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.