September 5, 2012 by kkeerr
Getting home two hours earlier than expected yesterday made it possible for a homemade pizza day. I love pizza.
I once teared up when, while slightly inebriated, I dropped a freshly cooked frozen pizza on to my kitchen floor topping side down while pulling it out of the oven. Be safe everyone – always have a designated pizza removal person. No such catastrophe occurred yesterday, thankfully.
A homemade tasty pizza crust is ridiculously easy and relatively quick. Any simple crust contains the same ingredients. Yeast, a little sugar, salt, flour, oil, and warm water. I get just crazy and throw some herbs in there too; a tablespoon or two of a combination or rosemary, oregano, thyme, and the like. Minimal ingredients and all things that usually stocked even in a kitchen that only bakes occasionally.
Assembly is just as easy. Mix the water, sugar, and yeast. While it is doing its thing sift or just whisk the remaining dry ingredients. Then combine the yeast mixture, flour mixture, and oil; once combined, knead it out for a few minutes or until it is the proper consistency (not sticky but with elasticity). The ball of dough you will be grapefruit sized. If you are like me then the mess this makes will be considerably larger than a grapefruit.
Roll that grapefruit sized goodness in a lightly oiled bowl, cover the bowl with a towel and let it rise.
There is now an hour of wait time (which is why getting home two hours earlier than expected is beneficial to pizza night). So yesterday I opened a beer and browsed Reddit for about 30 minutes before I started to prepare my fixin’s. This is also about the time I remembered to preheat the oven to a whooping 500 degrees – luckily my oven, despite being old, is gas and efficient so it heats up quickly. I use a pizza stone and I have been told that I should bake my pizza on a preheated stone. What? That just sounds dangerous. You want me to try to shimmy a prepared pizza on uncooked dough into a 500 degree oven with those death bars??? Not going to happen.
I prepare my pizza on a room temperature stone and then put it all in the oven in one easy motion, usually while yelling at the wieners to, “GET BACK!” They are just tall enough and dumb enough to burn their nozzles on a lowered oven door. Anyway, I’ve never had a problem using a pizza stone in this way.
For toppings we like things like tomatoes, eggplant, and spinach on our pizza so I use the last half of the rise time to prepare these. Tomatoes and eggplant came fresh from my garden. Frying the slices of eggplant in just a bit of oil before putting on the pizza to bake helps a lot. I also wilt the spinach. Preparing the toppings usually takes 20-30 minutes so when I am done with the veg I can punch down the dough that has since doubled in size and roll it out on my lightly floured pizza stone. Throw the sauce (pesto in this case) and the toppings on and you are ready to bake it for about 10 to 12 minutes.
There you have it, all for a few dollars worth of ingredients (I spent a whole $1.79 – because I didn’t have cheese) and about and hour and twenty minutes of your time.