I Spy a Pizza Pie

Okay, so after an inexcusably long break from this blogging business, I'm back! A couple of updates from the past few months:

-I graduated (yay!) and moved away from New York City (boo.)
-I had to fortune of dining at Per Se. A culinary dream come true. 

Behind the scenes. There's a live feed to the French Laundry on that TV screen.
-This post was Certified Yummly
-There's a new resident in my kitchen. It's pretty and shiny. Look! 

This has been on my wishlist for quite a long time but my trusty hand mixer has proven itself to be the little mixer that could so I never really needed a stand mixer. I still use it often since sometimes bigger is not necessarily better (like stove top mixing for hollandaise sauce? More on that in a later post...) However, its bigger, more powerful sibling makes baking as easy... as pizza pie. 

If you're a pizza aficionado, there are a few extra steps you can take to make a stellar pizza. The dough can be made with a special flour and the pizza can be baked on a pizza stone in a blistering hot oven. I don't make pizza often though, so bread flour and a plain ol' pizza pan on the bottom rack of my oven will do. I made half barbeque chicken (barbeque sauce+grilled chicken+caramelized onions+mozzarella) and half margherita (tomato sauce+fresh basil+mozzarella). 

Tips and recipe after the jump...

This is my favourite pizza dough recipe. It makes a nice chewy crust with crispy edges. A few tips:
-A slow rise will develop the most flavour in the crust. Make the dough the day before and let it rise overnight in the fridge if you have time. 
-Brush the bottom of the crust with olive oil so that it crisps (and doesn't stick to the pan). Brush the top of the crust before you top it to prevent the toppings from making it soggy. 
-If the crust is on the thicker side (about 1/4" before baking), prebake it for about 10 minutes before adding toppings and finishing it in the oven. This way, the crust will cook through without burning the toppings. 

Pizza Dough

Yields 2 (14-inch thin or 12-inch thick) pizza crusts  

3 1/2 to 4 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1 envelope active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt (I used garlic salt for extra flavour!)
1 1/2 cups water (110 F)
2 tablespoons olive oil

In the bowl of the stand mixer, stir sugar into water. Sprinkle over yeast and allow to dissolve and foam (don't stir). Add 2 cups of flour, salt and olive oil. Stir and add flour a little at a time until the dough cleans the sides of the bowl and comes together in a solid ball. Knead dough until it forms a smooth, firm ball. 

Allow dough to rise in a large bowl greased with olive oil until doubled in size (about 1 hr at room temperature or overnight in the fridge). Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into two equal pieces. Cover with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Shape, top and bake as desired.

For a 12 inch diameter thick crust pizza, prebake the crust (oiled on both sides and sprinkled with cornmeal on the bottom) at 450 F for 10 minutes. Top and bake another 10-15 minutes.

Recipe adapted from Grill It! with Bobby Flay
Images property of beets and bites