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Minnesota Cooking: Homemade Pizza - The Crust has Risen Indeed
Home Made Pizza
I got frozen pizza dough ball from the butcher shop.
The idea of having delicious, home made pizza is appealing to me. My husband suggested that I make some pizza, and I resisted, remembering the days of old when my sister would get out a box of Jeno's Pizza maker and mix the dough and the results were less than wonderful. One time, the pizza dough tasted like soap. I suppose she could not be accused of not washing her hands, but, the cooked dough had a horrible flavor.
So, I have been skeptical of homemade pizza, for almost my entire life. Well, at least, until today, when I took that ball of frozen dough out of my freezer and contemplated scenarios.
- 1 frozen dough ball, thaw and raise to double
- 1 cup pizza sauce, Contadena
- 1/2 cup Hidden Valley Ranch, Garlic and Herb
- 1/4 cup onion, microwaved
- 1 beef stick, sliced thin
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese, frozen
- 1/2 cup green olives, sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
- Thaw and raise dough. Stretch and spread over pan. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
- Add sauces. Fill crust. Put toppings on pizza. Cover with mozzarella cheese. Bake for 15 minutes.
I almost jumped into pizza toppings first, but, that doesn't solve the problem of this frozen dough ball I have.
When I make homemade bread, you know, the bread dough comes in a bag and you spray the outside of the dough ball with cooking spray and you put it in a plastic, air tight box, and you put it somewhere warm.
As I pondered, my feet were on an air register from our furnace, and the heat was blowing up through my feet and was nice and warm. Click. Why not use that heat source to raise my crust?
When I first raised bread dough, years ago, I had to put oil on it, and wrapped it in a piece of plastic wrap. Plastic wrap was never very friendly to use.
But now, I have plastic containers that hold a gallon of food and they are air tight and, what a great place to raise dough. It's air free. It can sit on the register without melting. And, as I found out, works perfectly.
I sprayed the ball and closed the lid. I sat it down on the register and let it thaw, and raise. This morning, when I got up, the dough ball had thawed and had expanded to cover the entire bottom of the box. It was in there for a full 12 hours.
It was double its original size.
Dough Has Risen - Now What?
Well. I'm partially successful. My dough ball has increased to double its original size. I was pretty proud of myself, but then, reality hit.
What the heck do I do with it, now? There were no cooking instructions with the frozen ball. Apparently, they expect you to Google what you don't know.
And, I did.
Organizing Your Dough and Toppings
I sprayed it with cooking spray to make sure it was plenty greasy. Then, I picked it up. Now mind you, I have a large pizza pan that I'm planning on putting it on. I have some pizza sauce, some Hidden Valley Ranch garlic salad dressing, a large bag of mozzarella cheese that needs to be used, some pepperoni sticks, some onions, and olives.
The onions need to be chopped and softened in the microwave for a minute. The olives need to be sliced into thirds. The pepperoni stick needs to be sliced thin. The mozzarella cheese shreds are frozen and I have a partial bag of cheddar cheese shreds. I also have some Italian seasoning, which has a few spices mixed together.
So, I'm ready.
Stretching the Dough
I remember going to the pizza parlor and you could watch the pizza man through the window, as he lifted the dough and swirled it around. When you are stretching pizza dough, gravity is your friend.
So. I picked up that dough ball,and it was a little heavy. It sagged immediately. I turned it sideways. A lot of people online were terrified of holes in their dough. A hole is simply a bubble that has popped. Those stretchy spots are the gluten. Just squish the hole back together and continue.
If you don't like your dough, you can start over from a ball. You'll have to pop the air bubbles. Kinda like chewing gum gets bubbles.
It's a slow process, since the gluten is stretching and gravity pulls it, and finally, after turning and stopping, squishing and hanging, lifting up and turning, you finally get a roundish square shape that fits pretty well on your pan. Be sure to overlap the edges.
Sauce goes on the dough first. I used an instant pizza sauce that I just squirted on the entire crust, and I used my hand to smear it around. Kind of like using finger paint when I was a kid.
I even smeared it way out to the absolute edges of the crust. Then, after I finished smearing the pizza sauce, I then took a bottle of Hidden Valley Ranch Garlic and Herb and squirted that around, and smeared it with the pizza sauce.
Cheese Filled Edge
The actual cheese goes on last, but when I started, I used a bunch of mozzarella cheese and went around the outside perimeter, or edge of the pizza, and left a trail of cheese around the edge.
Then, I rolled the edge of the crust in, so it covered the cheese. Voila. Stuffed crust.
Toppings are entirely up to you. And, actually, from this point, even the sauce is up to you. You could have put an alfredo sauce on, instead of the pizza sauce. Or, even a buffalo sauce/ranch sauce. But, that's next time's pizza.
Today, we're concentrating on my toppings, which were onions, slightly cooked in the microwave, pepperjack beef stick, green olives and, oh, I think that was it.
I sliced my pepperjack sticks and placed the pieces on in a pattern just so they were evenly spread out. Then, the onions were sprinkled around and then, the olives were placed between the pepperjack pieces.
Cheese was sprinkled across the entire pizza, being careful to get some on the top of the stuffed part as well. I did have some shredded cheddar, which I added as well.
The last step, was to sprinkle some Italian seasonings across the entire surface of the pizza.
Heat 500 Degrees
Apparently, it's best to heat your oven at the highest temperature and your pizza gets cooked in 15 minutes.
I didn't look at the pizza before I opened my door, so the first look was a shock. It almost looked like I overcooked it, but, it was just the top cheese had caramelized. The cheese below the puffiness was delicious.