In advance – Apologies for the horrible pictures! Bad lighting and el cheapo camera! My usual camera is having a tantrum.
With that aside – I made some pizzas the other night that were probably the best pizza I’ve ever had!
I used the French Bread recipe for a crust but I added pepper, oregano, rosemary and basil to the dough.
After the 3rd stretch & fold of the dough, I divided enough to make a large pizza on a baking sheet, and used the rest to make 4 personal sized pizzas. This worked out because there were 4 of us for dinner!
If you plan ahead, make this dough a day or 2 ahead of time and let it bulk ferment in the fridge, the flavors change a lot during a cold ferment.
After dividing, I shaped them and gently used my fingers to dimple to crust up to the edges, let them proof, brushed the tops with oil, and pre-cooked on the bottom rack at 500F for 5 minutes to prevent any sogginess from the toppings. The baking sheets were first oiled to help the bottom of the crust get crispy.
I had shredded zucchini and spaghetti squash in the freezer from last years’ harvest. I defrosted it in the nuker and left it to drain in a strainer over a bowl while I caramelized 2 yellow onions.
Once the zucchini and squash had drained, I squeezed out the excess water. I roughly chopped 2 cloves of garlic. All of this was mixed together with a drizzle of oil, salt, pepper, chili flakes, oregano, basil and rosemary. I spread it out on a baking sheet and put it under the broiler for 10 minutes – mixing occasionally – to bring out the flavors.
I fried 3 italian sausages, 1 knackwurst, and about 4 oz. of steak and sliced them up.
Everything was left to cool while I sliced up more onion, green pepper and tomato, and grated some mozzarella.
Once everything was cooked, cooled and chopped accordingly, I moved on to assembly while preheating the oven to 475F.
The oven should preheat at least 1/2 an hour.
I used 3 parts pizza sauce:1 part ceasar salad dressing to coat the crust.
Then I layered:
- caramelized onions
- zucchini/squash mixture
- fresh cracked black pepper
- steak, sausage, and knackwurst
- raw onion, green peppers, and tomatoes (on half)
- mozzarella cheese
- oregano & pepper
WHEW! Straight into the oven at 475F until the crust was brown and the cheese was bubbly. (About 10 – 14 minutes depending on size of pizzas, which rack is used, which pan is used, etc.)
If making 2 pizzas, do them consecutively, NOT on different racks in oven.
I used oiled metal sheets as that is what I have to work with. So I used the bottom rack of the oven.
The 4 smaller pizzas took 10 minutes. The large pizza took 13 minutes.
Watch carefully while baking anything on the bottom rack;) After all that work, I watched extra closely!!
The prepared pizzas could also be placed on a sturdy sheet of cardboard and wrapped in plastic and frozen until needed. If the sheet was oiled, and the crust pre-cooked, you should be able to slide them straight onto the cardboard.
It was a fair amount of work, but they were so good I know I’ll make them again!
Yesterday as chance would have it, I came across an ad for a free Craftsy class by Peter Reinhart on making pizzas at home. I watched all the videos before deciding to share them.
The lessons are well done, I love the way Craftsy has everything set up!! (I can’t believe I took so long to discover them!)
You can watch video, take notes, ask questions, and browse course materials. If you’re nervous about trying out pizza making, this is definitely worth checking out!!
Free Craftsy Class – Perfect Pizza at Home with Peter Reinhart
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