Tag Archives: Pizza

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie… that’s Amore!

After winding down a fantastic 2 year anniversary, I decided to make my first deep dish Chicago style pizza. I used my cast iron (because I thought that’s what they did at Giordanos in Chicago). This worked wonderfully!

The first basic step is the dough. I’m not going to give explicit instructions because most people have their own preferred methods but I will give a couple of secrets.

  1. The yeast loves sugar, so I add a tiny bit to the luke-warm water used to activate the yeast.
  2. “Luke-warm” doesn’t mean room temp., and you’re not warming the water for a baby. For best results, use the hottest water possible from the tap.
  3. Add a little extra flavor to the dough. I like to add some bread dipping seasonings or even basil to the flour before I add the water and yeast. I also use the “well” approach as opposed to mixing the yeast in the flour.
  4. I only let it rise once. It will continue to rise a little while it’s in the cast-iron pan waiting for the fillings.
  5. Finally, when kneading it, if the dough doesn’t make your arms tired then it’s not firm enough. Add tiny amounts of flour to the surface and knead in. The dough should have the slightest tackiness to it.

Now that you have your dough, you’ll want to make sure that it doesn’t stick to the pan, so coat the pan with a healthy amount of olive oil.

Then after rolling the dough very thin, lay it in the cast-iron pan like you would any pie crust. Be sure to press out the air bubbles that will likely form under the dough. Cut off the remaining extra dough from around the edges.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.

Now comes the fun part, the toppings, or more appropriate for this deep-dish pie, “fillings!”

First start with a thin layer of cheese on the bottom so that the crust will not get ruined by the tomatoes that we are about to add.

Then top the cheese with slices of fresh tomatoes one layer thick. Add some dried basil to the top of the tomatoes.

Now add a good healthy layer of sausage, real or vegan. We like Tofurkey Italian Sausage. I have to admit, I was worried about the sausage breaking down in the sauce and would have preferred the real deal but in the end it worked out just fine.

Then add piles of mushrooms,more dabs of sauce, and some pasta seasonings. Then a layer red peppers and a few more dabs of sauce.

Next add tons of cheese. I mean go nuts with it! If you bought cheep cheese, that’s fine, just don’t go quite as nuts or your pie will be more rubbery than you would probably prefer. I prefer fresh mozzarella.

After you’ve stuffed your pan almost as far as it will go, use the remaining dough to add a top crust to the pie. Be sure to pinch off the border like any sweet pie.

*WARNING* Don’t follow the picture to the right. Bonus points for if you already know why.

What you should do at this point (and I didn’t realize until I was literally placing this 50lb monstrosity of delight into the fires of Mordor) is butter the top of the crust and sprinkle with a little bit of garlic salt. I mistakenly added sauce and cheese to the top before placing it in the oven. This of course burned the cheese on the top early on (but it was still delicious!).

Place your pie in the 500 degree oven and set a timer for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, drop the temp by 100 degrees and let it go for another 30 minutes.

5 minutes before removing from the oven, top the pie with a little bit of sauce and cheese. Don’t go crazy with the cheese at this point, just a sprinkle a bit of mozzarella and parmesan.

When I took mine out, it didn’t stick to the pan one bit and I could spin it around with ease. Let it cool for 5 mins and then then serve. Here’s a tricky serving method (which I don’t recommend!) but I used a plate to flip the pizza out of the pan. Place the plate on top of the pie, press them together, flip the pie onto the plate, then cover with another plate and flip again.

Bingo-bango, you now have a Chicago style pizza, a happy belly, a fantastic smelling house and a beautiful best friend swooning. We enjoyed our pizza pie with some “Betty Faye” wine from Gregory Vineyards. Slightly sweet with a terrific flavor.

Thanks my love for an amazing 2 years! I can’t wait to see what cooking adventures we will have in the years to come!

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Pizza Crust – The Stuff Dreams Are Made of

Pizza on a PaddleIt seems that making pizza at home has become commonplace. After all, you can buy pizza sauce in a jar, throw on some mozzarella, pepperonis, and your other fav toppings and boom you’re done! Oh wait, there’s that one pesky ingredient called the crust, that is oh-so-difficult. Plenty of easy substitutions have cropped up, like Pillsbury rolls dough in a can or Boboli. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes these options are quick, easy, and yummy enough to get by. But what if you could have *real* crust at home? Just like they make in the pizzeria down the street? Trust me, it’s even better than Di’Giorno.

Doug has been working on the perfect crust for about a year now. We’ve had pizza on the grill and pizza from the oven, but both require one important point: high heat. If you crank up your oven to about 500 degrees, it guarantees the crust will crisp and puff just the right way, rather than getting soggy and sad.

Our other recommendation is to find yourself a good pizza stone, and even a wooden pizza paddle if you can splurge a little. We found ours on Amazon. If you own a paddle, you can preheat the pizza stone inside the oven while you work on the dough.

When making the dough, add your flour into a big bowl, and make a well in the middle. Add 1 tsp of sugar (a buffet for yeast) and 1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast. You definitely don’t want to skimp here; poor quality yeast will disappoint you every time. Then add 1 cup of hot water from the tap, about 110 degrees. Cover the bowl with a towel, and give it about 15 minutes to gorge on the sugar water. THEN begin stirring the water/yeast mixture into the flour, until a stiff dough forms. Then begin the kneading process (we figured a video is easier to follow than photos!) Once you’ve thoroughly kneaded your dough, cover it with a towel again, and wait another 30 minutes. It should double in size.

Congrats! The hard part is over! You don’t actually need to toss it in the air like Doug, you can just roll it out. Be sure to throw some cornmeal under the dough before baking so it doesn’t stick to the surface. Top with sauce, cheese, and your favorite toppings, bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Bon appétit!

Makin' some serious dough.

Makin' some serious dough.

Mama Mia, Pizzeria!

This can take some practice, but isn't required. You can just roll it out if you aren't feeling daredevil with your dough.

Cornmeal keeps the dough from sticking to the stone

Cornmeal keeps the dough from sticking to the paddle. Your stone should be preheating in the oven. Use the paddle to shimmy the pizza onto the stone in the oven.

Pizza

Just look at that crust! Crispy, fluffy, divine.

You can make outstanding pizza from home!

You too can make outstanding pizza from home!

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