Food on the Hill: Pizza

“Food on the Hill” by Sue York

This week’s recipe…

Pizza

Photo by Sue York/ladailypost.com

Things that are a MUST have for this recipe:

You must have a pizza stone (also called a baking stone) for the inside of the oven. The only way you are going to get a crispy crust and the right pizza taste is if you can put a lot of heat to the crust in a fast way (pizza stone.)

The other thing you must have is parchment paper. I have tried for years to be able to get the pizza in to the oven in one piece in one clean jerk and the best way I have found to form the crust and to get it into the oven is parchment paper.

Makes two medium pizzas

1 envelope dry instant yeast

½ teaspoon sugar

1 ¾ cups distilled water- split into to two batches

3 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons Parmesan cheese (kraft is fine for this)

2 teaspoons salt

4 to 4 ½ cups bread flour (I use King Arthur)

Pizza Sauce:

I do not make my own pizza sauce. I know this is going to sound very strange, but I use the jar of traditional sauce you can get from the store and I add black pepper and fresh garlic to it. I tested pizza sauces that I liked by asking for a small sample of just the sauce to take home and I found out that the sauce that I favored the most had a very peppery garlic taste to it.

Take about ½ of the water and heat it in the microwave until about 100 degrees (warm to inner wrist area). Mix in the yeast and ½ teaspoon of sugar and let it sit on the counter until bubbly. This is called proofing the yeast. If for some reason it does not become lighter in color and have small bubbles you need to start with a fresh batch.

Photo by Sue York/ladailypost.com

FOOD PROCESSOR

If you have a food processor you can mix together 4 cups of the flour and salt and cheese. Then add all wet ingredients plus the yeast mixture and process until it forms a ball. Mix on dough button for 4 minutes, then roll onto a floured board. Add flour as needed to make a dough that can be worked with. Kneed dough until it springs back with a finger poke.

STAND MIXER

If you are using a Stand Mixer, divide the mixed dry ingredients in half (save ½ in another bowl). Add the proofed yeast mixture and the rest of the wet ingredients to the ½ dry ingredients in the mixing bowl and incorporate. Slowly add in the rest of the dry ingredients that you had saved in another bowl. Change to your dough hook when the dough is getting less wet and more like a dough. I find it is easiest to add in things when they are on a paper plate. I holds them nicely and bends to match the bowl. Mix for about 4 minutes with dough hook and then turn onto a floured board.

BY HAND

If you are mixing by hand, divide the mixed dry ingredients in half (save ½ in another bowl). Add the proofed yeast mixture and the rest of the wet ingredients to the ½ dry ingredients in the mixing bowl and incorporate. Slowly add in the rest of the dry ingredients that you had saved in another bowl. After everything is incorporated turn onto a floured board.

KNEADING

Knead the dough (push and pull, fold and flip), adding flour just a bit at a time until your dough feels “springy.” When you push the dough with your finger the dough should spring back at you.

The more you work with dough’s the more you will know what the feeling you are looking for. It will take the longest when mixed by hand for this. If you have used either one of the mixers you have done a lot of this already in the machines.

Fold the dough into a round. (**Turn on the oven to 100 degrees-NOW.) Take a large bowl and small amount of olive oil and rub it on the inside of the bowl. Take the round of dough and rub the top of it in the bottom of the bowl to coat the top with oil and then flip it right side up.

Photo by Sue York/ladailypost.com

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a damp (warm) tea towel. (TURN THE OVEN OFF – NOW.) You are just getting the oven to a temperature around 90 degrees, or just warm when the door is opened. Put the covered bowl in the TURNED OFF OVEN. The dough should double in size in about 1 hour.

At end of the rise, start the oven at 500 degrees to preheat the pizza stone. It is best if the stone bakes at 500 degrees for at least 20 minutes without the pizza on it. You really want that stone to be hot when the pizza goes into the oven

Photo by Sue York/ladailypost.com

After the first rise, place the dough on a large piece of parchment paper and form the pizza crust. If you don’t have a pizza peel, place the parchment paper on the back of a large cookie sheet, it will act as the peel when you are ready to place it in the oven later. The nice thing about the parchment paper is it will help you form the crust, it “holds” the shape better than just rolling on the counter. Let the crust rest and rise on the paper for 15 minutes before you start putting on the toppings.

Photo by Sue York/ladailypost.com

Once the pizza has been dressed with the toppings and the cheese, cut the edge of the parchment paper a little closer to the edge of the crust. About 1 inch of the paper should be showing around the edge. Lift the edge of the paper and slide the pizza peel under the pizza. Place pizza onto the hot pizza stone.

After you cook it about 8-10 minutes and you should be able to slide the parchment paper out from under the pizza without moving the pizza too much. Reposition the pizza on stone if needed. If the back of the pizza is cooking too fast, place the peel under the pizza and rotate it as needed. Watch the pizza close, the oven is so hot it will cook quick.

Photo by Sue York/ladailypost.com

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