Monday. I thought it was going to be a great one. It started off with the coffee place next to my office giving me a $2 coupon for having to wait in a long line! That’s totally a sign for a great day ahead, right? Nope. That was the “oh hey, this line you’re waiting in, that’s the easiest part of your day, so we’re going to give you a coupon as a sorry-the-rest-of-your-day-is-about-to-blow consolation prize. Sucker.”
I later spilled that coffee down the front of me while trying to balance my now mobile office in my arms while I fled one office in order to try to make it to another office across town in time for a meeting, with again, everything from said first office.
Yeah. It was one of those days. Half of my department had moved on to greener pastures (by half I mean the one other person that worked in my department), and so I’m back to running marketing and leasing for three buildings. Oh and the 3rd building that has a ‘manager’ who’s really not a manager but more like a ‘house mother’ who is technically ‘my department’ although I don’t really consider her an employee, she’s also going on vacation for a few weeks this week so that means I get her cell phone too. Come Wed evening, I’ll have three work phones. And I was apparently wearing a sign on my back that said, “Ask me. Ask me the dumbest question you can think of. Do it. Then think of the next dumbest question and ask me that one next!” When I wasn’t getting that, I was getting guilt tripped by families who basically told me that either I did what they wanted or they would lose their job or their Mom would literally die; which would I prefer? One of those Mondays.
Needless to say, by the time I made it home, I was spent. And I wanted pizza. And wine. And my studly husband had a bottle of Barbera and pizza toppings waiting for me so we could make pizza, drink wine, and forget our horrendous days. Except he was coming off of a whole week of it. Last week, the week where I made him sympathy poutine and he fell asleep while getting ready for a Super Bowl party? That week he clocked 108 hours. One hundred and eight freaking hours. Yeah.
We love homemade pizza. And our favorite part about it? The homemade crust. Thank goodness my husband shares my love and appreciation for what a true pizza crust is: thin, crispy, and crunchy. Just how the Italians intended. Chicago, I adore your city but I despise your pizza.
Pizza dough is pretty simple. And this recipe is probably the easiest we’ve ever made. But, with that said, it’s not the best. Our go to recipe requires prep the day before, but this particular night, we just didn’t have the time. I was in the mood for pizza right then. Not tomorrow. So we found this super quick recipe. Flour, water, quick rising yeast, salt, sugar, oil.
A quick mix of the dry ingredients, flour, salt, and sugar, and then Dan, out of habit, added the quick rise yeast to the water the activate it. Silly. The whole point of quick rise yeast is that you don’t have to activate it in warm water. But my little bread baker is so used to that step, he did it automatically. I freakin love him.
Then we added the oil, water, and yeast.
And mixed with a spoon until it came together.
Then Dan kneaded it a few times by hand.
Until it was like this. We were going to let it rise a little, although the recipe didn’t call for it, but then we realized the longer we let it rest, the further away eating pizza would be. So we gave it about 15 minutes and then rolled it out.
Dan is so much better at this process than I am. I honestly just don’t have the patience. I like dough to do what it’s told. Pizza dough takes a lot of work to mold and that annoys me. So I let Dan do it.
Plus, he’s much better at it.
Once the dough was ready, we prepped the baking pan. Dan prefers to use polenta over cornmeal; I don’t really taste a difference.
Perfect! Had I tried to do that, I would have given up half way and gotten a weird oblong shape that the dough just slumped into after I told it screw. I really don’t like rolling out pizza dough.
Then it was time to dress it with some homemade pizza sauce and our favorite toppings. My favorite pizza is a margherita and Dans is mushroom and onion. So we did half and half.
First up, the sauce. It was the perfect consistency. Not too thin and runny, but not too paste-y either.
Then the fresh mozzarella. I wish my mozzarella would melt better, but it just doesn’t. Apparently it’s because it’s not a low-moisture mozzarella and all the shortcuts to making it so fast make it less melty. Oh well. I think I’d rather have fast mozzarella over super melty mozzarella… right now. As our cheese making skills get better, we’ll explore how to make a softer mozzarella that gets ooey and gooey melted.
In the meantime, we’ll take this. I used a whole ball from 1 gallon of milk for this. It was a pretty good sized pizza and I probably could have sliced the mozzarella a little thinner, but I was really anxious for pizza.
Then, the toppings. One half for the husband and one half for me. I really love that Dan’s favorite pizza toppings are mushroom and onions. I don’t know why, I just do; I think it’s adorable.
Then my side. Some ripped fresh basil…
And some fresh sliced roma tomatoes.
Yeess. Finally ready to cook!
After 30 mins at 350 degrees (our goal was to cook it longer at a lower temp in hopes to melt the not so melty mozzarella cheese)
It was like two whole pizzas!
Pizza from scratch and a Barbera. Perfect end to a pretty crap-tastic Monday. The sauce had a ton of flavor and the crust was super crispy. A little thicker than we normally like and, again, the dough recipe wasn’t our go to, this one was a little sweeter than we like. But damn. It hit the spot. And then was plenty left over for lunch (and my dinner) the next night! It tasted even better cold the next day!
Easy Pizza Dough
- 3 cups of all purpose flour (or bread flour since that’s all we had. Wheat flour would have been good too)
- 1/2 teaspoon of active dry yeast (or 1 package)
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 1 cup of warm water
Mix the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast. Add oil and water and mix with spoon until a ball forms. Then knead with hands until it is a smooth ball. Cover and let rest for an hour (or however long you can wait).
Roll out dough to desired thickness. Top with sauce. Top with mozzarella. Top with toppings. Dust baking pan / pizza stone with cornmeal or polenta.
Bake for 350 degrees at 30 mins or 500 degrees for 10 -15 minutes.