Thursday, March 7, 2013

We ♥ (Margherita) Pizza Night!

My stand mixer recently decided to take an extended holiday, so I’ve been feeling like I’ve been forced to bake with one hand tied behind my back, particularly when it comes to breads and other dough creations. Fortunately, I remembered that I had this gem from the King Arthur Flour folks in my repertoire.

This also happens to be my hands-down favorite pizza dough recipe, mixer or no mixer. It’s soooo very easy to make – all you need is a little advance planning, because the dough needs to be mixed the night before.

Often I try to customize pizzas for everyone with different toppings and sometimes sauces, but usually this means I don’t get to sit down and eat with everyone because by the time I’m done baking, everyone else is full. I suppose I could ask peeps to wait for me before eating, but then the pizza would be cold. While I love cold pizza for breakfast, I think that if it’s freshly made, it should be eaten right away.

This time I had a light bulb moment and made just one simple variety of pizza – margherita pizza! Margherita pizza is basically a fancy pants cheese pizza – tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella and fresh basil leaves.

I tripled the recipe for the 4 of us (two adults and two teenaged boys – one of whom is technically an adult), which made 6 medium pizzas. I used a pound of fresh mozzarella which I cut into large cubes – 2.65 ounces per pizza. Yes, I actually scaled out the cheese for each pizza to make sure they were equal. And I topped each pizza with my favorite homemade pizza sauce – I just love its simplicity.

Gemelli Pizza Margherita Sauce
from Artisan Baking by Maggie Glezer

1 28-oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt to taste

Mix ingredients together and set aside until ready to use.

Bakers’ Banter has a very helpful (and detailed) blog post with step by step instructions here, but here are some of my pictures.

The dough, divided and dusted heavily with bread flour.

Pizza dough... patted out on parchment and ready to go in the oven.

After the first trip into the oven -- now topped with sauce and cheese.
(I sprinkled on the oregano belatedly because I forgot
to add it to the sauce!)

The finished product! I miscounted and only had 4 basil leaves
left for the last batch of pizzas.

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