Monday, February 20, 2012

Pizza with a twist

It may be hard to believe but I never used to make my own pizza dough.  It alluded me.  I guess I don't remember my parents ever making their own.  I do remember making homemade pizza but with a prepackaged dough.   Now that I am on my kick to make more from scratch recipes I looked into it.
My first ever attempt with yeast was an epic fail!  I was worried about trying again.  But I had already bought a deep dish pizza pan and I was excited about making a Chicago style pizza.  So I jumped back in.

An easy pizza dough recipe is:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, or as needed
1 envelope Fleischmann's® RapidRise Yeast*
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup very warm water (120 degrees F to 130 degrees F)
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil


In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, undissolved yeast, and salt. Stir very warm water and olive oil into flour mixture. Stir in enough remaining flour to make soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 4 to 6 minutes. Cover; let rest on floured surface 10 minutes.
Lightly oil 1 (14-inch) or 2 (12-inch) round pizza pan(s).** Sprinkle with cornmeal. Shape dough into smooth ball. Divide and roll dough to fit desired pan(s). Top pizza as desired.
Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 to 30 minutes or until done. Baking time depends on size and thickness of crust and selected toppings.

I totally disagree with Fleishmann's on when and where to add the yeast.  I add the water to my bowl first then add the yeast.   I think that is why my rolls were an epic fail.  They did not rise.  The yeast never activated.  Anyhooo....  I always add the yeast to my water now and have not had any fails.... yet.

I know many families make homemade pizza so why another recipe now?   Well I had a few little tricks that we use.  The first of which is experiment with your toppings.   I am a meat and potatoes kinda gal so I don't ever go crazy with veggies but you can still mix it up.
One of my all time favorite things to do with pizza dough is to brush the edges with Imo's sweet italian dressing.  If you aren't from the St Louis area you will have no idea what Imo's is.  It's a St L thing.   It doesn't take a lot but it has great flavor when baked into your dough.   I actually would love nothing better than to just drench the whole pizza dough with the dressing and sprinkle it with parmesan and oregano and bake it.  Then cut it into breadsticks.   It is amazing!   BUT today, I needed two pizzas or else I  would have done that.
Another great topping for pizza is chicken.  One of our all time favorite pizzas is a hot sauce chicken pizza.  When I originally started making this I only used chicken and hot sauce (picky remember?).   Now we usually also add sausage and pepperoni or bacon.  It sounds weird but it is delicious. We also change up the cheese.  I found a great shredded mexican melting cheese.  Yum.
Which leads me to one of my all time weird pizza toppings: french fries.  Yes, I said french fries.  The best pizza I ever made was a breakfast pizza... with fries.
On the dough I use hot sauce.  Then add thawed out chopped up fries along with sausage and bacon.  Add raw scrambled eggs and cheese.  Bake through.   Delicious!
Another crazy pizza would be meatball pizza.  Cut meatballs into fourths and use meat sauce instead of pizza sauce.  Add jalapenos.
Go crazy folks.   The possibilities are endless!    

What's the weirdest pizza you've ever made?

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