Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Pizza. Crust.

A few years ago I went out on a date. This was back when I lived in Vancouver and had frizzier hair (if that is even possible.) This was back when I had just started trolling around Portland discovering all things culinary.

My date asked if I knew a good pizza restaurant we could go to.

That poor, poor boy.

Not only did I know of a place, I knew of about twenty depending on what specifically he was craving. There was Pizzacato which served up gourmet pies in a sit down atmosphere. There was Escape from New York Pizza where you could get a large, foldable slice AND attitude from the owner at a reasonable price. There were your given delivery pizza places. Elephants does nice pies if you are willing to wait for them to cook it in their wood fire oven. But the crust and the fresh basil they use makes the wait worth it. The same could be said for beaches, which has a great barbecue chicken pizza and a view of the Columbia...

Looking back, I think this is the point that I lost him.

I got the deer-in-the-headlights-I-just-asked-to-be-poilite-you pizza-obsessed- freak look. Never a good sign.

Saying Hannah, we eat to live not live to eat... that is a worse sign.

Needless to say, we didn't last.

In the years since this date I have expanded my list of pizza options. Need a pizza place in eastern Washington, Vermont or North Carolina? Seattle maybe? I am your girl. I also taught myself how to make a pretty decent pizza.


Yeast, warm water and a little sugar sit until bubbly (this means your yeast will do its job).


This is what it looks like to 1. Make a well and 2. Pour the yeast mixture into said well


Knead until it looks like this.


Oil a bowl, turn dough to coat in oil and then cover and allow to rise.


It will look like this.


This is naked pizza dough. It is self conscious. Cover it up with delicious toppings asap.


There will be extra dough trimmings. It is up to you whether you turn those into garlic knots. I suggest you do.


Feel free to add "my house" to the list of viable pizza places.


Pizza
Stuff:
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 cup warm water
2 1/2 c AP flour, plus more for dusting
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
pizza toppings
cornmeal
compound butter (for crust)

How-to:
1. Dissolve yeast and sugar with warm water (until bubbly about 5 min)
2.In a large bowl mix flour and salt then make a well in the center of dry ingredients
3. Pour yeast mixture and oil into the well and mix until the dough comes together (add more flour depending on consistency you want it to be elastic and slightly sticky)
4. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 6 minutes to develop gluten in the dough (this will make it chewy)
5. Mist a large bowl with cooking spray and place dough in bowl, turning over once to coat
6. Allow to rest, covered witha tea towel for about an hour in a warm, dry place
7. After an hour of resting, roll dough out to about a 12" pizza crust
8. Transfer dough to a cookie sheet or baking pan lined with parchment and sprinkled with corn meal
9. Add pizza toppings and bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes and salt. Create a small well in the center of the flour mixture.

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