Monday, March 2, 2009

Homemade Pizza, FTW

We New Yorkers are pretty chill about a lotta things. We grumble about expensive housing, dirty subways, and overcrowding, but considering our size, our reactions are pretty commensurate. In general, there’s not a lot of flipping out. Heck, in 2003, a region-wide blackout disabled most of the five boroughs for half a week IN AUGUST, and the entire city remained cooler than Andre 3000.

But god forbid you present us with substandard baseball, bagels, or pizza. They are our birthrights, and we will tweak mightily if they aren’t up to snuff. Those daily demonstrations in Union Square? Have nothing to do with Palestine or the evils of Capitalism. They happen because once, many years ago, a pissed-off NYU student was served a crappy bialy.

Which brings me to today’s recipe. Replicating New York pizza is impossible at home. I’ve had a few grilled slices that are decent imitations of brick-oven style pies, but nothing that would compete with your average experience at Ray’s. So, when I tried Money Saving Mom’s homemade crust (with The Kitchn’s prep directions), I was initially skeptical. Part of this came from my total inexperience with homemade pizza-making, and part of it came from … well, see: everything above.

Happily, it worked. The recipe yields a solid, medium-crust pizza - a little breadier than most versions, but not as thick as Sicilian-style pies. The Boyfriend and I found the whole shebang very tasty, and I’ve felt few moments of triumph sweeter than creating pizza from scratch. Graduating high school doesn’t compare.

Even better, the homemade pie costs less than $3 to make, total. With sauce and cheese. Toppings would add a bit more, but … $3. Seriously. (We added a cup of sautéed veggies for less than $1). Plus, you get a solid hour of entertainment to go along with it, as you watch your loved ones try to toss pizza dough. It’s pretty awesome.

Of course, if you go ahead with the pie, there are a few things to know:

1) When it comes to cheese, I usually buy blocks and grate it myself. It’s almost always cheaper, and for some reason, it tastes better than the pre-grated stuff. Pioneer Woman agrees.

2) The fat and calories of this particular homemade pizza is comparable to store-bought pies. Still, there’s the advantage of knowing exactly what’s going into it. And that’s fun.

3) If you’d like a thinner-crust pie, roll the dough out more and use a larger pan (maybe even a cookie sheet?) to hold the crust. OR only make a ¾ batch. Toppings, sauce, and cooking time can be increased or decreased proportionately.

4) The parchment paper (which is VERY different from wax paper) is key. The pie practically slid off the pan when we removed it from the oven. As an alternative, MSM suggests greasing the pan.

5) Don’t fear the yeast. This is my first time using the stuff, and things went surprisingly smoothly.

Folks, how do you make pizza? What kind of toppings? Tips? Tricks? Do tell.

Homemade Pizza
Adapted from Money Saving Mom and The Kitchn.
Makes one 12-inch pie, yielding 8 small pieces pizza

1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
1 cup barely lukewarm water (test with your finger)
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2-1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup flour
Parchment paper
Pizza pan

1/2 – 3/4 cup your favorite tomato sauce
1 cup grated part-skim mozzarella

Lean topping options: sautéed vegetables, pineapple, Canadian bacon, sweet Italian turkey sausage, grilled chicken with barbecue sauce and cheddar

1) Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2) Dissolve yeast in the water with a whisk or spoon. Add rest of the ingredients and mix with a spoon, until it becomes a single lump of dough.

3) Dump lump on to a lightly floured surface. Knead dough for at least five minutes, adding a tablespoon or two of flour every minute. At the end, it should be smooth, elastic, and a little moist, with no real visible flour left on the surface. (Check the Money Saving Mom site for a picture.) It SHOULDN’T stick like gum to the table or rolling pin. If this happens, add more flour and keep kneading.

4) Shape the dough into a thick disk. With a rolling pin or the heel of your hand, massage the dough into a roughly circular shape, big enough so the edges would just be outside your pizza pan. If you want to try tossing it, go crazy. (The Boyfriend did this, and it actually came out pretty well.)

5) Cut a piece of parchment paper to match exactly over the pizza pan. Spread the dough on the parchment paper, and fold the edges of the dough over to make a crust.

6) Spread the sauce on the dough, using the back of a spoon. Then, evenly spread your desired toppings on top of the sauce. (Make sure all veggies and meat are cooked beforehand.) Bake for 11 to 14 minutes.

7) Remove pizza from oven, closing the door quickly to retain heat. Top pie with cheese. Stick it back in the oven for another 4 to 6 minutes.

8) Let pizza sit for five minutes.

9) Eat. Rejoice. Drink beer.

Approximate Calories, Fat, and Price Per SLICE
255 calories, 6.7 g fat, $0.35

1 Tbsp. active dry yeast: 35 calories, 0.6 g fat, $0.86
1 cup lukewarm water: negligible calories and fat, FREE
1 teaspoon sugar: 16 calories, 0 g fat, $0.01
1 teaspoon salt: negligible calories and fat, $0.01
2 tablespoons vegetable oil: 247 calories, 28 g fat, $0.18
3 cups flour: 1365 calories, 3.8 g fat, $0.27
1/2 – 3/4 cup your favorite tomato sauce: 90 calories, 3 g fat, $0.44
1 cup grated part-skim mozzarella: 288 calories, 18 g fat, $1.00
TOTAL: 2041 calories, 53.6 g fat, $2.77
PER SLICE (TOTAL/8): 255 calories, 6.7 g fat, $0.35
NOTE: Calculations are for a plain pie. Toppings will change the numbers.

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Anonymous said...

I love your blog. I make everything. Try this for step 4 of pizza: When rolling out dough fold it back on itself inad roll out again. Do this a couple of times. Put on pan and brush with
olive oil. Bake 5 minutes on lowest rack in oven at 475 degrees.
Take out and let sit for a minute
then put the sauce/topping on and bake again. An amazing crust! For a crowd try increasing the amounts and bake on two foil oven liners placed together. Makes an air trap inbetween and cooks great. You get a rectangular pizza!

Amanda said...

It looks great!

timecrunchcuisine said...

Pizza is the one thing I can make... I totally agree with the first commenter that the crust is better when it's baked first.

I also like to dust my pizza pan with corn meal so it sticks to my crust and gives it a little extra crisp.

Kitschen Bitsch said...

You are a mind-reader. I had my worst ever from-scratch experience this weekend, and it involved me trying to make pizza dough. I have conquered bread and pie crust, and being bested by pizza dough afflicted my self-esteem. Thank you, and Mr. B, though he does not know it yet, thanks you as well. This will so be tomorrow night's dinner.

Allie said...

Since discovering your blog as a poor student I have loved visiting on an almost daily basis - keep up the great work! There is one tiny thing that's been bothering me though - you've been using "schlemiel" incorrectly - a schlemiel is an awkward, goofy, klutzy person (it gives a whole new perspective to "I found the whole schlemiel very tasty") Sorry, I just had to get that off my chest.

mel said...

Parchment paper is one of the best things ever created for cooks!
If you happen to have a pizza stone, sprinkle cornmeal on it before adding the dough. It helps keep the dough from sticking.

Tinuz said...

A trick for better taste: Have it sit in the fridge for a few hours before shaping. The slow yeasting brings out the flavor in the dough.

Anonymous said...

I use my bread making machine, it has a specific pizza dough cycle. Easy peasy.

Kris said...

Allie, you are totally right. Holy moly. I meant to write "shebang." Ack! Will change.

Kris said...

You guys, this is great. Next time, I'll let the dough sit in the fridge for a little bit, and then bake it first without anything else. With cornmeal. Sweet!

Amy @ said...

I think I accidentally left my pizza comment on your Kale blog. >.< Musta clicked the wrong entry off my blog reader.

Anyway, your pizza looks good! :) I have a homemade pizza recipe on my blog too. Here is the link:

Christina said...

The cornmeal really works and gives a nice little crunch.

I also definitely recommend brushing the dough with olive oil before putting on sauce/toppings/cheese. You just need a tablespoon or so, but it helps the crust get all golden brown and delicious.

Also, BTW, I love your blog and read it like, every day.

Michelle said...

Try a pizza stone (slightly pricey) or unglazed quarry tile (cheaper at a tile or hardware store) - you can bake or reheat pizzas or any kind of bread on this and it makes your crusts even better!

Ellen said...

i get my oven really really hot, bake it for a few minutes before adding the toppings, then bake again until 99% done. at that point i like to broil it a bit to get the crust really crisp and get the cheese golden. homemade pizza, while almost always tasty, often suffers from soggy crusts.

Lori said...

I second Michelle's comment. If you are now a homemade pizza convert, get thyself to a home improvement/tile store pronto and buy unglazed quarry tiles. Pop those bad boys in your oven and preheat at 450 degrees for 30 mins. Bake your naked, rolled-out crust for a couple of minutes on parchment on the tiles. Remove paper and crust from the oven, top as normal and put the pizza, sans parchment directly on the tiles. In 6-10 mins. you will have wonderfully crusty pizza. Enjoy!

Amber said...

This might be a dumb question, but do you think this recipe would also work with whole wheat or white wheat flour?

anja3582 said...

Not a lean option (well, it could be if you used turkey bacon) but it tastes so awesome: bacon. Not Canadian bacon, although I do love that, too. Bacon and mushroom pizza is amazing!
Looking forward to trying the crust recipe as we make pizza often using the Pillsbury refrigerated crust. Will be nice to try a from-scratch crust for a change. Thanks! :o)

Emily said...

I totally agree about pre-shredded cheese not tasting as good. I think it has something to do with the powdered cellulose it's coated with to keep it from sticking together. Thanks for the pizza tips--I haven't had the best luck with homemade crust, but I'm determined to keep trying.

Jeff S. said...

Am I the only one who doesn't think of "For The Win" first when I see "FTW?" I always think the author is being vulgarly dismissive of the rest of the planet. Maybe it's because I'm a fan of Notorious B.I.G.

Kristen@TheFrugalGirl said...

I make homemade pizza pretty much every week...I use Cook's recipes, mostly. I make their grilled pizza, their deep dish pizza, and their regular pizza. I've posted some of those recipes on my blog, with pictures.

Cook's usually suggests baking the crust for a bit first and then adding the toppings, and that has worked very well for me.