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Pizza from Scratch

Saturday night, with no plans for dinner, SC and I decided to make a pizza. We had done it once recently, but with a pre-made pizza dough from Trader Joe’s. Without another handy, and discovering that the neighborhood Giant had none but Pillsbury in a cardboard tube (unroll onto cookie sheet… no thanks?), we used a handy dandy smartphone to confirm that even if we made dough from scratch, we could probably eat within the hour and thus began our adventure!

As it happened, that very day I had read Metrocurean’s post on pizza dough and bread-baking, which had already motivated me to break open the jar of yeast I bought a few weeks ago (probably bracing myself for some snowstorm baking that didn’t happen), so I was actually excited to try pizza dough from scratch. I thought I had some all-purpose flour, but upon arriving home, I discovered only an abundance of whole wheat, but I was not deterred!

So to get started, SC consulted How to Cook Everything (Thanks, Roommate, for making such a terrific investment!) and we followed Mark Bittman‘s instructions for making pizza dough with a wooden spoon, as opposed to a food processor. I sneakily added a full teaspoon of dried rosemary to the dry ingredients. Then I used warm water, which I don’t think he specified, but a woman who once shared a table with me at Whole Foods had offered me that unsolicited advice, and I conveniently remembered. (Warm enough to activate the yeast, but not so hot that it kills it–that’s key) The kneading took a long time, and by the end, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to work in all the flour called for in the recipe (3 cups!), but I did eventually.

So once that part was done, we let it rise for a little while, and prepared our toppings. SC browned a sausage or two and then sliced it thinly. We also used half of a large red pepper, a yellow onion, and olive oil. We didn’t let the dough rise for longer than half an hour, because the recipe in Bittman’s book said it made 1 large or 2 small crusts, and we only intended to make one pizza. So we tossed it around and then pressed it into a round cast iron pan (neither of us has a pizza stone, and between us there are two kitchens, and we were in the one without a pizza pan or a baking sheet). So we sauced it and topped it and baked it at 550 degrees for about 12 minutes.

When it came out, SC topped with some fresh basil and it was completely delicious! The crust ended up being extremely thick–more like a bread– and very hearty. The rosemary really did add so much, and altogether, it was really tasty, but I guess ultimately, that crust should have been two pies.

So in the end, it was pretty tasty! But most of all, the crust was so… big and bready, that it’s ultimately inspired me to try baking bread! The rosemary was so satisfying that I really really want to try again with the whole wheat and rosemary in a loaf, instead of under a pizza.

This is all the left over crust that just ended up being excess (but still tasty!).

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