Sunday, December 5, 2010
Did Somebody Say Delivery?
It might seem crazy to make homemade pizza in New York City where you can get everything from a 99 cent slice, to a quintissential NYC pie, to an artisanal pizza from one the newly annointed pizzaiolos. I decided to give it a whirl anyway because somebody (Holla, Michael!) gave me a packet of Fleischmann's "pizza crust yeast" to try (and I just might be a little cray-cray). How is it any different from regular yeast you might ask? If you care? Well, at first I assumed that it was simply a marketing ploy to get you to buy it over regular old yeast packets, until Michael pointed out that it doesn't require any rising time. You just mix it up and roll it out. In the past I've used frozen pizza dough to make pizza, so at least I didn't have to plan ahead to defrost the dough.
I made a mozzarella, tomato, and basil pizza with all-purpose flour in the dough, and a mushroom and fontina pizza (no sauce) with whole wheat flour in the dough. Both versions of the dough mixed up and rolled out easily. My conclusion about the texture, however, left a little something to be desired. In both instances my pizza crust had a slightly bready consistency, so it kind of reminded me of a cheap frozen pizza you might have last had in college. I think I just prefer a little thinner, crunchier crust. I like the idea of having these little packets on hand, but I think I like calling 1-800 pizza delivery more.
Homemade Pizza with Pizza Crust Yeast
1 1/2 to 2 cups all-purpose flour
1 envelope Fleischmann's Pizza Crust Yeast
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup very warm water (120 to 130°F)
3 tablespoons oil
1/2 to 1 cup tomato sauce, if desired
Other toppings as desired
1. Preheat the oven to 450°F.
2. Combine 1 cup flour, undissolved yeast, sugar, and salt in a large bowl. Add very warm water and the oil. Mix until well blended, about 1 minute. Gradually add 1/2 cup flour to make a soft dough. The dough should form a ball and will be slightly sticky. Knead* on a floured surface, adding additional flour if necessary, until smooth and elastic, about 4 minutes.
3. Pat the dough with floured hands to fill a greased pizza pan or baking sheet, or roll the dough on a floured counter to a 12-inch circle. Place on greased pizza pan or baking sheet. Form a rim by pinching the edge of the dough.
4. Top with desired toppings and bake on the lowest oven rack for 12 to 15 minutes, until cheese is bubbly and crust is browned.
*To knead the dough, add just enough flour to the dough and your hands to keep the dough from sticking. Flatten dough and fold it toward you.Using the heels of your hands, push the dough away with a rolling motion. Rotate dough a quarter turn and repeat the "fold, push and turn" steps. Keep kneading dough until it is smooth and elastic. Use a little more flour if dough becomes too sticky, always working the flour into the ball of dough.