Handmade pizza is wonderful and my mother was a master! I, on the other hand, love homemade pizza but hate the work. This is where a bread maker comes to the rescue. A simple pizza recipe mixed in a machine and a little advance prep helps to erase any thought of calling for a fast-food pizza. The following is my method of keeping pizza making fast and easy.
Once a month, I pull out my bread machine (I have a double blade Zojirushi). I mix the simple crust recipe below and divide the dough into three equal portions. My husband and I like thin crispy crust pizzas so this recipe makes three 10 inch thin crusts. If you like a thicker crust you'll need to divide the dough into two or three portions. I freeze the three portions I don't plan to use is separate freezer bags.
ADD to bread machine in following order:
1 CUP of WATER
1 TABLESPOON of SUGAR
1 TABLESPOON of OLIVE OIL
1 TEASPOON SALT
ADD to the wet ingredients 2½ CUPS ALL-PURPOSE FLOUR (I always use King Arthur). Spread on top of the flour ONE PACKAGE of ACTIVE DRY YEAST (2 teaspoons). Set machine on dough setting and prepare toppings.
SAUCE: During the summer I garden and the tomatoes come in abundance. Like my mother and grandmothers I will take time to prepare pizza sauce and freeze. I freeze in small ball jars so I have a ½ cup for each pizza. When I run out of homemade sauce I buy canned. Contadina is our family favorite brand (see picture of squeeze bottle bottom of this page. More than wonderful! Refriegrate after opening).
TOPPINGS: To create a healthier pizza my mother always defatted and dehydrated toppings (see picture at bottom of this page). While I am waiting for the pizza dough to rise I fry up a pound of sausage, drain and split into four servings. I use one serving and freeze the remaining for future use. I chop the vegetable I plan to use and let sit on a paper towel for a few hours to slightly dry them.
Our favorite toppings are Italian sausage, pepperoni, onions, green peppers and mushrooms. Normally we use only one or two toppings per pizza: sausage and green pepper, sausage and onion, sausage and mushroom or just pepperoni. The final topping is mozzarella cheese (part skim).
Preheat a pizza stone in a 475 degree F oven. Once the pizza dough is ready, knead in just enough dough for easy handling. As detailed above split the dough into three balls (a tad more than 7 oz each...I weight them), setting one aside to use immediately. Freeze the remaining (spray the inside of a storage bag with olive oil and insert rounds. See picture at bottom of page). To create a pizza, roll out the dough to about 10-12 inches (Steve and and share a small pizza with a large salad as we are watching our calories in our old age). Place the dough round on a piece of parchment paper that you have spread on a pizza paddle or cutting board (see picture on right). Let rise for 1/2 hour. Add your toppings; sauce, meat, veggies and cheese (pictured right).
Slide parchment and pizza onto the preheated pizza stone (you can use a pizza pan or a cookie sheet. See bottom of this page for picture). After 2 or 3 minutes remove parchment from under pizza to crisp the bottom (pictured right). Continue to bake for 8 to 12 minutes. Pizza cooking time depends on your taste. We like the cheese to be medium brown with a crisp bottom. Experimenting is necessary as all ovens bake differently. Good luck and have fun! If you would have questions, don't hesitate to email or call me. I'd be happy to walk you through the process.
DEFAT MEAT TOPPING. I DEFAT PEPPERONI IN MICROWAVE ON PAPERTOWELS.
Use cookie sheet and two squares of parchment paper. Slide top parchment onto oven rack and remove after 2-3 minutes to crisp bottom. When pizza is baked slide ontp cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Cut and serve.
READY TO GO!
TIME TO EAT!