The Fresh Loaf

A Community of Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts.

Pizza always makes a bad day better

BeckyBaker730's picture

Pizza always makes a bad day better

Homemade pizza is a major comfort food for my husband and me, and we really need it today. The holidays are wonderful and all, but sometimes they come with a little too much family strife. The family politics this year are pretty bad, and we're both getting down about it. So I decided a little dough-kneading and cheesy wonderfulness was in order. My pizza dough is rising right now. I started making my own crust several months ago, after I finally got sick of the cardboardy taste of those prepackaged "just-add-water" mixes. My basic recipe is from AllRecipes.Com, but I tweaked it a lot over the number of times I've made it, so it's turned out better each time. It's very similar to the recipe in the "Pizza Primer" on this site, although from looking at that recipe it looks like mine makes half as much dough. As it is, mine makes 2 large pizzas with thicker, chewy crusts, or 4 small thin and crispy pizzas. I do wish I had a peel and a stone to cook it with, though. I just stretch the dough to fit my cookie sheets, so sometimes the bottom of the crust cookes a smidge unevenly.

I think tomorrow I will try the bagel recipe from this site...I LOVE bagels, but always thought they would be ridiculously hard to make (frankly, it was the boiling that always scared me a little). After reading through the Bagel recipe, I think I could probably make a decent batch tomorrow. My husband, a fan of "everything" bagels, would flip out if I figured out how to make a decent bagel from scratch. They are so expensive in the stores around here! To me, there are few things quite as wonderful as a toasty bagel with a little cream cheese and a cup of coffee in the morning. Or any time of day, really.

Anyone have an idea how long homemade bagels will stay fresh? I thought it would be nice to send my mom some homemade bagels for Christmas. Suggestions for wrapping/packaging them? I wanted to bake her something homemade as a gift this year, but she really watches her eating and avoids sugary things, so I didn't really want to make her cookies, fruitcake, or banana bread. Anyone ever tried mailing homemade bagels?


Floydm's picture

Anyone have an idea how long homemade bagels will stay fresh?

I don't. They've never lasted longer than 2 days, in my house. ;^)

BeckyBaker730's picture

Since my pizza turned out so well yesterday (to quote my husband, "the best crust yet!") I thought I'd include the recipe. I tweaked my original recipe a little after reading the Pizza Primer. This crust is so easy to make, and it only needs about 40 minutes to rise. You can let it rise more if you want to, but if you're in a hurry (which I usually am during the school year) this dough can be ready for toppings in an hour.

Pizza Dough
2 and 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (or, 1 packet in the US)
1 tsp brown sugar
1 and 1/2 cups warm water
1 tsp salt
2 TBS canola oil (or any kind of oil...I've also used olive oil)
3-4 cups flour

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and brown sugar in warm water, and let stand for 10 minutes. Stir in salt and oil. Mix in enough of the flour to make a dough that holds together. Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead in more of the flour until dough is elastic and not sticky. Place dough into an oiled bowl; cover and let rise about 40 minutes (longer if you wish). Punch down dough and turn out onto floured surface. Slice dough into 2 large pieces, and let rest 15 minutes before shaping. Preheat oven to 475 degrees F (my oven doesn't seem to want to get to 500 degrees). Pat or roll (I prefer to pat and stretch rather than roll) dough into desired shape (or to fit pans). Add sauce, toppings, and cheese. Place pans in oven and bake until bottom of crust is lightly browned and cheese is carmelized to desired darkness. This is usually about 10 minutes. Makes two large pizzas with about 1/2 inch thick crust.

I was so proud of the crust last had lovely little holes in just the right size throughout, so it was crispy on the outside and a little chewy on the inside. I make one rectangle shaped pizza in my cookie sheet, and one round pizza in a pizza pan (with holes in the bottom) that someone gave us a few years back.

If anyone tries the recipe, let me know how it turns out, and if you tweak it to suit your tastes I would love to hear what you did.