This was always a favorite when my son was little and now that he's older he still comes over to snag a few pieces. As with everything else I'm trying to be really diligent in measurements since I tend to measure by taste and the "more or less" method. It's no wonder our grandmothers never left their recipes for us. They probably never wrote them down.
- 1 tbsp dry active yeast - one packet or a heaping spoonful from the jar in the fridge
- 5 count of honey (about 1 tbsp)
- 1 cup of water heated to 115-120 degrees - go ahead and use a thermometer if you must - I take mine out of the tap hot and then cool down to touch by stirring with a spoon if needed.
Using a 2 cup liquid measuring cup, measure out your water. Add your honey - I say "a 5 count" since I'm squeezing this from a fancy "honey bear". Throw in the yeast and stir everything together. Let this sit until it starts to rise above the glass.
Some people would scream with disgust at the idea of stirring the yeast mixture, but hey, remember I'm using honey from a fancy bear too! Let the screaming begin. I'm sure it really can't matter all that much especially when I'm getting such terrific results with my dough.
- 2 cups flour (more or less)
- 1/2 tsp salt
In your Kitchen Aid, put the flour and salt and the yeast mixture. Mix well and then scrape from the sides of the bowl and paddle. (The dough should feel light, soft, and moist... sticky. If it's tough to the touch at all add a bit more water and remix.) Leave in the bowl and cover with a towel until double in size. Mix again in the kitchen aid for about a minute. Cover and let sit until double. While this is sitting, turn your oven to 450 degrees and place your pizza stone on the center rack. I turn my stone upside down since it has handles that don't accommodate the size of the pizza pan.
Flour your pan. Turn your dough out onto your pan, knead until it holds it's shape. The whole point of kneading the dough is for the gluten to do it's job and firm up - not be all loose goosey like it was just after the first spin in the KA. If done properly you should be able to play catch with this across the kitchen without making a mess - but I digress. Shape this into a smooth ball, and then flatten gently with the palm of your hand. Gently work this into a larger and larger circle using the tips of your fingers working from the center to the edge and spinning the pan as you work. Using this technique you will find the edges forming a natural crust shape. You don't have to throw the dough to get a nice edge, but what the heck, have some fun. DO NOT USE A ROLLING PIN. That would just be embarrassing. (Heck, for that matter just go and buy a Pillsbury crust.)
Now your crust is ready for toppings. This is the best part since there is such a variety of what you can add.
For my traditional pizza, I start off by spooning on a cheap tomato sauce, generously adding cheese, layering pepperoni, and then spooning on the sautéed mushroom, burger, sausage mixture. Next the sliced onions and black olives.
For my white pizza, I start with rubbing the dough with olive oil and garlic, spreading this generously with ricotta cheese, and then a healthy layer of shredded mozzarella. On top of this I make three concentric circles of spiced, steamed spinach. The last to be added is a sprinkling of crushed red pepper.
Now for the important part:
- Let your pizza sit and rest for a few minutes before putting it in the oven.
- Once your pizza is done - 15/20 minutes - slide it off onto the cutting board and let it rest once more prior to slicing.
- Be first in line so you can get the most fabulous piece!