To think last week end we were walking around Washington DC and the weather was beautiful, spring like even! Today one week later it is cool and nasty out, last night it dipped down into the thirties here. In some parts of Northern Virginia today they say...SNOW! wow.
So what to do?
I say make home made dough, fire up the kitchen's oven, break out the pizza stone and make some pizza!
There is NOTHING better then the aroma of fresh dough rising in the kitchen on a cold rainy day, let me tell you! It brings back wonderful memories of my grandparents. Have I every mentioned that my Popa was a baker and that Nana loved to bake pies and bread after he passed?
It is one of my fondest memories of childhood. Mmmm, I can close my eyes and just conjure up that smell in my brain and the feel of the dough and my grandmothers hands in mine teaching me how to kneed and work the dough.
But now things have changed. I have my trusty Kitchen-aid mixer with dough hook to do most of my work for me! All I have to do is choose the right flour ( King Arthur Flour- my personal preference and I have not been compensated for the shout out to the King ) and make sure I add the right amount of water, yeast and salt and in the right order. The amount of flour when it comes down to it really is a feel thing I might add...
1. 1 cup warm water
2. 1 pack yeast
3. 1/2 tsp. salt
4. 21/2 to 3 cups flour
5. 1tbsp. olive oil (for the bowl)
Put the warm water in your mixer with your dough hooks attached, add the packet of yeast and let it proof until it gets bubbly like this. (this could take 5-10 minutes)
Turn on the mixer and add one cup of the flour, mix on low for about a minute then add the salt. Be sure not to add the salt before the flour is mixed well or it will kill the yeast.
Then add the flour bit by bit. It may hold the whole three cups or somewhat less so be sure to add a little at a time towards the end. The dough will take a while but be patient it will form a ball that will be moist but won't stick to your fingers. It will look like this on the dough hook.
Now it can be removed from the mixer and prepared for rising. Smooth out the dough ball and place it in a clean bowl which has been oiled with olive oil. Be sure to coat the dough with a bit of the oil too. This is what it should look like.
Now below I'm giving you a peek but remember the dough should be completely covered until it's doubled it's size. This should take about 11/2 hours but as little as an hour if the conditions in your kitchen are warm.
.While we're waiting for the dough to do it's stuff lets go over what ingredients we'll need to put the pizza together.
1. mozzarella cheese 4 oz per pizza
2. pizza sauce 1/4 c per pizza
3 fresh basil or parsley (optional)
4. oregano or Italian seasoning mix
5 crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
6. olive oil
The dough has risen and this is what it looks like. At this point the dough can be turned out on a floured surface and separated into three equal parts. Kneed each ball for a few minutes then let them rest while you grate the cheese and chop the herbs.
I usually put a drizzle of olive oil and spread it over my formed pizza before putting on the other ingredients. This is how it looks and then I go on to do the next steps....
then add the sauce......
then add the cheese and herbs ...
Place your pizza stone on the bottom of your oven after removing the racks. The oven needs to be set on 500 degrees and preheated well. Each oven is different so I can't say how long your pizza will take so keep an eye on yours!
And when your pizza is done, this is what it will look like...