There is not much better in the world than biting into hot, fresh pizza that you have completely customized to your tastes. On Friday night my husband and I did just that. I have been wanting to make completely homemade pizza for a long time now but it kept getting pushed to the back burner. Part of the reason is I had NEVER cooked with yeast before. But now I have and it wasn't scary at all!
I have a pizza stone, but I used a cookie sheet to bake this on since I wanted something to help me form the pizza dough since it was a first try. This worked out well and resulted in a very thin crust pizza, which I love!
The very best part about making this pizza was that I could have exactly what I wanted on my half. I had: spinach (put this at the bottom right against the sauce so that it doesn't get burned), sun-dried tomatoes, green bell peppers, vidalia onion and sun-dried tomato & basil chicken sausage (from the IL's recent trip to Trader Joe's). The flavors complimented each other very well and there was definitely a party in my mouth!
Michael had: bacon, cheddar and chicken apple sausage (from Trader Joe's) He said that he loved the bacon and cheddar but wasn't crazy about the chicken sausage with it. He did eat it and he's not one to eat food that he doesn't like so it must have at least tasted decent.
I will have to share the sauce recipe that I use with you later since I don't have my cookbook with me. The recipe comes from a McCall's cookbook from the '60s and it is my absolute favorite cookbook ever!
I got the pizza crust recipe from a fellow nestie and blogger. You can view her blog here: http://lovestoeat.wordpress.com/
Crusty Pizza Dough
From: Kitchenaid Mixer Booklet
1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
1/2 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2- 3/12 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornmeal
Dissolve yeast in warm water in warmed mixer bowl. Add salt , oil, and 2 1/2 cups flour. Attach bow and Spiral dough hook. Turn to speed 2 and mix for one minute. Continue on speed 2 add remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time and mix about 1. 5 minutes. or until dough starts to clean sides of bowl. Knead on speed 2 about 2 minutes longer.
Place dough in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover. Let rise in warm place, free from draft, about 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.
Punch dough down. Brush 14 inch pizza pan with oil. Sprinkle with cornmeal. Press dough across bottom of pan, forming a collar around edge to hold toppings. Add toppings as desired. Bake at 450 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Makes 4 servings , quarter of pizza per serving.
For a crowd:Double the ingredients, and prepare in the 6 quart mixer bowl. Makes 8 servings.
I would encourage all of you to step out of your "cooking comfort zone" and try something new. Now that I have successfully used yeast there is a whole world of baking waiting for me.