One of the first things The Beloved and I do when we move to a new place is to find the best local pizza place we can and Buy From Them. We'd rather support a local, stand alone than a Crazy Big Chain operation. The place we have found in NC is a little place called Papa's Pizza and Subs. They don't have a website, so you'll just have to trust me. It is G-U-D good.
We order from Papa about twice a month, and we have been Very Pleased--even their delivery guys are really good. Yay.
There was a time though--a Sad and Dark time--when we didn't have a good local pizza place near us. The only thing to do was make our own. Even now, with Papa's down the road, we might have a hankering for pizza brushed with truffle oil sometime, and then we'll just make some.
Here's the recipe we used at one of the restaurants I worked at, scaled down so you don't have to make a billion pizzas.* You're welcome.
Easy Pizza Crust
- 4 oz high gluten or bread flour
- 4 oz AP flour
- 4 oz water
- 1/3 oz fresh yeast or 3 g. dry yeast
- 1/2 oz. extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 oz salt (7 g)
Just put everything in the mixer with the dough hook and mix/knead on medium-low speed for 8 minutes and medium speed for 4 minutes. Divide dough in half, round and cover. Let rise until doubled, then roll out/stretch, top and bake. If you want a chewier crust, top the pizza, cover and let rise again for about 30 minutes before baking.
Yes, I guess you can buy pizza sauce, but it's really easy to make. I usually use San Marzano tomatoes or Romas--canned--a fair amount of olive oil, onions, garlic, tomato paste, pepper flake, salt, pepper, lots of oregano, thyme and basil. Here's how:
- Sweat onions and garlic in olive oil until softened and translucent.
- Add tomato paste, salt, pepper, pepper flake and dried herbs and continue to cook over medium heat for another minute or two.
- Add the undrained tomatoes and mash in the pan.
- Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning. You're only going to be using a small amount of sauce on a pizza, so it should be very flavorful. Add a pinch of sugar or a splash of balsamic if the flavor seems dull.
- Puree with an immersion blender, blender or food processor until it's as smooth as you want it. For a nice, even texture, run it through a food mill with the medium disc in place.
Other Things to Spread on Pizza Dough Besides Tomato Sauce
- Barbecue Sauce
- Sweet and sour sauce
- Steak sauce
- olive oil
- Alfredo sauce
- Plum sauce
- Chimichuri sauce
Tasty Items to Put on Pizza
If you like it, you can probably put it on a pizza. I usually decide on my "spread" first and then choose toppings that will complement it. Of course, you can choose your toppings first and then choose your spread. Whatever works for you.
- Less is more--don't overload the dough--you want to taste the bread once it's baked.
- Bake the pizza on a pizza stone or quarry tile close to the bottom of the oven.
- Bake at the highest temperature your oven will go. Mine goes to 525F.
- If you have a pizza peel, lightly sprinkle it with cornmeal before building the pizza on it. Shake it often to make sure it's not sticking. When you're ready to bake, transfer the pizza from the peel to the baking stone by placing the end of the peel at the far end of the stone and shaking/jerking the peel back towards you.
And there you have it.
*a true 1x recipe makes 27 6oz. rounds. I generally made x2 or even x3. Every. Day.