Since posting about the almighty green pizza last summer, I’ve been on the hunt for a reliable dough that settles my pizza satisfaction and costs less than buying pre-made flatbreads or dough from the grocery store. Pizza is like a chef’s playground–there’s too many options for ingredients that will make the perfect pie, yet also hundreds of combinations to choose from at the same time. Are we also forgetting that making homemade pizza is one of those activities that just makes people happy?
Pizza parties as a kid were great, but homemade pizza parties for adults are next level. Am I wrong?
FOR THE DOUGH
- 1 1/2 tsp of quick rising yeast
- 3/4 cups of water + 1 tsp extra
- 2 cups all purpose flour + extra for rolling out
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 2 tbsp of olive oil
In a medium sauce pan, bring the measured amount of water to a warm, but not hot, temperature. You should be able to stick your finger in the water and keep it there for a second. Put the water into a large mixing bowl and add the yeast, mixing together, and allowing it to bloom (or basically activate) for up to 5 minutes.
[This is a very crucial step! Hot hot hot water can actually ‘kill’ your yeast, which is not really what you’re looking for. When you add the yeast to warm water and mix it together, you should start to see some frothy, bubbly bits after a few minutes. If you don’t see this, and you haven’t actually used your yeast supply in a while, your yeast may also be considered “dead”. Just scrap what you have and try again. Bubbles = our friends.]
Next, add the flour, salt and olive oil to the mixing bowl and combine together until a dough forms. I typically use my KitchenAid’s dough hook and keep the speed around a 4. Knead the dough for up to 8 minutes to work the gluten within it. If your dough is too sticky or too wet, add teaspoon amounts of either water or flour until the dough is the consistency you like.
It should be smooth, slightly stretchy, and shouldn’t stick to your hands much when working with it. In another bowl, drizzle a little olive oil and then place the dough inside, covering with plastic wrap. Place the bowl in a warm area within your house for at least an hour to rise.
FOR THE BRUSCHETTA
- 5-6 medium size roma tomatoes, chopped into bite size chunks
- 1 garlic clove, minced fine
- drizzle of olive oil
- salt + pepper to taste
- 1tbsp of homemade balsamic glaze (recipe below)
Combine altogether in a bowl and set off to the side, either at room temperature if serving soon or keep in the fridge overnight. Remove for 20 minutes ahead of serving and bring to room temperature and the tomatoes will just taste that much better!
FOR THE BALSAMIC GLAZE
- 1 cup of balsamic vinegar (it seems like a lot, but it reduces down to half the amount)
- 1/4 cup of brown sugar + an extra tablespoon.
In a small saucepan, combine the two together until the brown sugar has dissolved. Bring to a rolling boil and then maintain at a medium-low heat simmering for up to 10 or 15 minutes until the liquid has reduced by at least half. If you can dip the back of a spoon into the glaze and it clings to the spoon and doesn’t run off right away, take off the heat and allow to cool. it will get sticky like syrup as it cools.
Store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to a month and never, ever, ever buy balsamic glaze from the grocery store again!!
PUT THE PIZZA TOGETHER!
- low-moisture mozzarella, cut into 1/4 inch slices
- fresh basil, chopped in ribbons
- balsamic glaze for drizzling
- shredded parmesan
- pepper, olive oil, dried oregano.
Preheat the oven to 500°F and ensure you have a bottom rack set up at the last rung in your oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment and set to the side. Remove your dough from the bowl and using your fingertips, stretch it gently into the form of a square. This will help you roll out the dough easily into a rectangle to fit the form of the baking sheet (or if you’re using a classic round pizza pan, just stretch the dough into a circle).
Once you have rolled the dough out to the correct size, take the rolling pin and roll the dough over and around it, then carry the rolling pin to one side of the baking sheet and unravel it onto the pan, sort of like laying dough over a pie pan. Prick the crust with a fork all over to prevent it from bubbling up while baking.
Next, take the mozzarella slices and spread them evenly around the pizza. Next, spread a few handfuls of shredded parmesan all over the pizza also. I also like to drizzle a little bit of olive oil, pepper and a bit of dried oregano over the base of the pizza at this point as those are the ways I like to “dress my crust” and add a bit more flavour where possible.
Bake the pizza on the lower rack of your oven for 10-11 minutes until the bottom of the crust is lightly browned and the cheese on top has turned golden and crispy. Next, while the pizza is still hot, spoon the bruschetta across the pizza base without adding too much of the excess liquid. Lastly, drizzle the bruschetta with your homemade balsamic glaze and another handful of parmesan sprinkled over top and serve that pizza pronto.
Peace and good eats guys,