Wednesday, October 21, 2009

October is National Pizza Month - Brooklyn Style Sicilian Pizza

-1 package of yeast (or 7 grams worth)
-1 teaspoon of honey
-1 cup of warm water
-1 teaspoon of table salt
-3 cups of bread flour
-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
-14-16 slices of sliced mozzarella cheese
-1 1/2 cups of tomato sauce
-1 block of Pecorino Romano cheese
-Your favorite toppings
-1 tablespoon of corn meal

Step 1 - In a small bowl mix together 1 package of yeast, 1 teaspoon of honey, and 125 mL of warm water. Stir together well and let the mixture sit for 15 minutes.

Step 2 - Add in 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 375 mL of warm water to your mixture and stir well.

Step 3 - Add in 1 cup of bread flour to your mixture and stir well until it forms a batter-like substance. At this point add an additional cup of bread flour, stir well, and then finally add in 1/2 a cup of bread flour. Mix everything together until stirring becomes difficult.

Step 4 - Pour your dough mixture on to your counter along with 1/2 cup of bread flour. Knead the dough thoroughly until all of the additional flour on the counter has been absorbed in to it.

Step 5 - Take 1/2 of a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and lightly coat your dough before placing it in a bowl. Leave a damp (but not wet) washcloth on top of it for one hour.

Step 6 - After an hour has passed remove the washcloth and punch the air out of your dough before removing it from its bowl. This recipe only calls for about half of the dough made here, so place the half you don't use in a sealed bag in the refrigerator for later (it should keep for an additional two or three days).

Step 7 - Take roughly 1 1/2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and spread it out on your cooking sheet. Spread your dough out to cover the sheet and then flip it once to oil the other side and then spread the dough out to cover the lip of the cooking sheet as well.

Step 8 - Cover the dough with a layer of sliced mozzarella making sure to leave no part of the dough exposed (apart from the crust) and press down gently when done.

Step 9 - Add a layer of 1 1/2 cups of tomato sauce to dough and spread it out as evenly as possible.

Step 10 - Take your block of Pecorino Romano cheese and alternate grating it in to large and small pieces. Spread a good amount on top of the pizza. At this point you can also add on any toppings you'd like.

Step 11 - If you have a baking stone make sure to put it on the bottom rack of your oven before turning it on to 450 degrees. Place your cooking sheet on the top rack and let your pizza cook for around four minutes before rotating it once and then letting it cook again for another four minutes (if you don't have a baking stone then just cook it for around six or seven minutes on each side until the crust and cheese turn golden).

Step 12 - After you have turned the pizza in the oven remove your baking stone and place 1 tablespoon of corn meal on it and spread it out to form a very thin layer. Once your pizza has cooked for a total of eight minutes remove it from the cooking sheet and place it on your pizza stone.

Step 13 - Bake until golden and enjoy!

The Verdict
It might not be the most traditional way to make a pizza but it sure was delicious (it also tastes great cold the next day). It's also very filling so make sure you have a few people to split this with; I couldn't even finish half of it. The recipe I used for the dough ended up tasting a lot better than the last one I used so I'll definitely be sticking with this one from here on out.

Next up, pizza and eggs!

Friday, October 16, 2009

October is National Pizza Month - Grilled Brick Oven Pizza

Okay, so it's not actually "grilled," but it is pizza and it was baked on a grill, so I'm going to call it that. This one comes from the BBQ Pit Boys and you're going to need a baking stone to be able to do. If you don't have one handy then you can try out Rob Barrett's cooking sheet method.

-Pizza dough (I used the leftover half from the pan pizza recipe)
-1/4 cup of cornmeal
-1/2 cup of pizza sauce
-1 1/2 cup of mozarrella cheese
-125 mL of olive oil
-Your favorite toppings

Step 1 - Lay down, knead, and shape your dough and throw a little bit of corn meal down on your surface. This allows your pizza to be able to slide on to the grill and it adds a bit of texture to the crust.

Step 2 - Add a layer of sauce to the dough.

Step 3 - Add cheese.

Step 4 - Add your favorite toppings (and a little more cheese).

Step 5 - Coat the crust with a very thin layer of olive oil.

Step 6 - The second you get your grill going you need to put your stone on it. Once it's heated up a bit slide your pizza on the stone. Bake until golden and enjoy.

The Verdict
The pizza ended up tasting wonderful but it took forever to make. Lighting the coals, waiting for the grill to heat up, and then the actual time it took for the pizza to finish was just an awful lot of effort. I'm not saying that it wasn't worth it, but maybe it'd be best to save this one for a Saturday afternoon when you don't have a lot going on.

Monday, October 12, 2009

October is National Pizza Month - Pan Pizza

Since I didn't have the best of luck with store-bought dough for the last two recipes I decided to make my own this time around following the steps from Pizza Therapy. As far as the pizza itself goes, I'm using Chef Sanjay Thumma's recipe for pan pizza. If you're a fan of Indian cuisine you should definitely check out some of his other recipes on his YouTube account.

-375 mL of warm water
-7 grams of yeast (1 packet's worth)
-2 teaspoons of sugar
-1 teaspoon of salt
-5 cups of flour
-250 mL of olive oil
-1/2 cup of pizza sauce
-1 cup of shredded mozzarella
-Your favorite toppings

Step 1 - In a small bowl mix together your yeast, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and 1 tablespoon of salt.

Step 2 - Add 250 mL of warm (but not hot) water to the mixture and let it sit for around fifteen minutes or until the yeast begins to activate and bubble.

Step 3 - In a separate bowl measure and pour in four cups of flour. Add in 125 mL of olive oil, 125 mL of warm water, and one tablespoon of sugar.

Step 4 - Add your yeast mixture to your flour mixture and stir with a fork until it becomes too thick to continue mixing by hand.

Step 5 - Put around half a cup of flour down on your counter, throw your mixture in there, and knead together until it becomes uniform and solid.

Step 6 - Fold the dough up into a ball, lightly coat it olive oil, place it in a Ziploc bag, and leave it in the refrigerator overnight. Make sure to leave a small opening in the bag for the gas that the yeast creates to escape.

Step 7 - By the next day the dough should have at least doubled in size. Punch the air out of the dough and then leave it out to rise a bit more on the counter. You'll only need half of it for this recipe so cut it down the middle and save the rest for later (it should keep in the fridge for another two or three days).

Step 8 - Throw down a little bit of flour on the counter and knead your dough back in to a ball before putting it in a pan.

Step 9 - Add a layer of sauce to the dough.

Step 10 - Add your toppings.

Step 11 - Add cheese.

Step 12 - Coat the crust with a very thin layer of olive oil.

Step 13 - Place your pan on top of your stove while it's set to a slow flame/medium heat for five or six minutes.

Step 13 - With your oven at 425 degrees, remove your pizza from the pan and put it on a baking stone. If you don't have a baking stone and your pan is heat resistant you can place it in the stove. Bake until golden and enjoy.

The Verdict
Homemade crust is definitely the way to go and so far this is my favorite out of the recipes I've tried out. After finishing the pizza I noticed that the box of the baking stone said not to use flour on it (because it burns) and to use corn meal instead, so next time I'll try that out and see how it works.

Next up, pizza on the grill!