Story of the Week – wk 11 (and Recipe)

Pizza Night

Pizza Night

In my home, every Friday night is pizza night.  But rather than order out I make pizza, which is better than anything we can order in or get at the restaurants in our area.  No bragging, just the truth.  There is something to be said about cooking food with high quality ingredients and love; the latter does comes through in the taste test.

The Pizza Parlor by IH Rea – 6.28.14 is a short-story inspired by my longing for slow food cooked in love and nourishing to the body and soul.  And, as a bonus to those who read my stories, below is my recipe (a family and friends favorite) to add to your family traditions.

Bon appetite!

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Mighty Fine Pizza Crust (makes two 12″ thin crusts or 1 large thicker crust)

This pizza crust is a friends and family favorite that yields a toothsome crust that is neither tough or soggy.

3 1/2 Cups flour

1/2 C + 3/4 C very warm water

1 packet yeast

1 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Instructions:

Dissolve the yeast packet into 1/2 C of very warm water and set aside for 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a stand mixer (with dough hook) combine the flour, salt and sugar and mix until blended.

With the mixer running add the yeast mixture, the olive oil, and begin pouring in the 3/4 C of warm water. Note: it is important to know how damp your flour is. In more humid weather you may need less water. In dry weather, you may need all of it or more. The goal is to knead the dough until it is smooth and no longer sticks to the bowl.   It should be pliable and silky, versus stiff, soggy or clumpy.

Turn the dough out into a clean bowl coated in olive oil and flip the dough once so that it is fully coated. Then cover with a cloth towel and put in a warm place until it rises and doubles. Quick trick: turn the oven on to 200 degrees until warm then turn off before placing dough inside to rise. Make sure the oven does not get too hot or the dough will cook.

When dough doubles, punch down and let rest for 5-10 minutes then spread onto a pizza stone or cookie sheet (or divide into 2 balls).  Note:  Dough can be frozen and thawed in the fridge, but can be sticky. Be sure to let rise a little in a warm spot. And use well-oiled hands when spreading.

I always put down a layer of good extra-virgin olive oil before proceeding to add other ingredients. Top with your favorite sauce and ingredients and bake at 400 degrees for 13-15 minutes, depending on your preferred level of doneness.

For lower gluten flour (I use einkorn, which is less allergenic – available from Jovial), you will need less water and less kneading, since the dough is more fragile. It is also tricky (less sturdy and more sticky) to press out onto the pizza stone, but the light, crispy crust is worth the extra diligence (and well-oiled hands).

What are your thoughts?