A Tale Of Two Pizzas
When I make pizzas I always have to make two. We love pizza that much. I forget that with the big kids gone they cannot possibly be eaten by the three of us left. Well, I made two pizzas anyway and we’ll just have to have the other one for dinner. Sometimes It’s good to get the cooking done for the day all at once…especially this beautiful warm and sunny Saturday. I want to play the rest of the day.
- 2 cups hot tap water (105°)
- 2 tbsp honey
- 2 tbsp active dry yeast (Fleichmann’s Rapid Rise)
- 4 & 1/2 cups AP flour (reserve 1/2 cup for rolling)
- a heaping tsp salt.
- 2 tbsp olive oil
I dissolve the honey and yeast in the hot tap water, then add the flour and salt, and mix everything together. When all the flour is incorporated I use the spoon to knead the dough a while right in the bowl, otherwise I would have sticky dough all over me and the counter as well. I pour a little olive oil over the top of the dough and lift the dough ball up so some oil can run underneath. I use just enough oil to coat the dough completely, then cover the bowl with plastic film and let it rise to double its volume.
When that occurs it’s fun to punch down the dough and deflate it. I do a little more spoon kneading then cut the ball in half and begin rolling out the half on a liberally floured baking stone. I have a baby rolling pin I made out of a 9″ section of a dowel rod that does a better job of rolling out dough than the regular pin lending more control on the small stone and I don’t have to transfer the dough which also makes things easier. Since the dough is a bit sticky using lots of flour while rolling is a must, It is especially important that the dough not stick to the stone. I make sure it slides easily. Now I know it won’t bake onto the stone and need to be chiseled off in the end. I preheat the oven to 450°.
This first pizza is a hamburger pizza. I start with spreading a thin layer of sauce with the back of a spoon. My dear friend gave me this sauce, home made from her bumper crop of tomatoes and other vegetables this summer. She calls this, “V/8 sauce” and it is so good you could actually drink it. Next, goes the cheese, just shredded mozzarella in a generous layer, then the hamburger. I squeeze little bits of it between my finger and thumb making sure it is nice and flat so that it will cook through more easily. They look like teeny weeny little hamburgers. They need a little seasoning so I sprinkle Italian seasoning, and garlic powder onto each little “burger” Now the pizza is ready to bake for the next 15 to 18 minutes. In it goes.
While that one is baking, I start rolling out the other half of dough onto a liberally floured pizza plate I’ve had forever which is made of oven proof glass. It works as well as a stone. Again, I use the baby rolling pin to roll out this dough forcing the dough right up and over the edge making a little lip around it. This pizza will be a little more of a deep dish style pizza. This lip, which is about 3/4″ high, holds more ingredients so I put a little bit more of the sauce down in an even layer than on the previous pizza. I add a bit more cheese, more of the seasoned hamburger and also some red onion, and green peppers sliced very thinly.
It takes all of 16 minutes to arrange the dough, cheese, meat, and vegetables and the first pizza is now done. I remove it, put the deep dish pizza in the oven, set the timer for another 16 minutes, and and let pizza #1 cool a few minutes before I slice it. My pizza wheel is one of my favorite kitchen tools. I zip right through it in no time. We enjoy a few slices but I save room for a slice of the deep dish one.
Sixteen minutes is not quite enough time to bake this one, especially the top. The extra meat and vegetables contain extra moisture that needs to be evaporated off by the broiler. I crank it on and broil pizza #2 another three minutes. It turns out perfectly brown and bubbly. We are all quite full from the first pizza but each of us had to have just a sliver of the deep dish one.
After eating, Jeff and Julia go up to the park to try a little fishing in the pond. This gives me a chance to clean up, blog, get a shower, and maybe knit a few rows in the sunshine on the front porch before they get back. I’ve already got dinner done (unless they catch some nice fish) so my tale of two pizzas and a sunny Saturday ends happily. I hope yours does too.