Easy Pizza Dough – Great Pizza at Beechwood Inn

Easy Pizza Dough – Great Pizza at Beechwood Inn: Thin, crisp crusts like this one are the hallmarks of much of Italy’s pizza. Another vital element is not overloading the pie with toppings; less is definitely more on pizza. This dough goes together quickly and can be used after a single rising. If time is very short, blend, knead, rest for 30 minutes, and roll out.

Easy Pizza Dough – Great Pizza at Beechwood Inn

Pizza Margherita

Thin, crisp crusts like this one are the hallmarks of much of Italy’s pizza. Another vital element is not overloading the pie with toppings; less is definitely more on pizza. This dough goes together quickly and can be used after a single rising. If time is very short, blend, knead, rest for 30 minutes, and roll out.

Surprisingly, we’ve found because of the extra-thin crust and spare toppings, these pizzas actually reheat remarkably well, so cooking ahead by several hours is an option.

Makes 2 10 to 11-inch pizzas

Ingredients

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water (110ºF)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup lukewarm water (110ºF)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Easy Pizza Dough – Great Pizza at Beechwood inn

Instructions

To make a sponge, combine 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons lukewarm water, yeast and 1/4 cup of the flour in a large bowl. Let stand for 20 minutes until it bubbles up. Add the remaining 1 3/4 cup flour, 1/2 cup lukewarm water and salt. Stir together with a wooden spoon to mix the dough thoroughly. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead the dough for 10 minutes until it is soft yet still very moist. Oil a bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and turn it over to coat it with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap tightly and a towel and put in a warm place, at least 70º to 75ºF. Let it rise for 2 hours or until it has doubled in size.

Pizza Toppings:

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Sauce:

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

5 cloves whole garlic, peeled and crushed with the side of a knife

2 Red Peppers

1 pound tomatoes, about 1 cup, peeled, seeded and chopped, fresh or canned

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup grated Parmagiano Reggiano

20 large basil leaves, cut into thin strips

 

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 medium onion, minced

½ pound local sausage or pepperoni

1 large clove garlic, minced

½ teaspoon oregano

1 teaspoon fresh rosemary

1/3 cup packed fresh basil leaves, chiffonade

3 ounces fresh shredded mozzarella

2 ounces shredded parmesan

2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper and salt

For the sauce, roast the peppers under the broiler until the skin is dark brown all over and toasty. Immediately place the peppers in a sealed container to steam. When cool enough to handle rinse the peppers peel off the toasted skin. Place the peppers in a Vita Prep with 1 can crushed tomatoes and process until smooth.

Warm the olive oil in a sauce pan over medium high heat. Add the garlic and cook stirring frequently, until light golden, about 3 minutes. Remove the garlic with a slotted spoon and discard. Reduce the heat to medium low; add the pepper and tomato sauce and cook just until nice and thick, about 1 hour. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

More Variations: Sparingly is the operative word here. Use any of the following flavorings, but only enough to flavor, not overwhelm: Sliced red onion, pitted olives, pepperoni, anchovy, sliced mushrooms, steamed broccoli or cauliflower, salami, prosciutto, pancetta, roasted peppers, shrimp, cooked Italian sausage, hot pepper, fresh herbs such as marjoram, oregano, mint, garlic, rosemary, or sage.

Thirty minutes before baking, place a pizza stone or unglazed quarry tiles on the bottom shelf of the oven and set the oven temperature to 450°F.

Punch down the dough. On a floured surface, divide the dough into 2 pieces and form into balls. Roll 1 piece into a 10-inch circle, 3/8 inch thick. Transfer to a heavily floured pizza peel. Spread half of the tomato sauce on top of the dough to within 1/2 inch of the edge. Sprinkle with half of the cheese. Add torn basil. Add any other ingredients you chose. Slide the pizza onto the pizza stone and bake until golden and crisp,10 to 12 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

Prepare the second pizza. – Easy Pizza Dough – Great Pizza at Beechwood Inn

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