Pizza Night

You should have pizza night.  I myself could have pizza night every night, provided I had plenty of bean burrito lunch options.  I think I could feasibly live on bean burritos and pizza for a very long time.  Until I was 80.  Than I’d probably want to start introducing more into my diet.

We at Operation Houge have adopted a Friday night pizza night policy for the last who knows how long and it’s been good.  Sometimes we pick up pizza from places like Papa Murphy’s or Papa John’s.  We used to order from KNX up the street but they kept switching hands and I’m not sure what the place is called anymore or how to get a hold of them.  We’ve got the Pizza Factory around the corner at Skinners which is pretty good, they don’t skimp on the cheese that’s for sure.  If I’m out of town Jodi will sneak a frozen pizza into our oven.  But generally 90 percent of the time we make our own pizza.  I think making your own crust is the most intimidating part so let’s talk about that.

Proper Nate’s Pizza Recipe.

1 1/2 cups warm water (put your finger in it, if your finger’s happy it’s probably about right)

1 tsp. yeast. 

1 1/2 Tbl. Olive Oil

1 1/2 Tbl. Honey

1 1/2 tsp. salt

2 cups wheat flour

2-3 cups white flour

Before I bore with details, allow me to sum everything up:

Combine.  Knead.  Rise.  Flatten.  Top.  Bake.  Eat.

Or in more rambling detail:  Dump everything except for the white flour into a bowl.  Mix it up.  Add white flour 1/2 cup at a time until you get a nice not to firm dough.  If your mixing it up with a wooden spoon and it’s all stuck to the spoon and no longer to the sides of the bowl you’re probably pretty close.  At this point toss some flour on your hands and on the counter, dump the dough out and knead it for 5-8 minutes.  If it’s getting crazy sticky try adding more flour to your hands before adding it to the dough, only because I think a wet dough makes a better pizza crust.  I could be wrong.  You could be the one to prove me as such.

All right.  Let it rise for about 45 minutes.  Generally I clean out the mixing bowl, put a little olive oil in it, put the dough in there, turn it over to coat it, cover it with a towel or plastic wrap and stick it in the unheated oven.  Then I put a bowl of hot, straight off the boil, water in the oven with it.  That usually works well in our drafty kitchen.

Okay.  Your dough rose.  Good job.  Take it out of the oven and preheat the oven to 425.

Now punch it down and divide it into four pieces.  Roll each piece into a ball.  Flatten the ball, toss it up in the air, use a rolling pin, work it out on a cookie sheet.  Any of those or combinations of those seem to work to make your crust.  It’ll be about 12″ round.  One tip I’ve appreciated:  When you get to the part where you’re working it out on the cookie sheet put a wet dishrag between the pan and the counter to keep your pan from wiggling all over the place.

I have two round pans so what I do is make the first pizza – usually just sauce and cheese to appease the youngins – and put it in the oven on the upper rack for 6 minutes.  While that gets going I get the second pizza ready.  When my 6 minutes is up I slide the top pizza off of the pan onto the lower rack to get a nice crispy crust and put the next pizza on the top rack.  From sliding that first pizza off of its pan I can get the next pizza going.  Watch the times on this because every oven is different and because all the opening and closing of the oven door does a number on the consistency of heat.  For the most part though this becomes a pretty fluid process.  I actually set my timer (which I recently discovered also works as a cellular phone) for 5 minutes to account for the transfer time and to make sure I don’t burn anything.  Too much.  Also if you’re pizza doesn’t want to slide off the pan onto the bottom rack don’t force it, it needs more time.  If you do force it you’ll end up with a big clump of pizza ingredients dripping through the rack onto the bottom of your oven.  At least that’s what I’m guessing would happen….

See how simple that was?  Tune in next time for tips on topping.

Posted: March 31st, 2009
Categories: bread
Comments: No Comments.

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