The past couple of weeks, Mr. Ahi Tuna Man (refer to The Birth Of A Food Blog Baby) and I have taken a mild interest in making our own pizzas. And by ‘mild interest’, I mean ‘frighteningly obsessed’. It all started with a food porn picture of an Apple Bacon Gorgonzola Pizza that he sent me. Yum, right? So I was all, “We could totally make that!”, but I was really thinking to myself, “The one time I attempted pizza crust from scratch I ended up feeding it to the ducks, and immediately thereafter was shunned by the duck community.”. However, the promise of an amazing pizza crust recipe from him had me feeling pretty confident. As it turns out, it wasn’t nearly as difficult as I’d imagined. In my mind, I sort of pictured me covered in flour and yeast, like a bad ‘I Love Lucy’ episode. But, happily, I pulled that shit off. Like a boss. You can do it, too. I promise. This is totally Pizza Crust For Dummies down below.
Now, let me explain something about flour here. My initial crust attempts included 1 cup of all-purpose, and 2 cups of cake flour; However, upon doing further research, I discovered a fancy-schmancy Italian flour that supposedly makes super crackery/bubbly/chewy crusts. It’s called 00 Flour. It’s like Secret Agent Man flour. I’d never heard of it before, but found it at my local Italian grocery store. So for this pizza in this here blog, I used 3 cups of 00 Secret Agent Man Flour. Both crusts were pretty damn delicious. Crunchy on the edges with a nice pleasant chewiness towards the center. I did good. However, I am going to keep experimenting until I achieve pizza crust perfection. Mark. My. Words. Any pizza crust tips would be greatly appreciated. I’m no Master Chef. Help a broad out.
Anyway, we’ve also recently become very happily acquainted with kale. I’ve always been a little scared of kale. It doesn’t look very appealing, all green and leafy and intimidating. However, I was feeling a little nutty one day and decided to try some in salad form, and it did not offend my tastebuds whatsoever. In fact, it made me a little happy. It’s also totally healthy and full of fiber. I’m looking out for your digestive health here. You are welcome.
So I knew I wanted to throw some kale on this pizza, and it seemed like some hot sweet Italian sausage and some salty smoky asiago cheese mixed with some creamy fresh mozzarella would be a nice combo. And it was. Had Mr. Ahi Tuna Man not been there, and had I not been trying to maintain some semblance of being lady-like and dainty (we’re still at the beginning dating stage where I still need to try to be sorta cute), I may have shoved my face directly into it. It’s totally natural. I should probably mention that I am a white pizza girl. There is a time and place for tomato sauce, but most of the time, I prefer to go sauceless. I’m a whore like that.
Prep time: I dunno. The dough’s gotta rise for at least an hour and a half, so do NOT start this shit hungry.
Cooking time: Meh, 9 – 11 minutes or so, depending how thick/thin you go. You have to just watch it. I like my crust thin and super-duper crispy, but if that’s not your thing, take it out earlier. Whatevs.
- Stand mixer w/dough hook (It would be a giant pain in the ass by hand.)
- Pizza stone (I suppose a normal pizza pan would work, but the stone is a pretty kickass thing to have.)
- Rolling pin (For rolling, rolling, rolling.)
- Pastry brush (Just for brushing olive oil on the crust. You could probably just use your hands. We’re all friends here.)
- Pizza pan or giant cookie sheet or something (To throw the pizza on after you take it out of the oven. I’ll explain later.)
- 1 cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 packet active dry yeast (which is about a tablespoon)
- 3 cups of flour (Like I said up there, screw around with your flours. Mix ‘em up. Get crazy.)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Cornmeal, just for dusting stuff so it doesn’t get all sticky and messy
- Olive oil
- Freshly grated mozzarella
- Freshly grated asiago
- Hot sweet Italian sausage (I cooked mine first, and sliced it into cute little rounds. But you can make your sausage your own way. Like BK.)
- Fresh kale, torn into pieces, stems removed (Some people blanch this crap before putting it on the pizza, but I don’t see why. Raw worked delightfully.)
1. First, you put the lime in the coconut… Wait, that’s not right. What you really do is put a packet o’ yeast in a cup of warm water with a teaspoon of sugar, and dissolve that crap for about 5 minutes or so until it kinda looks like a gross yeast latte.
2. Then, toss 3 cups of flour and a teaspoon of salt in a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. If you are like myself, you will first use the dough hook to momentarily pretend like you are Captain Hook, which is totally cool and not weird at all.
3. Once the water/yeast is all foamy-like, turn your mixer on (I usually start at about a 2 speed, and crank it up to 3 or 4 as I go), and SLOWLY pour the water in. Let it incorporate verrrryyyyy sloooowwwwwly, like a freight train you’re stuck at when you have to pee really bad. Soon, it should start forming a cute little ball and pulling away from the sides. Once that happens, dump your ball into a bowl covered in olive oil and throw a kitchen towel over it so it can take an hour and a half nap and rise. Like Jesus.
4. Once It Is Risen, take it out, punch it down so it’s not all obnoxiously fluffy, and divide it into two. Yes, this makes two pizza crusts. So you can use both balls and make two pizzas here, or use just one ball, and save the other ball for fun later.
5. Throw some cornmeal down on a clean, flat surface (Like your countertop. I don’t recommend the floor.) and roll out the dough to your desired thickness. I do a combo of hand stretching and rolling pin rolling. It’s all very technical.
6. Preheat your oven to super hot, like 500 degrees. Stick your pizza stone in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes or so to preheat it.
7. Build that pizza! No need to bake the crust first. Just throw some cornmeal on the pizza stone, toss the raw crust on, brush that baby with oil, and have at it. I went like this with my pizza: Kale, asiago, kale, mozzarella, kale, asiago, sausage. But this is your pizza. Do it to it, baby.
8. Put your pizza baby in the oven for about 9 minutes or so. Take it out before fire ensues. I recommend not being drunk while it’s cooking. You lose all track of time. Not that I would know anything about this.
9. Once done, take it out of the oven, and remove the pizza to a pizza pan or something, otherwise it’ll keep cooking on the stone, and we don’t want a burnt pizza baby.
10. Let it cool for 2 or 3 minutes, bada-boom bada-bing, slice it up, and make your belly happy.
Side note: I should never be put in charge of grating anything. Exhibit A.