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Friday, April 2, 2010

Friday Night is Pizza Night

 Homemade pizza with fresh mushroom, oil-cured olives, and fresh basil

I live for Friday nights because it's Pizza and Beer Night.  Steve makes the dough, which he develops overnight and then portions into four and freezes.  Thursday night the dough comes out of the freezer and goes into the fridge.  Then Friday afternoon around noon it goes on top of the fridge to come to room temperature.

Friday night, when I go to make the pizza, I preheat the oven at 500 degrees- it has a pizza stone in the bottom of it.  The oven takes a good half hour to come to 500 and then we let the stone continue heating for another half hour.  I cut a half pound chunk of mozz off the log (which we get cheap at Costco) and put it in the freezer to harden up which will make slicing it easier later.  If I need sauce, I make it from a pint of our tomato sauce which we put up last summer.  I can get enough cooked-down sauce for two or three pizzas, because I learned not to cook all the liquid out of the sauce.  The pizzas are better if the sauce flavor is closer to the tomatoes. I'm not sure that makes sense; just don't overcook your sauce.

Then while the sauce is cooling, I roll out the dough to roughly the same shape and size as one of my cookie sheets, which I use for the peel.  The cookie sheet is covered pretty liberally with corn meal so that the pizza doesn't stick to it.  I like my pizza crust pretty thin, and Steve has figured out just exactly how much to make the dough so that each of the four portions is exactly right.  While the rolled-out dough is resting, I slice the cheese and mushrooms or whatever else is going on the pizza.

Next I carefully pick up the dough and stretch it out on the peel.  Then it gets spread with olive oil and I'll be honest: before I spread the sauce I sprinkle a little garlic salt around the edge.  Sauce goes on (thinly- too much sauce makes the toppings slide off), cheese goes on, then the toppings go on.  The whole thing is then slid onto the hot pizza stone and bakes for 7 minutes.  I usually leave it in for another minute because I like the crust really crunchy, but I'm watching it like a hawk that last minute.

Then it comes out and is slid onto the large cutting board, gets sliced into eight pieces, and gets served on the board.  With beer. Always with beer.

Big Batch No-Knead Pizza Dough

5 1/3 cups bread flour
2 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons salt

Mix ingredients together and put into covered proofing container.  Leave 24 hours in a warm place, like the top of the refrigerator.

The next day, punch it all down, weigh it out into four equal portions, and place each into an oiled Ziploc bag.  Freeze until needed.  We have four bags that are marked for pizza and they get washed and reused so we're not wasting bags or over filling the landfills.


s said...

Hi, clicked on you from El's blog, and found another pizza friday aficionado! I have started thinking that perhaps it could be a form of religion, as we adhere to it pretty strictly around here! :)

Miriam said...

That all sounds just about perfect to me. I shouldn't eat gluten, and have been experimenting with various recipes for gluten-free pizza dough. The best one I've found is a bit of a pain to make, because it has nine million strange ingredients, and I've always thought I should make it in bulk and freeze it, but it's such a sticky dough. So now I know I can use oiled Ziploc bags! You are just full of great ideas!

Chris said...

Hi Paula,
I came across your comment on Danni's Critter Farm blog regarding using cornmeal for her maybe fungal problem on her animals and you also mentioned that it cured toenail fungus. I know...not a lovely thing to chat about after reading about your delicious looking pizza post. Sorry, but can you tell me what you did to remedy this most unsightly and gross toenail affliction that alot of us here in the northwest seem to be annoyed with.
PS. I enjoyed the rest of your blog, as well!

Paula said...

S- I guess you could liken Pizza Night to a religion, since it's the only thing we practice with any regularity. And reverence, I might add.

Miriam- I'm sorry about your gluten sensitivity- everyone knows most of what makes a pizza is the crust. As you know, Steve is on a so-called no grain diet, although we adhere to this during the day since it help us manage his blood sugars and temperament. He fortunately, does not actually get sick from eating wheat, as more and more people seem to be these days. The oiled bags work really well with the pizza dough, but I would try only one recipe's worth of your dough in the oiled bag- not knowing what ingredients you're using- it's still possible that they'd actually absorb the oil and make and even stickier dough. Good luck!

Chris- you inspired me to write an entire post to answer your question. The weather has been seriously sulking (read 'dark and stormy'), thus I haven't had much else to write about. Hope it helps!