Sunday, April 22, 2007

The Dough Is Now Ready

Lately, D., Ph., and I have been experimenting toward a better homemade pizza. The toppings have been relatively easy. We have been simulating a couple of favorites from Minsky's in Kansas City--the chicken cordon bleu and the buffalo style chicken.

Cordon Bleu and Buffalo Chicken Pizzas

The toppings for each are as follows:

Cordon bleu: alfredo sauce, fresh basil, one chicken breast (cubed), ham (slivered, sliced into squares), green olives. Top with ~8 ounces of mozzarella or provolone.
Buffalo style chicken: cayenne hot sauce (I've been using Frank's), julienne carrots, one chicken breast (cubed), a few lines of ranch or blue cheese dressing. Top with ~8 ounces of mozzarella.

We've also tossed together more conventional pizzas: regular (cheese); pepperoni; or ham, mushroom, and pineapple, the one we had last night (along with a chicken cordon bleu). Yes, in fact, it has become a veritable pizzeria around here. Ah, I almost forgot to mention the reuben pizza (a.k.a. Big Reu): thousand island, kraut, corned beef, and a swiss/mozzarella blend. Very much like a reuben sandwich. It would've been better with a rye crust, no doubt.

All along the key has been the dough, the crust. I've tried store-bought mixes, pre-made (frozen) balls of dough from here and there, Pillsbury, and so on. In recent weeks we've experimented with homemade crust, however, and today I worked from a recipe that turned out good enough that I think we'll stick with this one for a while. I mixed it in the food processor before kneading it by hand; the combination was a little bit sticky, so it took more flour to get it right. I followed everything in the recipe except that I split the four cups of flour into two cups of whole wheat and two cups of all-purpose because we wanted whole wheat crust. I also added a tablespoon of honey, but the flavor, in the end, was barely noticeable. After rolling out the dough, I forked holes into the surface and pre-baked the crust for seven minutes at 400F before adding the toppings. With the toppings added, I baked them for twenty minutes at 400F, reversing their rack positions from top to bottom and bottom to top after ten minutes. Perfect. Best pizza I've ever had a hand in making.

Bookmark and Share Posted by at April 22, 2007 11:00 PM to Gobstuff

Those sound goooood. Ever tried a pizza stone? I love mine, and I never have to take it out of the oven.

Favorite homemades: 1. Hand-crushed San Marzano tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, topped after baking with fresh basil and a drizzle of olive oil (extra virgin). 2. Italian sausage and very carmelized onions (with traditional pizza sauce and conventional, i.e., not "fresh," mozzarella).

Posted by: Lance at April 23, 2007 5:38 PM

We have two stones, and I got around to trying them this week. One is a really nice piece from Pampered Chef and the other is much less elegant (like a too-thick, oversized piece of bathroom tile). Unfortunately whatever's on top of them cooks at different rates. But yes, we went to the round pizzas on the stones this week and they turned out well. Yesterday I picked up the makings for the caramelized onion/sausage combo you mentioned for one day this week.

Posted by: Derek at April 30, 2007 1:07 PM