Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Perfectly prepared pizzas are pleasing to the palate

Growing up, I don't really remember having a fondness for pizza. Sure, we'd get a pizza here and there and I would eat it, but I never really formed a relationship with it until I moved to Milwaukee. With Chicago so close with its deep dish deliciousness, full of carbs and cheese (how can you go wrong with that combo??) I've come to appreciate a good pizza. It's really all about the crust.

I have long been trying to perfect the homemade pizza, with little to no success. My crusts, and I've tried various recipes, all come out soggy. Pre-baked and not. I had gotten quite bitter over the whole idea of making pizza at home, and had almost resigned to living a life of Papa John's delivery (not that that's a bad thing in the least!)

However, last month Whitney and Joel made us pizza on the barbecue. I will forever remember that day, because it changed my life.

The crust was delicious. It was crispy on the outside and warm and chewy on the inside. The toppings were perfectly melted and had a great smoky flavor. I was hooked. I had always wanted to try making a pizza on the grill, but it seemed a little tricky. I'll admit, I was intimidated.

Still, I was assured making it myself at home would not produce as great results as we had at the O'Neills.

I was dead wrong. This crust is amazing. I've even made it in the oven and the dough holds up great. Not sure what it is about this dough, but I will probably never make another recipe for the rest of my life. It's that good. Plus, it's super easy!

In one of my finer moments, I threw together a pepperoni pizza, and one made completely of leftovers. Spinach from the farmer's market, bacon from a spinach salad, chicken from leftovers, and alfredo sauce from leftovers. It was deeeelicious.

Try it for yourself and see!

Pizza Crust
1 envelope or 2.5 tsp dry yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 1/4 c warm water
3 1/2 c unbleached white flour- more if necessary
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/4 c EVOO
Combine yeast, sugar, and water in the bowl of a mixer and stir to mix. After 5-10 minutes the mixture should look foamy. Add 2 T of oil and the salt and flour. Mix at a low speed to form a smooth, soft dough. It should be moist but not sticky. If necessary add more flour a spoonful at a time, running the machine between additions until the dough is the proper texture. The wetter the dough, the lighter and crispier the pizza.
Turn the dough to a working surface and knead it by hand for a few minutes. Lightly coat a bowl with the remaining oil and place the dough in the bowl turning it to coat with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise until doubled in bulk, 1-1.5 hours.
Then you place it on a cookie sheet coated with oil and press out to a crust.

Cook on the grill on high heat for about 5 minutes, then flip and move to a cooler area. Top with your toppings and cook until your cheese melts and the crust is cooked on the bottom, about 3-5 minutes.

The thing to remember is to put toppings on that need to cook longer first, like cheese.

Really, I don't know how I can ever repay the O'Neills.


whitandjoel said...

lovely illiteration and
you are welcome...
I expect big payouts from this! :)

Stacy said...

Just get your pizza dough at Trader Joe's, it's fantastic and will save you a lot of heartache!

Jennifer Gilmore said...

can you make some while you are at the beach? :)

Ashley C. said...

how funny! my neighbor made pizzas on the grill tonight for us. they were delish - bbq chicken.

:) that left overs one sounds great though!

Sarah P to the atten said...

Beautiful pizzas. I am having dejavu! Is that the night you made it for us, or perhaps your "real friends were over".