August 17, 2011

Double-Feature Pizza


One of the things Mike and I like to do in the summer is go to the drive-in. We always take our own snacks and dinner and veg out in our pajamas. They do the usual two movies, or three on the weekends, and every Tuesday they have a discounted price. We usually order a pizza and take it to go, but last summer we decided to make our own pizza and take it. We did the same thing last night. It's surprising how easy it is to make your own pizza, and you can make it however you want without the extra charge for toppings.

You'll want to make your dough ahead of time. I leave any dough-making for Michael because I'm not much of a baker and dough tends to get me frustrated. Instead, I'm in charge of toppings and sauce (fine by me).

What You'll Need - Dough:
4 1/2 C Bread Flour
2 t Salt
1 t Yeast
1/4 C Olive oil
1 3/4 C Ice water
Bread mixer

Mix all of the ingredients together in the bread mixer. Switch the machine to the "dough" setting and press start. Let it mix for and hour and a half. 
 When it's done, take it out and separate it into two (yes you get two pizzas), roll them into two separate balls, and put them in ziplock bags and place them in the fridge. It's best to leave them overnight but you can do a couple of hours too.

Test Pizza

Since we had two sets of dough, we decided to make a cheese test pizza for lunch.

What You'll Need:
1 dough roll
Favorite pizza sauce
8 oz of shredded Mozzarella cheese

While the dough was in the fridge Mike shredded the cheese.

Meanwhile I was getting the sauce ready. Warning - the sauce isn't very technical. It's more about the taste you prefer but mine is a good base to start with. 
This will be more than enough sauce for two pizzas.
2 8 oz. Cans of tomato sauce
1 1/2 t Chopped garlic
1/3 t Honey
1/4 t Salt
1/4 t Pepper
3 T of Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 t Oregano
1 t Basil
1 t Garlic powder 
*side note* If you use tomato paste instead of sauce, do 8 oz. of paste and 8 oz. of water.

Before you get your hands dirty, preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Now it's time to stretch out the dough. Like I said before, this is Mike's job. Start by putting some flour on the counter. The dough doesn't stretch out too big so don't worry if you have an apartment-sized kitchen like we do. Mike stretched the dough until it was around a 1/4 of an inch thick.

When it's stretched, put it on a big cookie sheet and put the sauce on. Put as much as you'd like (remember you made enough for more than two pizzas) and leave a 1 inch space around for the crust.

Put the cheese on, try not to munch off the plate... Place it in the oven and bake for about 10-15 minutes. You can sit on your kitchen floor, like we did, looking at it bake if you'd like.

Okay.... problem. Despite my best efforts to persuade him not to, Mike used a baking stone. I know lot's of people use them for even baking, blah, blah, blah, but I don't care for the things. I like things, especially my pizza, with some crunch. This didn't happen using the stone. Hey, I never said everything on my blog would be perfect... despite my best efforts. The pizza was delicious, don't get me wrong, but I could compare it to a frozen pizza. Everything was very one-note. Do you know what this means? We made another one *smiles.*
Of course we still ate it - even okay pizza is good pizza!
The Real Deal- Pizza Number 2

So after lunch, and a new game plan, we stepped it up. We made our favorite combo pizza - DELISH!! It's the same basic concept as the first pizza, with a few small adjustments.

What You'll Need:
1 Dough roll
My pizza sauce
1 Carton of mushrooms
1 sm Green bell pepper
1/2 package of Canadian Bacon (or sliced deli ham)
1 Red onion
8 oz. Mozzarella cheese
Olive oil

The first thing you want to do is cut your mushrooms into slices. I really advise doing this the night before so they dry out as much as possible. Whatever you do DO NOT WASH THEM UNDER WATER! If you do this then you'll have a big puddle of water in the middle of your pizza, it'll get soggy, and it's just bad - don't do it. Since we didn't do any prep the night before like we usually do, we cut the mushrooms, put them on a cookie sheet, and put them in the fridge, uncovered. 

If your watching a Giants game like we were, you won't be getting much done in terms of prep so we rushed our process a bit - luckily for us this is really easy. Not to mention we planned to leave to the drive-in at 8, and it was 7:00. Oops.

When you're ready, slice the veggies. You don't have to add ham or any meat if you want a vegetarian pizza, we've added some tomato and it's just as delicious. I don't eat a lot of meat so we used some Canadian Bacon for flavor (and breakfast the next day). It added just enough flavor.
He's going to chop off his fingers!!
I adore the color of these.
 Shred the cheese next...
 Take out the mushrooms...
 Here you go. Like I said, I usually like tomatoes on the pizza but this was still awesome.

Our next step was the dough (still Mike's job). Our new game plan was to make the middle of the pizza thinner so it would crisp up and the crust would be soft because it would be thicker. The best way to get this done is to spin the dough. 

We still used the baking stone (despite a disapproving girlfriend) but it was a lot better because the way we laid out the dough.

*****
How to tell if your pizza is the right size for your box:
We got a box from Mike's work so we could transport it to the drive-in. He showed me this is how you tell if it'll fit. It worked.
*****

Put the dough onto a floured cookie sheet. Add the (my) sauce, once again leaving a space around the edge for the crust...

Add the cheese and lay a thin layer of bacon. 

Add the rest of your veggies or other desired toppings. Then rub some olive oil around the crust.

Slide the pizza from the cookie sheet onto the baking stone (or not, in my opinion) but that's what we did. Once again bake for 10-15 minutes. I hope what you get is as awesome as what we got!
 Our new method worked! In fact this is exactly what we did last summer and it worked again. Maybe we shouldn't go as long without making pizza anymore. *smiles again.* The pizza was saucy and crispy. The vegetables were awesome together, too. Mike said it was almost as if the bell peppers and onions got sauteed because they game out really juicy and I agree. Letting the mushrooms air out for as long as we did helped too. We didn't have a gross puddle in the middle of our pizza. Success!
We were able to box up the pizza by 8:10 and get out the door. Mike got some pizza boxes from his work but I'm sure if you went to your local pizza place they could give you a box for a small fee or even for free. Now, go out and make your own pizzas!
Major foodie love!

5 comments:

  1. Thanks man. Let us know if you want to come up some some time we could make it for you, it's pretty easy.

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  2. Yum! Your pizzas look really good, especially the one with all those veggies!

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  3. Pizza is always good to have! I think the more veggies the better! Mmmm!

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