Hello Readers! Occasionally the Pink Apron takes a breather from all of her baking and cooking and allows me to take over the kitchen. No fear though- I do not touch baking as it is not my forte. I do however try to help with dinner when possible and I have a few helpful standby’s (Thank you Kraft Mac & Cheese and pretty much anything frozen that just needs to be microwaved…). On my favorites list is making pizza.
I have always loved making pizza at home and can remember even as a kid scrounging through cupboards so that I could make bagel or English muffin pizzas with things around the house. It’s a quick great way to make a meal and pizza is so versatile that you can spice it to your tastes and add the toppings you choose.
While making dough is on my bucket list I usually just use premade dough you can buy in the grocery store. The dough is the key to pizza and so make sure you try different dough’s as some are definitely better than others. A great tip is to visit a restaurant (like Bertucci’s) or a bakery to see if you can purchase some of their fresh dough- you will absolutely notice the difference.
Pizza dough typically must sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. It can be fairly sticky and so I usually take the dough ball, very lightly sprinkle it with flour or olive oil so that it doesn’t stick to any surfaces and place it in a bowl. You will also need to prep the surface that you are rolling or kneading the dough out on. While a cutting board or counter works the Pink Apron lent me her Magic Dough Pastry Mat which made the process a lot easier.
Once your dough has rested for 25 to 30 minutes you can start to shape it as you wish. While I used to try using a rolling pin I find getting your hands dirty will allow you to shape your dough as you want and you can feel the dough to make sure that you are achieving your desired thickness. Remember that for a typical crust you will need to leave a little extra dough at the outer ring of your pizza or roll your ends over to create a crust. A pizza rolled flat and even will bake flat and even.
One trick I have learned is to pre-bake the dough. After kneading your ball into the shape of your pizza place your dough in the oven at 425 degrees for 3-5 minutes or until the dough just starts to lose its tackiness. I find that most dough’s need longer to bake than is recommended on the packaging and the extra time in the oven will ensure you don’t bite into a pizza crust that tastes under-cooked.
For ease I use pizza sauce found in any grocery store and then spice it up a bit. A little garlic powder sprinkled onto your sauce after you have spread it onto your pizza will give you a great taste as will a little oregano. I then like to use a cheese blend to top my pizza (Trader Joes Quattro Formaggio tastes like it was meant for pizza making) and then place my oven into a 450 degree oven until the cheese is bubbling and slightly brown.
There you have it- a fairly quick and easy dinner or lunch idea and a great stepping stone to more gourmet and fancy pizzas in your future. Happy eating!