Monday, July 5, 2010

Adventures in Pizza Making

It can often be difficult to find time to make the homemade meals that you'd like to with a busy schedule, as is the case for me and my roommate.  One of the fun ways we have found to get around this dilemma, admittedly with a little cheating, is making our own pizza on pizza nights.  With the help of a couple key ingredients from Trader Joe's (one of my favorite stores) we are able to make mostly homemade pizza quickly and easily.  The added bonus, we have found, is that it can also be tons of fun!

We buy the fresh pizza dough and sauce form Trader Joe's refrigerator section; both of which are very tasty for pre-made, store bought items as well as very reasonably priced (a must for every poor college student).  The dough must relax/rise for about 20 minutes before you stretch it out.  You definitely don't want to skip this step as doing so will result in a chewy crust.  It will relax a bit quicker the warmer the ambient temperature of your kitchen.  While the you're waiting to stretch the dough, prep the rest of the your toppings.  This is a great opportunity to play with toppings that you don't usually get at your local pizza join like artichoke hearts, zucchini, squash or sun dried tomatoes.  Just be careful not to overload or center-load the pie because this can keep the crust from cooking through, especially in the middle.  When it's time to stretch the dough there are several different techniques you can use, all of which are quite affective.  Personally I like to throw my dough because it's quick and let's face it, throwing food is fun!

Once the dough is stretched top the pie and it's time to bake.  With the TJ's dough it takes 11-12 minutes at 450.  Now some people like to use pizza stones or pans, but not me.  My favorite method is using parchment paper and placing the pizza directly on the oven rack.  This will make for a nice crunch on the bottom.  You can use an upside down cookie sheet to load the pizza on the parchment then slide the pizza (on the parchment) off onto the rack.  Perfectly baked pizza every time!


Grammie Jan said...

Well, just look at you , I bet Uncle Jeff would hire you; you really throw that dough very nicely OR did it fall on the floor and you aren't telling us? :-)
The finished product sure looked yummy!
Love you !

caz said...

I can attest to the how delicious this young chef's pizza really is, as I have savored it on more than one occassion. Sadly though, I was not entertained by her masterful skill of tossing the dough. However, I hope to rectify that at some point. Love, Mom (aka caz)