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Pizza Night

post #1 of 31
Thread Starter 
Inspired by another thread that's been in effect for 5 years I thought I'd start a new pizza thread. Hubby and I have come upon a great discovery - pizza night with friends! We have repeated this activity at least 5 times with different friends all with great amazing results: easy to put together, friends have a blast! Everyone leaves saying "wow what a great idea that was!"

I make the dough an hour or 2 before friends come, then I make the sauce and set aside. Everything is homemade, no premade sauces, or grated cheese from a bag. I cut all the toppings and lay them out buffet style. Each person gets their own individual dough balls for their own personal pizza. It's funny to watch everyone spread their own crust and assemble their own pizza. While they're doing that I dress the caesar salad. The pizzas are cooked in a 500 oven and they're done in 10 minutes. It's a great deal of fun.

I don't agonize over the procedure of dough and sauce. The simpler is better - I don't even measure really. If you're interested in the recipe I got it from Jamie Oliver.

Dough
- 1 tbsp fresh yeast
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 cups warm water
- 4-6 cups all purpose unbleached flour (some of this can be semolina too)
- 1 tsp salt

1. In a bowl mix the fresh yeast with the sugar, add the warm water and mix. Leave for 5minutes to ferment.
2. In a large mixing bowl stir the salt into the flour, then add the yeast mix.
3. Mix and knead... add more water or more flour accordingingly. I like my dough to be rather soft. Airate the dough by stretching apart and kneading together again.
4. Divide into single serving balls and place on a cookie sheet that was been lightly greased. Cover with a cloth and place in a warm spot.
5. After the balls have risen knead again and allow them to rise again.
6. When the crusts have been formed lay them on a lightly greased baking sheet.


Sauce
-1 large tin of crushed tomatoes
-1 small onion finely diced
-olive oil
-salt/pepper
-dry oregano
-fresh chopped basil (lots!)

1. sweat the onion, then add the tomato and the s/p, and oregano.
2. Allow it to slowly simmer for 15 minutes or so.
3. Turn off the heat and stir in the fresh basil.

Toppings
-Only freshly grated mozzarella will do, as long as it's not too wet.
-fresh mushrooms, tossed in a little olive oil and oregano
-anchovies - a must around here
-parmesan cheese
-smoked ham
-all the veggies you like



What we've come to learn from this is that no 2 pizzas are alike. Some of our friends make them very rustic looking, others agonize over making a perfect circled, some need the toppings to be equidistant apart, while others toss on as many as they can possibly fit. Most lay out the tomato sauce on the crust and then sprinkle it with lots of dried chili pepper flakes to make it spicy. I've come to find out that everyone loves green peppers! Try it next time you're having a dinner party - it's low key, fun, but not at all difficult to orchestrate.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #2 of 31
i can never roll mine out thin enough, its too elastic-y.
post #3 of 31
There are different doughs for different kinds of pizza. Thin crust pizza dough is often a 2 day affair with some time in the fridge for it to relax. You should develop/learn 3 different pizza doughs:
  1. thin crust
  2. normal
  3. Chicago pan

The food processor can be a helpful tool for mixing and kneading the dough quickly as these are usually not large batches.

One dough will not do it all well.
post #4 of 31
no green peppers here. sausage, pepperoni and olive, mmmm.
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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post #5 of 31
Thread Starter 
Too fussy for me, pizza is easy. Not interested in normal and even less interested in chicago pan style. My dough works really well for our thin crusts, no complaints. Not claiming it's the best but it definitely rivals the thin crusts I've had in Italy.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #6 of 31
Dont forget Sicilian(real thick, rectangle slice):D
CHEFED
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CHEFED
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post #7 of 31
We've been doing pizza parties for a while now with great success -my version only differs from yours slightly:

I prefer a thin crust that has a snap and crunch to it:
my recipe:

prepare the day before,

1000g "OO" flour
250 ml warm water
250 ml buttermilk
25g salt
12g dry yeast or 25 g fresh yeast
50 ml olive oil

proceed as the OP directs, with an additional overnight fermentation in the fridge.

Sauce can be debated for days, mine is very simple, but as always it is the procedure that counts:

-lightly crush 4 cloves of garlic (flat and split but still whole) place them in a 2 qt sauce pan with about 1/2 inch cold olive oil in it.

-place it over the lowest flame possible until the garlic just begins to brown -this should take at least 15 minutes. slow is the key here, and do not brown the garlic.

-tear a half pound of fresh basil into the pan and add a cup of water and a pinch of salt to it,
-raise the heat slightly so the water just comes to a simmer, let it simmer until all the water is gone.

-add a quart of your favorite crushed tomatoes, a pinch of chili flake and balance with salt -let it come to a simmer and shut it off.

presto.

But the cooking is the real magic!
-Place your pizza stone on the barbecue, let it come up to 500 (at least 1/2 hour)

-throw some hardwood chips in the tray, slide your pie onto the stone and shut the lid.

-in three to five minutes you have as good a wood fired pizza as in any restaurant (probably better)
nel maiale, tutto e buono!
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nel maiale, tutto e buono!
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post #8 of 31
The thin crust recipe I use is a clone of the Pizza Inn crust. The recipe can be found here PizzaMaking.com - Pizza Making, Pizza Recipes, and More! it is a very low hydration dough with a 24 hour counter top ferment. It makes a very thin and crispy cracker style crust that I roll out instead of stretch.
post #9 of 31
My recipe is:

300ml tepid water
10g dry active yeast
15 ml honey

500g bread flour
5 g salt
30 ml extra virgin olive oil

I prefer to have the dough ferment in the fridge overnight. I find that it builds a lot of flavor that way.
Jason Sandeman

Real Food Through Solid Technique
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Jason Sandeman

Real Food Through Solid Technique
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post #10 of 31
Wow that looks better than any pizza chain's pizza. I'm gonna have to try this out in a few days and get back to you.
post #11 of 31
Ok I have a few questions regarding this..

-Where do you buy fresh yeast
-Where do you buy unbleached flour
-How large are you talking about for the tin of crushed tomatoes
-About how much olive oil, salt+pepper and dry oregano do you use

Thanks for any answer
post #12 of 31
Thread Starter 
Fresh yeast is available at most grocery stores. If it's hard to find then ask someone that works in the refrigerated section of the store near the butter and dairy. If you can't find it no biggy, just use dried.

Unbleached flour is also available at the regular grocery store. Pillsbury All-Purpose Unbleached flour is fine.

I usually use a 28oz can of crushed tomatoes but you can make as little or as much as you like. It's more than enough and whatever is left over I stick in the freezer for the next pizza night.

I don't measure quantities, use as much as you like. I don't use any more than 2 tbsp of oil. Salt, pepper, oregano: it's up to you. I don't measure, I taste as I go. Add a little, taste, then add some more if necessary. You can't go wrong with oregano but make sure you salt according to your taste buds.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #13 of 31
Thanks! I can't wait to try this out:roll:
post #14 of 31
I have a question since I'm making the pizza right now.

-When you put the cloth over the dough how high will it rise, or what does it look like?

Also, I wasn't sure how thick the 'balls' were supposed to be since theyre to rise.

post #15 of 31
a good healthy dough will double in size. it will look much like it did before it rose. you may see some air bubbles that have formed in the dough. a good next step on your cooking CB23, pizza's like these are simple, can be inexpensive and have endless variety. good luck
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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post #16 of 31
the balls should just be of even weight and rolled into a ball shape. place in a bowl brush with olive oil and cover with a towel. leave in a moderate temperature area, i leave mine on my countertop.
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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post #17 of 31
Thanks for the reply. I didn't roll any of them into balls, but I'll see how it turns out. :cool:
post #18 of 31
That's what it turned out to look like. It was pretty thick, I didn't know how high it was gonna rise but I guess I'll know next time.
post #19 of 31
Thread Starter 
Good job. I'd eat it. You can't go wrong with pizza, even if it turns out too thick, too thin, too yeasty, too overloaded... it's all good.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #20 of 31
looks pretty good for a first try. next time make the dough into balls, let rise and then gently press down and roll out into a nice and thin crust. add yer toppings and brush a little olive oil around the edge before you bake it. adds great color and flavor.
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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post #21 of 31
The problem at the end was I put the yeast in the fridge, but when I put it on the pan it kept scrunching up again. Like I'd stretch it out but it'd attempt to get smaller, or I'd make it too thin where it'd get holes.
post #22 of 31
cold dough no bueno
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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post #23 of 31
Actually, cold dough is needed especially when doing the crisp thin crust Pizza and I'm talking more the Neapolitan style but it's the case. (Just for the record....it's pronounced nap-li-tahn;) )

The yeast is not bloomed and the water is actually added in the form of ice water. The dough is formed into the normal round pillows as you would for rising, but it's store in the cooler or under non-ideal conditions to keep the yeast activation down. There is no first rise performed for this type of dough since too much warmth too early in the process yields a much more bread like crust. It's important to dock your dough as well if you are trying for a thin Neapolitan style.

It seems to me that every region, where a style of pizza originated, has many nuances that vary. That's what makes them unique to the culture that brought them up. There is no one best or better way to make pizza, it's kind've like BBQ and regional by tastes. Each one has brought something to the table. Still, I have had some Pizzas that I wouldn't even classify as chum but that's my personal opinion.

IMHPO.....The dough is important, but it's merely a vessel for the sauce and toppings. The sauce and the toppings are what makes a pizza for me. Plus, there shouldn't be 3 gallons of the sauce nor 10lbs of cheese on top. I can't understand how you can taste anything else when there is all that other shtuff involved.:look:

A disclaimer for the record.....I don't claim to be a "Pizza Expert" With that said and out of the way......I would like to add, however, that during my career I did start out in local Chicago Pizzerias to the tune of 3 years experience and have served Pizzas in many other operations throughout my career so..........:smiles:

In all honesty, the Pizzas that have been shown here are very nice looking and made me want to go throw a recipe together just to enjoy some.
post #24 of 31
Thread Starter 
I agree, too much cheese, too much sauce, and an overload of toppings really affect the outcome in a negative way, especially if you're looking for a crisp thin crust. Nothing worse than doughy undercooked pizza but burnt on the edges. It's a simple rustic dish that can be made in many ways but simplicity is always best.

Quality toppings (ham, veggies), fresh herbs, real mozzarrella cheese, and a home made sauce are unbeatable. It would cost us much much less to order a pizza delivery but you can't beat the ingredients I use.

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #25 of 31
If the dough is fighting you let it rest for 20-30 minutes. It will relax and become more manageable. On the thin cracker style crust cold dough is almost impossible to handle, it is to stiff to roll out.
post #26 of 31
Glad this thread came along. It's been awhile since we've made homemade pizza and the topic got me in the mood so this weekend the Martins will be making pizza!
http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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http://www.onceachef.com/ is my personal blog where I share many recipes, my passion for cooking, and all things food.
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post #27 of 31
That's where practicing the time honored technique of hand stretching the pizza comes in handy.

Your hands warm the dough just enough to make stretching it easier. Problem is it can be a tad messy in the home kitchen. :D

You may not be as good as the guy in the Visa commercial at the first try but.........who knows! :lol:

By the way.....if you do make just enough dough for what you need no refrigeration is necessary. Just use cold water (ice water is optional but will help make a crispier crust) and make your Zaaaa just prior to throwing it in the oven.

We use the square stone bought at Williams Sonoma and a 550 degree oven, fan on of course, just to get that little extra umph.;)

Pete, I'd have to agree with you that it was nice this thread came along. It's been months since I've made pizza....maybe this weekend will be the one. Guess it all depends on the weather and a couple other pesky issues:crazy:
post #28 of 31
Mmmmm home made pizza yum.

My fav is mozzarella, pepponi, olive and anchovie, thin base, dried oregano over the top.

What do others think about making extra pizza bases then freezing? I find it very handy for quick mid-week meals when the working day has been hectic and then I've got taxi duty for the young 'uns at night.
 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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 Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy.
Robert A. Heinlein

 
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post #29 of 31
Thread Starter 
Good idea to make pizzas and freeze them but how would you store it? Stick in the freezer until frozen and then wrap in plastic?

"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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"You are what you eat, so don't be fast, cheap, easy, or fake."

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post #30 of 31
Exactly! We do it all the time. Mostly with the pan style I had talked about and shown in http://www.cheftalk.com/forums/food-...za-thread.html

Actually if you under bake them the whole pizza reheats rather nicely. Just don't use too many ingredients that hold or leach water.....This makes the pizza crust wayy to soggy when you reheat. I actually like to reheat the cuts individually. With the pizza I normally do and square cut, the crust gets really nice and crisp like individual, mini pizzas.:D:lips:
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