Cooking on the Weekend: Pizza - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Cooking on the Weekend: Pizza

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Ingredients to make starter:
1/2 cup cool water
1/16 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 cup high gluten or bread flour

1) Make the starter. Simply mix the yeast and water together, then mix in flour until combined. Let mixture rest covered at room temperature for at least 12 hours. For a more flavorful dough, allow the mixture to sit for up to a few days. The starter should rise and look bubbly.

Ingredients to finish making dough:
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/4 cups lukewarm water
All of the starter
2 1/2 to 3 cups high gluten or bread flour
1 1/2 to 2 teaspoons salt, to taste

2) Now it's time to make the dough. Mix the yeast and luke warm water. Then combine the starter, flour and salt. If using a stand mixer use a dough hook on speed 2 and allow dough to need to 5-8 minutes. Otherwise, knead dough by hand for at least 10-15 minutes. The dough will be sticky. The stickier the dough, the thinner you'll be able to make the pizza.

3) Place the dough in a lightly greased large bowl, cover the bowl, and let the dough rise for 1 hour. Then gently punch down the dough and let rise again until doubled in volume. Tip: If you're baking on a pizza stone this is a good time to preheat the stone. Do this by placing the pizza stone into a room temperature oven, turn the heat up to 550 degrees, and allow the pizza stone to preheat for at least 60 minutes before using.

4) Divide dough into 2 equal balls, and dust with flour. Let the dough balls of dough rest, covered, for 10 minutes (this allows the dough to relax, making it easier to spread out).

5) Take a ball of dough, and using your hands stretch it out into a round pizza. You will need a little additional flour to keep the dough from sticking. If the dough doesn't want to get thin enough, let it relax for another few minutes, then continue stretching the dough to its desired size.

6) Transfer dough to a pizza peel dusted in flour or corn meal. If you don't have a pizza peel you can use the back of a cookie sheet. Add desired sauce and toppings. When it comes to sauce and toppings, especially with a thin pizza, don't overdo it-- too much will lead to a soggy pizza.

7) Transfer pizza onto hot pizza stone. Turn oven temperature down to 500 degrees. Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until the crust is lightly brown, and the cheese is bubbly.

8) Repeat steps 5-7 with the second ball of dough and enjoy! This will make 2 pizzas. The recipe doubles well.

Notes: If you don't have a pizza stone, you can make pizza in a pizza pan or sheet pan, but the end product will not be as thin and crisp. For a basic pizza sauce combine a can of crushed tomatoes, a couple tablespoons of olive oil, a handful of grated parmesan cheese, a pinch of salt, pepper, and granulated garlic. Feel free to add herbs like basil, parsley or oregano.

Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour

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