Ok, so I really don’t know why people say that. I can only assume that it has something to do with pie in the face gags, but I have no proof. Come to think of it, that might not even be a saying, in which case, I’m starting a new fad. It’s gonna catch on, like “Oh, Snap.” You wait and see.
So to the real purpose of this post. Pie. Well, Pizza to everyone who doesn’t live in New York. I can’t believe I’ve been doing this blog for over 2 years and have yet to write a pizza post. I’ve been making pizza from scratch since 2004, when I returned from Rome, and yearned for a pizza like only the Romans can make. For a while, I was making pizza every Friday, until we started the whole diet thing, and now, I make pizza when I need something quick, or Son requests it.
How can home made pizza be quick? Easy. Every batch of dough makes four pies, and since one pie feeds my whole family of three, I freeze the other three. You’ll see, it’s simple.
I begin with the yeast. I place it into a small bowl with 2 tablespoons of warm water. I let it stand for 10 minutes or so, until “creamy.” This is where I realized that many baking instructions don’t really show you what “creamy” looks like, so I thought I’d help you out with some photos.
This what the water and yeast look like when you first mix it together.
And this is what it looks like when “creamy.”
You can see it is sort of creamy, but it will also be a little thicker than just water. If your yeast doesn’t do this by the time 10 minutes are up, then your yeast is dead. It could be dead due to age, or you could’ve cooked it to death by using water that was too warm. Don’t feel bad, I’m practically a Dexter when it comes to yeasty murder.
While the yeast is blooming, or turning “creamy,” I weigh out my other ingredients. My go to pizza dough is made with both hard flour, like bread flour, and semolina, like I used for my pasta. I then stir the flours together with the salt, and dump it all out onto my counter.
Once the yeast has bloomed, I add the olive oil to the yeast, and make a well in my flour mound.
I’ve discussed before the genius of the Well Method, but just in case you missed it, here it is again. There are no bowls to clean!!! Yes, less work always means bold text.
Pour the yeast and oil into the center of the well, and begin to stir. Then you slowly begin to add the rest of the water to the well. The dough will slowly take the flour that it needs, and in this recipe, you can really see the other genius of the Well Method: any flour that isn’t needed isn’t used. You’ll see in just a second.
Once the dough comes together, knead for ten minutes. I like to knead dough by hand; I find it relaxing, and to be honest, I love that my hands smell of olive oil and yeast afterwards. Makes me feel like a real woman. The dough will look like this when ready; smooth and silky, and soft like velvet is soft, not like a pillow is soft.
And now to show you how much flour was left after making that dough ball.
See that pile in the back? Yep. It was once part of the well, but the dough didn’t need it. Oh well, it can be used for dusting later.
The dough has to rest for a mere five minutes, and then is cut into quarters, shaped into balls, and left to rise for two hours, or until doubled.
This is the point where I always freeze my balls. Ha ha, I saw that smile. You know what I meant. I place the dough onto a baking sheet, and then into the freezer for an hour or so. I then put the dough into a freezer bag. On the days that I’m making pizza from frozen dough, I just pull the dough out in the morning, and let it thaw and rise at the same time.
The other dough, the one that I’m cooking, is covered with a damp towel, and left to nap. Once it’s doubled, I can roll it out.
I like to roll out my pizza crust with a rolling pin because I’m not as flashy as those professional tossers, and because Romans don’t toss theirs either. I also roll my dough out on parchment paper. This makes for easier transfer into the oven, and onto the pizza stone.
Then I top my pizza with whatever I have on hand. I used to make pizza sauce with just a can of whole tomatoes that I pureed, and salt and pepper, but lately I’ve been using the tomato sauce that my dad canned back in the summer. It’s less work on my end, and tastes pretty good. I sauce the pizza, add the cheese, and then put whatever meat I want on top. I’ve found that the flavors just work better when the meat is on top.
I have also learned that going crazy with the toppings tends to make for a not as tasty pie, so I keep the heavy hand put away, and go easy.
I slide the pizza, paper and all, into my oven, which is cranked as hot as I can get it, around 450 or so. I’ll cook it until it looks like a pizza should; like this…
See, you don’t even have to worry about that paper. It browns, and sometimes chars, but never bursts into flames, and doesn’t affect the pizza flavour.
So there you have it. An amazing, quick pizza, that when you factor in the time it takes to drive over and pick it up, is faster than Little Ceasers, and certainly tastes better.
1 1/4 Teaspoons Instant Yeast
315 g (10 oz) Hard Flour (Bread Flour)
315 g (10 oz) Semolina Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Lukewarm Water
1 Cup Lukewarm Water
Mix Yeast and 2 Tablespoons of water in a small bowl, and allow to bloom for 10 minutes, or until “creamy.”
Mix flours and salt together in a bowl.
Pour flour onto counter, and create a well in the center.
Add olive oil to yeast mixture, and pour into center of well.
Stir olive oil yeast mixture in center of well, and slowly add 1 cup of water.
Slowly begin to incorporate flour into mixture from the walls of the well. Begin to use your hands once it’s too thick.
Once dough comes together, knead dough in the flour for 8-10 minutes. Dough will be smooth, and soft when finished.
Allow to rest for 5 minutes.
Cut dough into quarters, shape into balls, and allow to rise for 2 hours, or until doubled.
At this point, freeze any dough you want to save for later.
Preheat oven to 450 at least 30 minutes before baking.
Roll dough flat, getting it as thin as you like your pizza crust.
Top with toppings, and bake 450 degree oven until done.