Happy Easter! Today our family gathered at my beloved grandparent’s house for a not so traditional Easter pizza party. We had a lot of fun creating our own pizzas from a variety of toppings and my homemade sauce and dough were a big hit. As I promised in yesterday’s blog post, this post has the recipe for success for both the sauce and dough but before we get to those recipes, I want to share some pictures of the day because food and family are worth celebrating.
Making the pizzas was a family affair…
Ok I’ve shown off my amazing family and the fun we always have together and now let’s get down to business. As the title to this post suggests, good things come to those who wait. Time, well more like patience, is the key to an amazing pizza dough. That and the little flavoring magic I mentioned yesterday. You know…the $20 jar of magic that cost me $175? Yes that magic.
Almost any recipe you’ll find for pizza dough contains the same ingredients…flour, yeast, water, salt, olive oil and water. But these few VERY IMPORTANT rules WILL make all the difference. And this is NOT the time to break the rules!!
- Make sure everything you use is fresh. Even if you have the bread flour and yeast in your pantry, go buy fresh! Trust me on this one!
- Use a very high quality olive oil.
- Use a very high quality flour. I recommend King Arthur’s brand and make sure you use Bread Flour and NOT all-purpose flour.
- Use a thermometer to make sure your water is at the perfect temp. Especially the warm water mixed with the yeast.
- Be patient with the yeast and the time allotment for the dough to rise.
- Don’t skip the “punching” stage!!
Ok now that we’ve laid down the ground rules, here is the recipe. This will give you enough dough to make approximately 4 individual sized pizzas. This recipe originally comes from Gabriele Corcos from the show Extra Virgin but I’ve given it my own little touch.
4 cups bread flour
1 (.25 ounce) package Dry Active yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/2 cup warm water (between 105 – 115 degrees F)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons Pizza Flavoring from Sur La Table (click here to see yesterday’s post about this jar of magic). You can make the dough without this flavoring but I very HIGHLY recommend it.
3/4 cup cold water
1/4 cup olive oil
Cornmeal (one pinch per pizza)
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the yeast, lukewarm water (remember the temp of the water is critical for success here), and 1/2 cup bread flour. Mix well and let sit until bubbly, about 30 minutes. Be patient. If after 30 minutes, it’s not looking like foamy beer, keep waiting. This step is essential.
Whisk together the remaining 3 1/2 cups bread flour, salt and pizza flavoring in another bowl so it will be evenly distributed.
Once the yeast mixture is nice and bubbly and looks like foamy beer, add 3/4 cup cold water and olive oil. Using a dough hook, turn the mixer on and add the flour in increments. Add the flour slowly and keep the mixer on low speed.
Mix the dough for about 5 minutes, until the dough starts creeping up the dough hook and comes away from the sides of the bowl.
Place the dough in a large bowl lightly greased with olive oil. Turn to coat all sides of the dough with oil. Cover the bowl loosely with a clean tea towel. Let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours. Punch dough down, and let rise another hour. Don’t disturb the dough until it’s time to punch and then let it have it!! Really punch that dough down into the bowl!!
Divide the dough into 4 equal disks. Lightly flour a work surface. Using your fingers or heels of your hands (and a rolling pin, if you prefer) stretch the disks out to a 10-inch round.
Press your prepared dough down lightly in cornmeal to add a little extra crunch to the bottom.
Add your toppings and voilà…you’ve got an amazing pizza. No wait!! The sauce!! You need an amazing sauce and here’s the recipe and rules for that:
- Again, use fresh and high quality ingredients. This recipe calls for garlic and oregano. Use fresh for both!! For the canned tomato products, use a high quality brand. This IS the difference in this recipe.
- Make the sauce 24 hours ahead of time to let the flavors marry. This isn’t absolutely critical but it will make a difference.
- Let the sauce simmer on very low heat for quite a long time before using or jarring.
2 cloves garlic, mashed and minced
2 teaspoon salt
2 cans (6 ounces) tomato paste
2 cans (8 ounces) tomato sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons oregano
2 tablespoons olive oil
Combine all ingredients in sauce pan, whisk to combine well and let simmer for at least one hour, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, allow to cool and if possible, transfer to refrigerator for 24 hours.
With these rules, recipes and friends and family, you are guaranteed to have a good time creating pizza and making memories. Here are a few of our Easter Pizza Party creations. Happy Cooking!