Thursday, June 14, 2007

Semi-Make-Ahead Pizza

I love pizza. We don't have a great takeout place nearby, so to properly scratch my itch, I have to make my own. I have toyed with a few different crust recipes and have now found my favorite: Matthew Amster-Burton's adaptation of a Julia Child recipe. Matt's full post on Bacon Jalapeno Pizza (yum!) and the Cornmeal Pizza Dough is here.

I make the dough ahead and then throw it in the freezer. You do need to plan ahead enough to defrost the dough, but that's about it. Go here to get the original dough recipe. The only thing I do differently is put the dough right into a baggie and throw it into the freezer.

Making the Pizza

On the day you want to make pizza, take the dough out and leave it on the counter for the day (at least 8 hours). Before and after (12 hours out of the freezer) below:

When you're ready to make the pizza, put your baking stone (you do have one, don't you?) in the oven and preheat it for at least 30 minutes (1 hour is better) at 450 degrees.

Lay a sheet of parchment paper on the counter and put the well risen dough in the center. Flour the dough well (it will still be very damp). Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out on the parchment paper (I always shoot for a circle, but my pizzas usually look a little like the state of Ohio). Add more flour if needed: you're aiming for an evenly thin circle of dough 12-14" in diameter.
Cut any excess parchment away and put the pizza on a peel or baking sheet. Dress your pizza to your taste (this pizza had asparagus, radicchio and sliced hot green peppers in addition to mozzarella and tomato sauce).

Slide your pizza into the oven. It will take no more than 8 minutes to bake through.


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