** Sorry, for the delayed post today and being MIA this weekend, I’ve been bonding with nature. But, I’m back. So let’s do this thing.
If there’s one thing my family does well, it’s making a tasty pizza. The most important thing (fresh toppings is a close second) is a good crust. Now, each person has their own take on what makes a good crust, so to be up-front, I like mine to have a little crispiness to them but not so much that there isn’t any doughy goodness to enjoy. This is not a flimsy pizza, not a big ‘ol Chicago style gut bomb, and it’s not similar to Godfather’s or Pizza Hut. If you prefer one of those, you might not like this.
This recipe is courtesy of Alton Brown, via his “Good Eats” TV show (and recipe found at www.foodnetwork.com). Now, this isn’t the exact recipe my husband uses (he, in fact, has combined some elements of this recipe with one or two others to get the right crisp to doughy ratio). So, if you like it but don’t love it, try experimenting with it.
The link, by the way, includes three recipes (so enough dough for three pizzas – make them all or freeze some). I’m only going to post the Margherita recipe here, because that’s my favorite, and it’s Meatless Monday so it just makes sense. Feel free to make the dough, though, and put whatever toppings you want on it. It’s your pizza, go crazy.
Courtesy Alton Brown
Dough – Enough for 3 (16-inch) round pizzas:
16 ounces all-purpose flour, plus extra for peel and rolling
1 envelope instant or rapid rise yeast
1 tablespoon kosher salt
10 ounces warm water, approximately 105 degrees F
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons for bowl
1 tablespoon malted barley syrup
Margherita topping – Enough to top 1 (16-inch) round pizza:
1 large tomato, cut into 1/3-inch thick slices
5 to 7 teaspoons olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2-ounce grated Parmesan
1 1/2 ounces part skim mozzarella, shredded
To make the dough:
Combine the flour and yeast in the work bowl of a stand mixer. Add the salt, water, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and malted barley syrup. Start the mixer on low, using the hook attachment, and mix until the dough just comes together, approximately 1 1/2 minutes. Increase the mixer speed to medium and knead for 15 minutes.
Tear off a small piece of dough and flatten into a disk. Gently stretch the dough until thin. Hold it up to the light and look to see if the bakers windowpane, or a see-through, taut membrane has formed. The dough will be quite sticky, but manageable. Fold the dough onto itself and form it into a smooth ball. Oil the bowl of the stand mixer or other large canister with 2 teaspoons of olive oil. Put the dough in the bowl and roll it around to coat with the oil. Cover with a tea towel or plastic wrap and leave at room temperature to double in size, approximately 1 hour.
Split the dough into 3 equal parts using a knife or dough scraper. Flatten each piece into a disk on the countertop. Form each piece into a ball. Roll each ball on the counter until they tighten into rounds. Cover the balls with a tea towel and rest for 45 minutes.
To shape and cook the margherita pizza:
Heat a gas grill to high and make sure the grill grates are clean and free of debris.
Toss the tomato with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the garlic, salt and red pepper flakes in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.
Lightly flour the countertop and flatten 1 of the dough balls. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough into a 16-inch round, rotating and stretching the dough as you go. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured pizza peel and stretch to re-shape if necessary.
Oil the grill grates and decrease the heat to medium. Brush the dough with 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil and flip onto 1 end of the hot grill, leaving room for the tomatoes on the grate. Put the prepared tomatoes on the grill, close the lid and cook until the bottom of the crust is golden brown and the tomatoes are softened, about 1 to 2 minutes. Brush the raw side of the dough with 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil, then immediately flip using the peel. Top with the grilled tomatoes, smashing and spreading the tomatoes to create a sauce. Sprinkle with the Parmesan, mozzarella and basil. Close the lid and cook until the bottom of crust is golden brown and the cheese has melted, another 1 to 2 minutes. Using the peel, remove the pizza to a cooling rack and let rest for 3 minutes before slicing.