Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"Crash Night"

When my kids were younger we'd have crash night on Fridays when we weren't off to other activities. that meant pizza and movies. Here's a recipe from Baking Basics and Beyond for a simple and great pizza crust. You your favorite toppings or those below. .

Basic Pizza

Homemade crust makes “pizza night’ an occasion the whole family will look forward to. Spread the sauce on the pre-baked crust and let everyone choose his or her own toppings. When I only need one pizza, I pre-bake the second crust and freeze it. With a crust from the freezer, homemade pizza arrives faster than delivery!

MAKES 2 (12-inch) PIZZAS

basic pizza Crust
1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105–115°F)
3 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil

1 (15-ounce) can pizza sauce
2–3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
�Pizza toppings: cooked Italian sausage, chopped green peppers, sliced mushrooms, olives, etc.

basic pizza Crust
Sprinkle yeast over warm water in small bowl and let stand about 5 minutes. Combine 2 1/2 cups flour, sugar, and salt in large bowl. Stir in yeast mixture and olive oil. Continue stirring until flour is absorbed. Stir in remaining flour until a soft dough is formed. Dough will be sticky to start with, but after kneading it becomes easier to handle.
Place dough on well-floured surface and shape it into a ball. Place your fingers on top of dough ball, curled slightly, and pull dough toward you; then push it away, using palms of your hands. Turn dough 1/4 turn and repeat. Knead dough 6 to 8 minutes or until it is smooth and elastic.
To judge whether dough has been sufficiently kneaded, place it on work surface, pull both ends gently, and release. Dough should be elastic and spring back. Little blisters of air should be visible just under the surface.
If dough is sticky, gradually add flour while kneading. Do not use more than 3 cups flour, total. Shape dough into a ball by pulling sides underneath forming a smooth top. Cover dough and let it rest while you prepare toppings. I just invert a bowl over the dough for this short rest.
Heat oven to 450°F. For crispest crust, place rack toward bottom of oven.
Grease two 12-inch pizza pans. Leave about 1 inch around edge of each pan ungreased so dough has something to cling to as it is stretched to fill pan. Place half of dough in center of each pan, and push it out to pan edges, rotating pan as you go. Form a raised edge around the crust’s perimeter.
Bake crusts 7 to 10 minutes or until they are just beginning to brown. Remove from oven. (The crusts can be frozen at this point. Cool to room temperature and wrap tightly before freezing.)

Spread 1 cup pizza sauce over each crust and add toppings. Sprinkle 1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese over each pizza. Bake 7 to 10 minutes longer until cheese is melted and crust is browned. Cool slightly before cutting.

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