Thursday, August 5, 2010

Tomato Basil Pizza

I LOVE to make dough. Pizza dough, bread dough, whatever...there is something so satisfying when I see the yeast bubble in the sugar, and when the dough rises and I get to punch it down, and as a runner, I take any excuse to have extra carbs. (Sometimes I think that the reason I run is so I can eat more carbs!)

I will say this about making a dough: If you don't have a pizza stone, GET ONE. I got one as a wedding gift and I absolutely love it. It makes the crust so perfect for pizza and bread...crispy on the outside and nice and soft on the inside.

From Food pics

For the dough:
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm (not hot) water
1 tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra
3 cups flour, plus extra for the counter top

For the toppings:
1 cup fresh basil (chopped pretty small)
1 package firm or extra firm tofu, drained very well
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt, pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced very small
1 tomato, sliced

1. Proof your yeast. Dissolve the sugar into the warm water and add the yeast. Stir the yeast until it is just wet, don't over stir. Let it hang out for 5-10 minutes; it should start getting frothy and foamy. If it doesn't, get a new package of yeast because the first one is dead.

2. Prepare a large bowl for the dough to rise in. Pour in about a tbsp of olive oil and set aside.

3. Assemble the dry ingredients in a large bowl. I only add about 1/2 the flour, because I have made the mistake before of adding way too much flour and that makes your dough very tough. So I add half the flour and add more as i need/knead it.

4. By now the yeast should have proven itself to you. Add the yeast mixture and the oil to the flour and salt and stir. Add flour until you can't stir any more (you won't get very far).

5. Sprinkle some flour onto a very clean and dry counter top. Dump your dough on top of it and any flour that might have gotten stuck in your bowl. Knead it around, it likes to be beaten up. Be rough. Add more flour if the dough gets sticky. You should be kneading for 5-10 minutes, until the dough is nice and stretchy.

6. Form the dough into a large ball and place in prepared bowl. Swirl it around in the oil a bit so it doesn't stick. Cover with a damp, clean kitchen towel and place in a warm dry place to rise. Go away for about an hour.

7. When you come back, the dough should have doubled in size. Make a fist with your hand and punch that dough right in the face. Go ahead, just do it. You will feel the dough deflate a little; that's ok. Turn the dough out onto the floured counter top again and knead for a couple of minutes.

8. If you are not going to use all the dough, take a knife and cut the dough in half, wrapping one half in saran wrap and freezing. If you are going to use it all, skip that step. Take the dough that will be used and put it back in the rising bowl, cover, and go away for at least 15 minutes, but an hour is better. (you can prepare the topping now...scroll down).

9. Finally - time to make pizza! If you already halved the dough, don't half it again. If you haven't, cut the dough in half. This recipe can make 2 14" pizzas.

10. Preheat your oven to 500. Your pizza stone should preheat with the oven.

11. Take a large cookie sheet, the kind with no sides, and cover it with a generous amount of cornmeal (or flour). You will put your pizza on this and slide it onto the stone. Or bake it on this if you have no stone (but you should get one).

12. This is the hardest part for me...making a round pizza. People tell me I'll get it eventually, and they have gotten better. My method is to form the dough into a ball then flatten it. Pick it up by the middle and let gravity do the work...move it around in your hands so that it falls in a circular way, then work your way all around the dough. Once you have a pretty good circle, put it on your cookie sheet and use your fingetips to press the dough and perfect the circle.

13. Apply toppings, slide the pizza from the cookie sheet onto the stone (it might need some prodding) and bake for 7-10 minutes. If you have a stone it will take a little less time. As soon as I see the crust start to brown, I take it out by sliding it back onto the cookie sheet.

15. To make it really awesome, brush the crust with olive oil. Enjoy!!

Making the basil-ricotta topping:

This was adapted from Isa Chandra Moskowitz's Vegan with a Vengeance.

1. Place all ingredients in a large bowl, crush with your fingers until it is the consitency of ricotta cheese.

2. Spread tofu mixture all over pizza. Top with sliced tomatoes. Bake as directed.

From Food pics


Minh said...

[thumbs up]

Rachel said...

mmmmmmm.....i'll try this soon!

GG said...

I really want to try making pizza dough. We should make a pizza date!