Like almost any American, I love pizza. I was always content to buy the refrigerated dough from Trader Joe's when making it at home, but this week I had a day off and decided to make pizza from scratch. I used Peter Reinhart's recipe (in The Bread Baker's Apprentice) for the crust, and although it needs to be refrigerated overnight, the amount of active time is very small. This would actually be a great Monday night dinner because you can get the dough started and the sauce made on Sunday, then everything will come together very quickly for dinner the next day.
The recipes included here make enough crust and sauce for 6 10" pizzas. However, both the dough and the sauce can be frozen and used whenever a pizza craving strikes. I used a little whole wheat flour in the crust, because I like the heartiness it adds, but you can easily use only all purpose flour if you prefer.
As far as toppings, the one on the left in the photo is sauteed spinach (with a little garlic and nutmeg), ricotta, and a sprinkling of mozzarella. The one on the right is the classic Canadian Bacon and pineapple. Use your imagination with the toppings, but remember that because the dough is so thin and delicate, two to three different items is probably all you'll want to include on each one.
4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp instant yeast (NOT one envelope!)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 3/4 cups ice water
The day before you plan to make pizza:
Stir together the flour, salt, and yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer.
Pour in the oil and water and stir until all the flour is absorbed.
With the dough hook attachment, mix on medium for 5-7 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and sticky and does not stick to the sides of the bowl (it should stick to the bottom). If it is sticking to the sides, add flour a tablespoon at a time until it clears the sides.
Place a piece of parchment on a sheet pan and lightly oil it.
Sprinkle some flour on the counter and place the dough on the floured workspace.
With a dough scraper, cut it into six equal piece.
With floured hands, shape each piece into a ball and place on the sheet pan.
Rub a little oil gently on each ball and cover the pan with plastic wrap.
Place in the fridge overnight.
(Alternatively, you can put each ball of dough in its own individual freezer bag with a little olive oil. They will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months and should be transfered to the fridge the day before you plan to use them. Then continue with the directions below)
The day you will bake the pizzas:
Remove the pan from the refrigerator 2 hours before the pizza will be baked, and lightly flour the counter.
Transfer the dough to the counter and press into 5-6" disks as shown below:
45 minutes before you will bake the pizza, turn the oven on as high as it will go.
Line a sheet pan with parchment and sprinkle with cornmeal.
Pick up one disk of dough and gently place it over your closed fists. Stretch it slowly and carefully while bouncing it gently. Continue until it looks something like this, and place it on the parchment:
Red Pizza Sauce
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1-2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
3 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tsp salt
1-2 tsp sugar
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
Add the garlic and cook, stirring, about 1 minute.
Add the can of tomatoes and stir in the fresh herbs.
Bring to a simmer, then add the salt and sugar.
Simmer 5 minutes.
Taste and adjust seasonings if necessary.
I am fine with chunkier sauce, but if you want yours really smooth, transfer to a blender or puree with an immersion blender.
Once the pizza is ready to go, bake for 6-10 minutes (depending on how hot your oven is). Remove, and cool for 2-3 minutes to let the cheese set, then slice and enjoy!