Basic Pizza Dough

This is a basic dough for the crust of a pizza. It is simple, and if you have a food processor, trivial to make, and gives good results.

I do recommend buying a kitchen scale if you are serious. Especially with flour and baked goods, measures by volume are pretty spotty.

This is from the NY Times Cooking area, and it is my go to recipe for a basic pie. I often make it without the Type 00 flour, and it comes out fine. If you have access to the type 00 flour, your crust will be smooth and chewy. Continue reading →

The Quest for the Perfect Pizza

My earliest recollection of Pizza was Round Table take out in the early 1970’s. At the time, Round Table was local to the SF Bay Area, and it wasn’t a terrible pie. However, it wasn’t inspiring.

Then sometime in the mid 70’s, we had pizza at a local place. I think it was called Anchors, or something similar. I do know it was at the end of Homestead Road where it hit Foothill Expressway. Continue reading →

Pizza Primero

Now I'm hungry
Now I’m hungry

One of my specialties is hand made pizza. I first came in contact with making pizza when I got a job at Chuck E. Cheese in the early 1980’s. Apart from the access to wicked cool video games, I got to learn how to build a pie.

Of course, Chuck E Cheese isn’t known for their pizza, but it was a start. Crust, sauce, cheese, toppings, in a very hot (550 – 600F) oven and 7-8 minutes later you have a bubbling gooey top, yet crisp crust.

My next exposure was at Florentines. There I was a bit more than just an assembly line like Chuck E Cheese. There, a single person was dedicated to making pizza per shift, and I learned about other toppings than the standard.

The tools are simple. A peel, pizza pans, a stone an oven that gets hot.

The Process

Dough balls ready to rise
Dough balls ready to rise

The foundation of a good pie is the crust. There are literally thousands of recipes on the art of making pizza. The one we used at Florentines was good, but it was a bit impractical for home use, as it started with a 50# sack of flour.

The recipe I use is a very basic one:

3 Cups All purpose flour
2 teaspoons fast rise yeast (I use the Fleishmann’s in the small jar)
2 teaspoons salt (I use kosher salt, but it really isn’t important)
2 tablespoons olive oil

In a food processor, with the standard blade, put the dry ingredients in. Start the processor, add the oil (I will admit that I don’t measure it, just a couple of glugs).

Then slowly pour in 1 cup cold water. You really want to trickle it in, so do be patient.

If the dough ball doesn’t form, add more water, one tablespoon at a time. If it is too wet, add flour one tablespoon at a time.

When you are done, you will have a nicely formed dough ball. Remove it from the food processor, and transfer it to a lightly floured surface. Knead it by hand for a couple minutes. Split into two equally sized pieces, and then place in a container and cover with a towel to let it rise.

After the dough is made, I begin to cook the ingredients. Today, I am making a pepperoni and sausage pie. Since I don’t have a very high BTU oven, that can get to 600F, I precook my sausage to ensure that it is properly cooked.

pizza-799% of the time, when I need shredded cheese, I use my trusty box grater. Not for pizza though. This is the one time I get out the grater blade for the food processor and let it rip. About 15 seconds for a full package of partially skim mozzarella.

Sauces – If I am making a margarita pizza, I will make a very simple sauce – canned tomatoes, olive oil, and some sea salt in a food processor. But for all others, I get lazy. Classico Tomato Basil spaghetti sauce is really good. Or I will make a white sauce pizza, again using a premade alfredo to start. Yes, I can (and have) made both, but for the small amount needed for a pie, it isn’t worth the effort.

The end result.

Tonight’s pies were the aforementioned pepperoni and sausage, and another staple of mine, a basil cream sauce with mozzarella and fresh tomato slices.