the baker upstairs: pizza, delicious pizza

8.01.2011

pizza, delicious pizza

Yum


Pretty much our whole marriage (all 8 1/2 years of it), I have been trying (unsuccessfully) to make homemade pizza. I don't know why, but my dough is always too thick and bready, the toppings slide right off, the cheese never melts the way I want it to, and it doesn't get nice and crispy on the bottom the way I want. As you may have noticed, however, I have recently become obsessed with Mel's Kitchen Cafe, and have been trying out not only her recipes for pizza, but her methods as well. The result... a profound improvement in my pizza baking.

I made the above delicious pizza on Friday night, and Geoff was quick to say that it was the best pizza I have ever baked. I topped it with grated fresh mozzarella from Costco, turkey pepperoni, mushrooms, and black olives. To bake, I sprinkled a piece of parchment paper with cornmeal, shaped the dough on it, topped the pizza, and then baked it on my pizza stone at 500 for about 10 minutes. It was perfect! The crust was crispy on the bottom and chewy in the middle, the toppings stayed evenly distributed, and the pizza even reheated super well the next day. Not to mention it was totally beautiful. We're trying to make it a tradition to have homemade pizza night once a week, and this was a great start.

Easy Pizza Crust
adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe

1 1/4 cup warm water
1 T yeast
1 T honey or sugar
1 tsp salt
3 cups flour

Preheat oven (with baking stone) to 500. Mix together water, yeast, sugar, and salt, then add flour. Knead until smooth. Let dough rest 10-15 minutes, then roll out into two crusts. I usually shape my crusts on the preheated pizza stone (sprinkled with cornmeal) or on a sheet of parchment paper. Add desired toppings, then bake on pizza stone for 8-9 minutes.

Quick Pizza Sauce
Mel's Kitchen Cafe


1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 small can tomato paste
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon garlic salt
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender and blend until desired consistency.
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