September 10

Andouille Four Cheese Pizza & Homemade Pizza Crust

Pizza is comfort food for a lot of people. It’s tasty, it’s filling, it can be relatively cheap (both in quality and price). Sometimes though, I want pizza but our typical go-to places sound absolutely unappetizing. I grew up on Pizza Hut. Then there was the Little Caesar’s restaurant in our Kmart on Maui. As the years progressed, and my stomach has developed different tastebuds (yes, my stomach has tastebuds. You can’t prove it doesn’t! ;}), cheap pizza no longer 1) tastes as good, and 2) agrees with me. I’ll admit to still indulging in Domino’s pizza because their new take on the food has been a change for the better, but it’s still ass-expensive.

So in my never ending quest to bypass spending too much money on name brand box products with lots of delicious preservatives and chemicals, I decided to try my hand at pizza dough. Freezable pizza dough. Now, this is not the first time I’ve made pizza dough from scratch. There was a solo attempt when we lived in our Bremerton apartment and I had a spare pack of yeast in the fridge that yielded a pizza the size of a football (almost shaped that way, too) because the dough was far too springy and no amount of pushing its edges on to dry baking sheet made it stick. It tasted fine, but it was such a trying, frustrating experience that I did not want to repeat; refrigerated pre-made dough to the rescue! Even then I’d end up with more square shaped pizzas than I did round…

I ran across a blog entry over at Annie’s Eats regarding tips/tricks to making the best pizza crust on Earth. Seeing as how it was touted as so – or damn near close (I don’t think she ever actually uses that phrase) – I knew I had to try it. Plus she gives instructions on how to freeze and thaw the dough, which is exactly what I wanted to know.

I had plans to make pizza for dinner the night The Fellow™ was getting his new tattoo. It seemed like good, hearty celebratory food he would enjoy. In fact, we both enjoyed it, immensely.

I’ll link the tips and tricks article down below the cut, but some lovely highlights from it include:

*letting the dough rest for up to 15 minutes if it springs back a lot
*reiterating how important it is to have a baking stone (or in my case, a cast iron pizza tray I got for my birthday…)
*why freezing the dough is so much more important than refrigerating it

Andouille Four Cheese Pizza & Homemade Pizza Crust

Source: Annie’s Eats [Perfect Homemade Pizza Crust]
Additional Reading at Annie’s Eats [Perfect Homemade Pizza Crust Tips & Tricks]

Ingredients

Pizza Crust
1/2 cup warm water
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
4 cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 cups water, at room temperature
2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Pizza Toppings
7 ounces andouille sausage
pepper jack
parmesan
sharp white cheddar
colby-jack
4 ounces tomato paste
1/3 cup water
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
pepper

Directions

1) Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle the yeast over the top. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the bread flour and salt, mixing briefly to blend. Measure the room temperature water into the measuring cup with the yeast-water mixture. With the mixer on low speed, pour in the yeast-water mixture, as well as the olive oil. Mix until a cohesive dough is formed. Switch to the dough hook. Knead on low speed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, 1½-2 hours.

2) Press down the dough to deflate it. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Form each piece of dough into a smooth, round ball. (If freezing the dough, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze at this point.) Cover with a damp cloth. Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no longer than 30 minutes.

3) In a small sauce pan, heat the tomato sauce, water, garlic, pepper, and onion powder. Cut up the andouille into bite size pieces. Set it and the sauce aside.

4) To bake, preheat the oven and pizza stone to 500˚ F for at least 30 minutes. Transfer the dough to your shaping surface, lightly sprinkled with cornmeal. Shape the dough with lightly floured hands. Brush the outer edge lightly with olive oil. Top as desired. Bake until the crust is golden brown, and cheese is bubbling, 8-12 minutes.

If you’re planning on freezing the dough, read the second link up top. Very helpful hints all around.

Advertisements