bit chewy for our liking. By dividing the crust into thirds, we had a thin and crisp crust that suited us better- and it fits on the pizza stone perfectly! I had never frozen the dough before, but popped one of these guys in the freezer this time. If the crust turns out just as tasty after being frozen, then there is never an excuse not to have homemade pizza-unless I'm being lazy...

With our his and her's pizza, a bottle of Horton Mourvedre dinner was served!

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