Monday, January 30, 2006

Birfcake? No, I'll Have Pizza!

Happy Birfcake to Michael---
Can't believe it, he's getting so old! He was asleep when I got home today, and almost refused to talk to Lauren when she called. Finally, when he was conscious, he made his dinner request known---PIZZA! "And not the kind I have to go out and get!" he barked. Which according to him means driving to Angelo's in Alhambra, no delivery. That tiny Italian restaurant makes quite a formidable pie, and driving home requires someone to ride shotgun, even for the medium. Anything larger and you can feed the whole block, no lie! Angelo's is the only reason to go out to buy a pizza. We usually end up making one at home. So while the dough is rising, this is a good opportunity to get today's post done with the formula for our homemade pizza. It is actually a lot easier than you would think, and you can make it simple with cheese, tomato, and herbs, or jazz it up with all your favorite toppings.
Happy Birfcake to you!

MICHAEL'S PIZZA - from an old family recipe
Dough -
1 pound unbleached all-purpose flour (approximately 3 to 4 cups, level measure)
2 tablespoons olive oil (plus extra for proofing bowl and baking the pizza)
2 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast, from Smart & Final
1/2 teaspoon pure honey
8 ounces lukewarm filtered water or tap water if you live outside So.Cal.
1 teaspoon kosher salt
Toppings -
8 ounces sliced provolone cheese
1 cup homemade or jar sauce like Francesco Rinaldi
8 ounces sliced pepperoni or salami
8 ounces freshly grated mozzarella cheese
4 ounces finely grated parmesean cheese
2 links hot Italian sausage, casing removed, crumbled (Claro's fresh sausage preferred)
additional toppings as desired, such as
fresh herbs, mushrooms, onions, peppers and more
cornmeal for dusting pizza pan

Place all dough ingredients into bowl of KA stand mixer with the hook attachment. Combine for about 2 to 3 minutes on lowest speed. Set timer for five minutes and turn mixer to speed number 2. Do not go above this speed or you risk burninating your mixer. Prepare a large stainless steel bowl with about three tablespoons of olive oil. After about five minutes of kneading, dough should look smooth and become wrapped around the dough hook. Remove dough, form into a smooth round shape and place into prepared bowl, turning once to coat. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap, cover with a towel, and set in a warm place to proof till double in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
When doubled, remove plastic and lightly press down on dough releasing some of the air. Place on a well-floured surface and roll out into rectangle for half sheet pan, or into round pizza pie pan shape. If you like thick crust, make one pizza. For thin crust, cut dough with a bench scraper or large spatula and make two. Sprinkle a bit of corn meal on bottom of pizza pan and place dough on pan, lightly pressing to fit. To add toppings, first lay slices of provolone on dough, this prevents a soggy bottom. Then spoon just enough sauce over surface, spreading with the back of the spoon. Add your toppings as desired, finishing with finely grated parmesean cheese. Drizzle additional olive oil on pizza and edges of crust. Place in a 450F degree oven for about 15 minutes. Check at 10 minutes and turn pan from back to front if needed to prevent uneven browning. Let cool slightly before cutting into slices. Tutti mangia!

No comments: