On pizza, and crust

1. Pizza is great.

2. Homemade pizza is greater.

3. Homemade hand-tossed pizza crust is the greatest.
3a. Hand-tossing pizza crust will succeed in getting flour EVERYWHERE. Most insidiously on your floor, in such a fine dusting that you can’t see it, but will definitely know it’s there the next time you try to walk and you slide instead.
3b. I still highly recommend teaching yourself how to hand toss pizza crust. It’s really fun. And it works. I had never done it before tonight, and no one showed me how. I just tried it. Totally worth getting flour in your eyebrows.
3c. The kicker is the spin. It’s not so much about throwing it in the air as it is getting a good spin on it, which evenly stretches out the whole crust.
3d. Don’t get carried away. I did on the first one, and it ended up waaaaay too big for my pizza stone, which isn’t fun to try to deal with when the oven is sitting open at 500 degrees.

Also, get yourself a pizza peel. Absolutely essential. Because there is no good way to transfer a pizza from your prep surface to the oven without one. There are plenty of bad ways, though. Most of them involve stretching out the dough and having all your toppings fall off, until you plop the pizza onto the stone in a misshapen mess, and try to rearrange everything before all the heat escapes the oven. Believe me, get a pizza peel. I’m getting one this weekend.

“Great,” you’re thinking, “so Liz made a mess. How did the damn pizza taste??”

Awesome. Really frickin’ awesome.

One reason I hadn’t tried pizza before was I never thought of it in time to let the dough rise. Then I came across a “no rise” recipe, and I tried it. The idea was that you are rolling it out thin enough, and the oven is hot enough, that the crust will rise as much as you need/want in the oven, so there’s no need to wait for the dough to rise before you roll it out. I thought this made sense, but that recipe didn’t make great dough (I like it crispy, especially for personal-size artsy-fartsy pizzas, but it was really more cracker-y.) So tonight I tried the recipe from Smitten Kitchen and used the same no-rising principle. Ok, I let it rise for about ten minutes, but that was more about needing to do some dishes to make room on the island for rolling than it was about dough.

1 1/2 c flour
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp yeast
1/2 c lukewarm water
1 tbl oil

Mix it all together. Let it sit for a bit if you want to. Knead for a bit. Roll out. Toss! Toss! Shake flour out of your face. Toss again! Top. Put in a 500 degree oven for 10 minutes.

SK said the recipe made one small pizza, so I doubled it to make two personal pies for me and Josh. I thought the doubled recipe was a little too much dough – in order to keep the pizzas to the right size, the dough was still pretty thick. It also didn’t taste salty enough once baked. I think next time I may play with the recipe myself. I’m thinking that to make one (roughly) 10″ pizza I’ll try 1 cup flour, 3/4 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp yeast, 1/2 c water.