The Cooking With Heat kitchen is rife with conflict over pizza toppings. Some of us would dare to introduce sweet fruit in the cheesey, meaty, tomato-y mix, while the more noble denizens of CWH-land aim higher, for savory satisfaction. (Seriously, even Gordon Ramsay thinks pineapple on pizza is awful)
This week, however, we put our differences aside and settled on creative toppings that didn't break Ramsay's laws of Pizza Dynamics. Of course, there's the standard pepperoni/basil/mozz mix, but our finale involved a newcomer to the kitchen- Taco Pizza.
- 12 oz warm water (110ºF)
- 1 1/4oz packet of yeast
- 1/8 teaspoon sugar
- 3 1/2 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon fine grain salt
Preheat your oven to 550º, or as high as it will go. Place a baking steel or pizza stone in the center rack.
Add a packet of yeast and an eighth of a teaspoon of sugar to the 12 oz. of warm water and let the yeast proof. You'll know it's ready when tiny bubbles form and the mixture smells like bread.
Mix 3 1/2 cups of flour, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1 tablespoon fine grain salt in a large bowl and make a mound in the center.
Pour the yeast mixture in the outside of the mountain of flour and stir it in slowly from the outside with a wooden spoon until the mountain eventually breaks. At this point you'll need to stir vigorously until the dough is fully integrated and no longer sticky.
Flour your workspace and knead the dough by pressing the palm of your hand into it with some weight and then folding it over on itself. Continue until the dough has some elasticity. It should slowly bounce back when you press your thumb into it gently.
Divide the dough into four equal sized portions and form seamless dough balls by folding the balls in on themselves several times. Seal the seam on each dough ball making an almost empanada-like shape around the outside of the dough ball.
Place the dough balls into oiled deli containers and lid tightly. Allow to rise for about 1 hour.
Put dough ball onto floured surface and sprinkle with additional flour. Gently pat the dough with your fingertips to begin to flatten it. Pick up the dough and stretch it by rotating it between your thumb and fingers using gravity to stretch it.
Once stretched, put the dough on a pizza peel and add sauce and toppings.
Cook in 550 degree oven until golden brown and delicious. The pizza should only take about 6 minutes if cooked on a baking steel.
A Note on Toppings
It may be tempting to slather a heaping spoonful of pizza sauce onto the stretched dough, but be conservative! A crust can easily get soggy to the core with too much sauce, so don't go overboard. For a 8-12" pie, you won't want more than 1/4 cup of tomato sauce. Whether you make it yourself or spoon it out from a jar, don't go sauce crazy.
Also, remember that many sausage/pepperoni toppings create extra oils. You may want to skimp even further on sauce if you're adding additional meat-things to your pie