~ "By wisdom a house is built, and through understanding it is established; Through knowledge its rooms are filled with rare and beautiful treasures." ~ "Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing" ~ "But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy." ~ "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."~

Monday, November 10, 2008

Pizza Margherita (America's Test Kitchen)

America's Test Kitchen Pizza Crust...This version of Pizza Margherita comes from America's Test Kitchen Baking cookbook. I shouldn't really call it Pizza Margherita because, I added some thinly sliced mushrooms, some thinly sliced onion and some chopped bell peppers. But , you can do a classical one by sticking to only cheese, tomato and basil. I have to admit that I changed a few things. Ok, I just used the dough recipe and added my own toppings:) ...

I really liked this pizza...I noticed that the leftovers were even better. I had never used a food processor to make bread doughs ...always trusted my Kitchen Aid to do the task. But, I must admit this dough fared very well and I liked the fact that it worked! I was also intrigued with the recipe in that it called for a cup of cake flour. The dough came out crusty and chewy and kind of light ...I really don't know if the cake flour was the reason. I will have to try it again without the cake flour and just do a substitution. 1 cup cake flour= 7/8 flour + 2 TBS cornstarch.

Recently, I have been using my pizza stone quite often. I really am becoming a firm believer that the stone makes a huge difference in the outcome of the crust ...be it bread or pizza. Well, here is the recipe with my own variation. Hope you enjoy...  

Note: This has become my favorite pizza crust by far... love the light texture, and slight chew. Better than Papa John's:)! Here is a couple of new photos...

Dough Ingredients : will make 2 (10-12 inch) pizzas
  • 1 3/4 - 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 cup cake flour* 
  • 2 tsps sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp table salt (not kosher)
  • 1 1/4 tsp instant yeast or rapid rise
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degF)
*I normally use AP flour & substitute 2 TBS of the flour with 2 TBS cornstarch
Topping: (my version...but you can use what you prefer)
  • pizza sauce( I like to cook mine down a bit so it isn't too watery)
  • 1-2 Roma tomatoes sliced thinly and patted dry
  • thinly sliced onion
  • diced bell peppers
  • thinly sliced mushrooms
  • shredded mozarella
  • 3-4 garlic cloves minced
  • 2- 3 TBS oil for brushing the edge of the pizza and to saute some garlic
  • kosher salt to sprinkle on top of baked pizza
  • fresh or dried basil, for sprinkling on top
Directions for the Dough:
1. Pulse 1 3/4 cups of the AP flour, 1 cup cake flour, sugar, table salt, and yeast in a food processor (fitted with a dough blade if possible( I used the regular blade) to combine.
2. With the processor running, pour the water through the feed tube and process until a rough ball forms, about 30- 40 seconds.
3. Let the dough rest for 2 minutes, then process for 30 sec. longer. If after 30 seconds, the dough is sticky and clings to the blade, add the remaining 1/4 flour 1 TBS at a time as needed. (I noticed that I didn't need to add the extra flour).
4.Turn the dough onto a lightly floured counter and shape it into a smooth , tight ball.
5. Place the dough in a large lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly with a greased plastic wrap. Let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size~ 1 to 1 1/2 hrs.
6. In the meantime, in a skillet on low, saute some minced garlic in 2-3 TBS of olive oil. Keep the heat on low so as not to burn. You want a mellow garlic. This step was my version so you can skip it if you want.
7. Adjust oven to the lower middle rack , place a baking stone on the rack and heat the oven to 500 degrees. Let the baking stone heat for 30 minutes( but no longer than 1 hr~so heat it about halfway through the rise time of the dough)
8. Line a rimless (or inverted) baking sheet with parchment paper (this helps tremendously!). I used a pizza peel instead of the baking sheet.
9. Turn the dough out unto a lightly floured counter, divide it into 2 equal pieces and cover with greased plastic wrap.
10. Working with one piece, press and roll the dough into a 12 inch round on a lightly floured counter. (I noticed if you just press and roll it directly on the parchment is saves you a step from transferring the dough.)
11.Transfer the dough to a piece of parchment paper and reshape as needed. Make an indented rim around the whole pizza.
12. Lightly brush the dough with the oil and garlic. Keep the garlic in the inner circle of the dough trying not to put any garlic on the rim of the pizza dough~ so as not to burn the garlic in the oven.
13.The original recipe had you par bake the dough for 5 minutes. I didn't ...
I also let the dough rest for 5- 10 minutes so that it puffs up a bit after all the rolling. Again, the original recipe doesn't have you do this.
14. Sprinkle some cheese, add toppings and slide the parchment and pizza onto the hot baking stone.
15. Bake for 8-12 minutes total. Depending how thick or thin you spread out the dough. I noticed mine was good at 10 minutes.
16. Transfer pizza unto cutting board sprinkle with basil some kosher salt(this helps a great deal~ it brings out the flavors).
17. Drizzle with 1 tsp olive oil. ( you can omit if you like)
You will notice the bottom crust of the pizza dough is nicely browned and crisp~due to the baking stone.
If you are baking both pizzas on the same day, let the baking stone reheat for 5 minutes before putting the second dough. I put my second piece of dough in the refrigerator and used it the next day. Just let it come to room temp before using it and let it rise a bit.


Adrienne said...

I just have to let you know, I stumbled upon your blog a few days ago and I LOVE it. We tried the pizza dough(we used bacon, cheese and sauce as toppings) and it was the BEST pizza! I'm eating the leftovers right now and I think it's even better today. We love making pizza at home, but it always came out kind of...blah. Not this time...thank you for sharing!

Ellie said...

Adrienne, It was so sweet of you to stop by and share your feedback. I am so glad you liked the pizza, too:). Oh, the bacon and cheese with sauces sounds incredible! I really appreciate your comment...always love it when a reader shares their feedback. Have a wonderful day.~Ellie

Unknown said...

I just came across your blog for the pizza dough recipe. I tried it but added a tablespoon of olive oil before adding the water because most recipes call for olive oil and I thought yours might have accidentlly left it out. I had a hard time pressing/rolling the dough out, it kept shrinking back to a small circle. Was that caused from adding oil? This turned out to be the best homemade pizza crust. I loved it.

Ellie said...

Mike, Super happy to hear you tried the pizza dough recipe. Even though this particular recipe doesn't call for oil in the dough, adding only 1 tablespoon oil shouldn't affect the dough too much... just makes the dough a bit more tender, adds flavor and actually helps the dough stretch easier:).

But the dough refusing to stretch in a circle is often encountered in most doughs... It helps to stretch the dough as much as you can, and when you see it stretching back allow it to rest for about 3-5 minutes and stretch it again... this step allows the gluten to rest and make the dough pliable again.

Hope that helps... and thanks for your feedback!