Sometimes the right thing to do is to let the recipe speak for itself…but hey, I’m Irish so I don’t have to let anyone or thing do the talking for me!
I plan on having many more pizza stories to share, especially now that Iron Phil and I have been deliberating, no, debating over what the right equipment, ingredients, temperature and so forth that make a perfect home baked pizza.
Pizza is a weird topic on its own. I honestly think that one of the reasons people order it so much is that it is so much easier to have someone make it for us than to make it yourself. Look, I am sure price enters into the conversation too, after-all, it is hard to beat a $10 large pizza from Pizza Hut, or a $5 large one topping at Papa John’s. But let’s just say you LOVE pizza and you order the cool, hip, wood-fired, authentic, and every-other-snob-word pizza instead. What makes it good? Why do you keep coming back? Isn’t pizza just a basic bread dough recipe made of less than 5 ingredients? What gives then?
Toppings are typically not the thing that holds people back, at least I don’t think. Although somewhat intimidating, buying pepperoni and mozzarella at the store seem easy enough, but lets just say you want to make a truly “Hawaiian” pizza at home, or better yet, a pizza that you absolutely LOVE at the local hipster pizzeria and you become a tad paralyzed with fear on how to actually pull it off! I mean, do you buy a pizza “sauce” or do you make it? Then your brain scrambles around to find that one odd fact that you swore someone told you that the peeps from Naples only use tomato sauce…thats it…nothing more. Oh wait…was it a specific tomato? I thought I wasn’t supposed to buy “out of season” tomatoes, no…that can’t be it…wait. Does it come from a jar? A can? Is that even OK? Oh *&%$ what do I do now? I am so confused!
So…we then order from our favorite local pizza chain or gangster independent and call it good. $17-25 later (plus tip, delivery charge, or if you eat there, a beer…), we had a great meal, but somehow still have that sinking feeling inside that we could, no, should make it at home.
I am here to help. I am here to sort through the questions and wade through the debates. I too, was “that guy” who decided for a long time, NOT to make pizza at home for all the reasons listed above and probably a dozen more. Until now…
It starts with the crust.
Whether you like thin crust or thick crust, it all starts here. Serious. I know what you are thinking. Cousin Leonardo has some old-world recipe that kills it every time. Or… “I heard that Trader Joe’s sells pretty good dough in the fridge section that ain’t half bad.” Can I use that? Well of course you can use your cousin’s recipe or buy it from Trader Joe’s or find a local pizza shop that is willing to sell you some dough (many will not)…
But wouldn’t it be that much cooler to your kids if YOU could be the guy who made the dough and put together consistently delicious pizzas for the family? Wouldn’t it be cool to be that dad or uncle? If by some miracle, some chance, some cosmic alignment, you could…then you have the base for a future of consistently good, fun-to-make-with-the-kids, and even more fun to make pizza for every day.
The following recipe is from Jim Lahey, of the “no-knead” loaf of bread fame who made all kinds of dough famous at his NY Sullivan St Bakery. Personally, I have tried all kinds of pizza dough’s. I have made them, bought them, and re-purposed them. A shout out goes to the DALS blog gave me a ton of confidence on this one. This one, is consistent, utilitarian, and will make every one happy. Oh yeah, you can get two dough balls out of it, and it will keep in the freezer for that last minute meal!