I did it! I made a yummy pizza!

Friday was supposed to be the day that I finished or at least worked a lot on my photobooks. I have been trying to put together the Indian wedding one forever! And I also want to do a book for the U.S. reception, and for the two big trips we’ve taken since. Instead I ended up making seitan (wheat meat) and pizza crust and didn’t even get around to breakfast until 3pm. Mind you, I did get up at 10:30am which was fantastic since I haven’t been sleeping that great for the last week or so.

Unfortunately the seitan turned out like a piece of rubber, so I am not even going to post the recipe. I will probably try again soon using a different approach. One cool thing came out of making the seitan however. The impromptu stock that I simmered it in tasted pretty good so I froze it for later uses.

As for the pizza crust, it came out really good! I was really surprised because I refrigerated it for a few days, but after what I think may have been the second rise, and everyone says to refrigerate after the first rise, and then you should have seen me trying to get this semi stretched blob of pizza dough onto the super hot cast iron pizza pan. To top it off, I had another flop in the kitchen on Sunday for okra tamarind curry–it just wasn’t very good, I followed a couple of recipes and in the end it just tasted like tamarind (tart) and fenugreek (bitter); whatever happened to the rest of the ingredients I used?–and whenever I have a couple of flops, I loose a bit of confidence in my culinary endeavors.

But anyways, while I think this pizza has room for improvement, it was quite good. It has a thin crispy crust which Tejas loves (not sure how considering the way I got it onto the pan, I swear there were thin and think parts and it was all scraggly looking), simple tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, and basil from my one pot garden (more on that in this post). I used a recipe from Wolfgang Puck’s Pizza, Pasta, and More!

Pizza Crust
1/4 cup warm
1 teaspoon honey
2 1/4 teaspoons active yeast (or one packet of active yeast)
2 cups bread flour
1 cup all purpose flour (the recipe called for all all purpose, but enough recipes I read used bread flour that I did a combo of both)
3 teaspoons salt (I like salty crust!)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 to 1 1/4 cup more water heated to 105 degrees

  1. In a small bowl heat up 1/4 cup water to about 105 degrees. This is just when it starts to get hot to the touch, but not too hot that you can’t put your finger in it for a bit.
  2. Add honey and yeast and let it sit until it gets foamy.
  3. Add flour and salt to stand mixer with the bread hook attachment and mix for a few seconds to incorporate the salt into the flour.
  4. While on level two, slowly pour in the olive oil, then yeast mixture.
  5. Slowly add the water until a dough forms and the flour has been lifted off the sides of the bowl. The recipe called for 3/4 more cups, but I found that I needed a little more since there was so much flour left in the bowl.
  6. Remove the dough, form a ball, cover with olive oil and place in a bowl covered with a towel.
  7. Once the dough has risen to about double, you can break it into two pieces, form two round balls, wrap it or tupperware it, and refrigerate it. I actually left it to sit for a few hours, messed with it some, and let it sit for a few more hours before getting it into the fridge, which I think means that I let it rise twice. Oh well.
  8. After 24 to 72 hours (from the time it comes out of the mixer), it is time to make your pizza! Take it out of the fridge for a few hours to get it to room temperature. It should also rise a little. I used my favorite invention the yogurt maker to speed up this process. I talk about it more in my yogurt post. From the time it comes out of the mixer to the time you use it should be at least 24 hours to get a nice tasting crust. The time I made a  pizza before, I did a no wait recipe and it tasted like a crunchy biscuit. It wasn’t really bad bad, but tasted more like a frozen pizza.

Pizza Sauce
1 cup Pomi Strained Tomatoes (or any plain tomato sauce)
1 cup Pomi Chopped Tomatoes (or any diced tomatoes – these ones are fantastic in that they aren’t these hard little chunks of tomatoes, but soft and juicy)
2 cubes Trader Joe’s frozen garlic
1-2 tablespoon sugar

  1. Mix all ingredients in a small saucepan and cook over medium low heat for ~15 minutes.

Making the Actual Pizza
One pizza crust (1/2 the above recipe)
1 ball of mozarella (~4 oz)
Pizza Sauce
Fresh basil (I used my thai basil from my sad little plant)

  1. An hour before you want to cook your pizza, put your pizza pan on the bottom of the oven and turn it up to as high as it will go (ours goes to 550 degrees).
  2. Take your mozzarella and pull it apart into smaller chunks.
  3. Take out the pizza pan very carefully since it will be VERY hot and put it on the stove.
  4. Take your pizza crust and start to stretch it out by hand. I didn’t add flour and it was very sticky, but somehow it worked.
  5. This is the tricky part and I know there is an easier way. I will let you know once I find the perfect solution, or at least A solution. Get your thin pizza crust onto the  pizza pan as quickly as possible because the raw dough sticks to the hot pan!
  6. Top with a thin layer of sauce, then the mozzarella, then the basil leaves. Next time I will add the mozzarella after cooking because it melted so much that I couldn’t taste the wonderful light flavor.
  7. Cook for about 7 minutes at 550 degrees or until the crust looks toasty and the top is bubbly.
  8. Be carefully taking out that pan again! Slice it up. BTW, I love this pizza slicer.

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