VodkaPundit

Friday Recipe -- Build Your Own Pizza

There are only three secrets to making a good pizza: Good toppings, good crust, and a big pizza stone in a really hot oven.

The Fixins

We like a little bit of everything from fresh basil and tomatoes to thick slices of pepperoni and as many cheeses as you have in the fridge. Other things to consider: Capers, garlic-infused olive oil, jalapeños, whatever looks good. It’s about building it your way.

You might notice we don’t have any tomato sauce. Fresh ones, diced right before dinner, do a better job than any sauce.

Stick the pizza stone in the oven and preheat it to 475.

The Crust

The directions here come from Melissa, and they never fail.

3/4 cup of hot water from the tap
1 envelope or 2 1/4 teaspoons of active dry yeast

Allow to proof (foam, about 5 minutes)

2 cups of flour into the mixer with 1 teaspoon of sugar and 3/4 tsp of salt
start mixer, add 3 Tbsps of extra virgin olive oil then add the water and yeast.

Mix untill dough forms a flaky ball. turn out onto a lightly floured surface, kneed until dough forms a smooth elastic ball.

Coat a bowl w olive oil turn the ball of dough in it till it’s covered in oil, cover bowl w plastic wrap and allow to rise, about an hour.

Punch down, divide in half for 2 medium pizza’s or quarters for 4 smaller pizzas.

If the dough isn’t rising, crack the oven open and set the bowl of dough next to it. Works wonders.

OK, ready for the best part?

The Pizza

It would help right now if you had a baking peel dusted with corn meal.

Roll out your dough into something vaguely pizza shaped, and move it over to the peel. Add your toppings and carefully slide it onto the stone. Check after seven minutes, but give it at least eight.

I usually make something like a margarheta pizza, but with bunches of pepperoni, because things with spicy pork are better than things without spicy pork.

One last thing: Once your pizza is out of the oven — MOVE! Get out of the way so the next person in line can start baking theirs.