Homemade Pizza

By Jim MacKenzie

For two 13-14″ (medium) pizzas

1 cup warm water (you should still be able to put your finger in it.)
1 tablespoon (1 package) dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
3 1/2 C (approximately) Pillsbury Bread Flour
2 tablespoons olive oil

For 1 medium and 1 large pizza

1 1/2 cup warm water (105-115 degrees F)
1 1/3 tablespoon (1 package) dry yeast
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
4+ C Pillsbury Bread Flour
3 tablespoons olive oil

Sprinkle yeast into warm water in large bowl. Stir with wooden spoon to mix. Stir in salt and olive oil. Stir in flour with wooden spoon. Place on a lightly floured board or counter top and knead–adding flour as necessary–until smooth and elastic. Place dough in a greased bowl, then turn it over so greased side is up. Cover with damp cloth and let rise at about 85 degrees for 1/2 hour or until double in bulk. Cut dough in half (a medium pizza gets 7/8 pound of dough) and use immediately or freeze in plastic wrap.

Making Two Pizzas

1 jar Ragu Pizza Quick mix or 1 can Contadina Pizza sauce, 15 oz.
about 1/4 pound pepperoni and/or ground beef (optional)
sliced green pepper and mushrooms
1 pound mozzarella cheese, grated
cornmeal

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Fry and drain ground beef. Grease pizza pans with shortening and then sprinkle pans lightly with cornmeal. Grease your counter top with shortening and roll one of the pizza doughs into a circle using a rolling pin. Transfer to one of the greased pans and press dough down with fingers, forming a lip around the edge of the pan. Let the dough rise about 1/2 hour. Press it down, except for a 1″ lip around the edge, to make the crust softer. Spread 1/2 jar/can of pizza sauce onto the pizza with back of spoon. Spread pepperoni and/or ground beef on the pizza.

Place this first pizza in the oven on the lowest rack position and bake until the bottom of the dough is slightly browned (about 10 minutes). Prepare the 2nd pizza while the first is baking and place it the 2nd lowest position, above the first. When the bottom of the 1st pizza has slightly browned, remove and add sliced green pepper and mushrooms followed by one half the mozzarella cheese. At this time, place the 2nd pizza on the bottom rack to ensure browning of its crust. Return the first pizza to oven–on the 2nd lowest rack–until the cheese has melted and begun to brown slightly. Remove. When the 2nd pizza crust has begun to brown, remove and add green pepper, mushrooms, and cheese, as above, and return to finish baking. (Note: judge a pizza doneness by its color, not the clock.)

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