Thursday, August 21, 2008

Personalized Pizza Night

I was so looking forward to making my first batch of pizzas on the grill but that did not happen :( We were having trouble with our grill that evening, but I had already made Ina's pizza crust and gotten some toppings ready to go so we just did these pizzas in the oven, and they turned out perfectly!

I'll let you know how to do them in the oven if you are having grill difficulties or you just want an easy version for homemade pizzas...

Grilled California Pizzas
Ina Garten

For the dough:

1 1/4 cups warm (100 to 110 degrees F) water
2 packages dry yeast (3 teaspoons bread machine yeast if using bread machine dough cycle!)
1 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons good olive oil
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
2 teaspoons kosher salt

Topping Suggestions:

1 red onion, thinly sliced
1 pound fresh mozzarella, grated
1/2 pound Italian Fontina, grated
1/2 pound mild goat cheese, such as Montrachet, sliced
1 red or yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and julienned
6 plum tomatoes, sliced
1 bunch basil leaves, cleaned and dried
4 garlic cloves, roasted
Crushed red pepper flakes
how about mushrooms too?

For prep: 1/2 cup good olive oil Cornmeal

*Below is the 'by hand' and 'grilled' method -- bread machine dough cycle and oven baked method is mentioned later :)

For the dough, combine the water, yeast, honey, and olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. Add 3 cups flour, then the salt, and mix. While mixing, add 1 more cup of flour, or enough to make a soft dough. Knead the dough on low to medium speed for about 10 minutes until smooth, sprinkling it with flour, if necessary, to keep it from sticking to the bowl.

When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured board and knead by hand a dozen times. It should be smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it several times to cover it lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Divide the dough into 6 equal parts and roll each one into a smooth ball. Place the balls on a baking sheet and cover them with a damp towel. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.

If you've chilled the dough, take it out of the refrigerator approximately 30 minutes ahead to let it come to room temperature. Roll and stretch each ball into a rough 8-inch circle and place them all on baking sheets sprinkled with cornmeal. (You will be able to fit 2 pizzas on each 18 by 13-inch baking sheet.)

Light your grill and wait until it's hot.

Place the pizzas directly onto the grill and cook on 1 side for 1 minute. Turn the pizzas over and brush with olive oil or garlic oil.

Top the pizzas with any toppings you wish, piling them high. Drizzle each pizza with 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Put the lid on your grill and cook for 5 minutes more, until the crust is crisp and the toppings are cooked.


This dough is easily made in the bread machine on dough cycle, just follow the order you use for ingredients in your machine -- with mine it is liquids on the bottom, then flour, and then yeast and other dry ingredients on top. The only change to the above ingredients is instead of using two packets of yeast use 3 teaspoons of bread machine yeast. Use your dough cycle and these personal pizza crusts could not be any easier, plus kids absolutely love shaping their own crusts, how fun! All you need to do it take it out after the dough cycle, divide it up until 5 or 6 pizzas, and shape your crusts, the thinner the better, about 1/2 inch thick, they will rise plenty in the oven! Then top and bake, no second rise required.

Oh, what fun!

If you like sauce go ahead and add some, I love a saucy pizza, and for these pizzas we used a slow cooked marinara sauce (secret ingredient cinnamon) that I had made for lasagna -- the leftovers were a perfect sauce for these pizzas!

If you decide to do these in the oven bake them at 375 for about 10 minutes, you should be 'babysitting' the oven, lift up the bottoms with an ovensafe spatula and check for doneness if you are not sure, you want the bottoms golden brown. If your bottoms brown up for just broil the cheese for about 45 seconds for that golden brown top.

The above pizza was baked in an 8 inch square pan to make it 'deep dish' -- and it turned out perfectly! The rest were baked on regular baking sheets.

My whole family had so much fun with this recipe, I love the topping suggestions, I didn't use them all, but I did buy some goat cheese especially for these pizzas, amazing! It we eat out pizza at a gourmet place I always get goat cheese, but never thought to buy it for homemade pizzas. It made them melt-in-your-mouth smooth and delicious, yum! Thank you so much Rebecca of Ezra Pound Cake who picked this recipe as our bonus Barefoot Bloggers August recipe.

I can't wait until I get to try these on the grill as Ina intended, but until then, these will be happily made by our family and baked in the oven :)


Natashya said...

Your pizzas look yummy, glad the kids had so much fun with them!

Anonymous said...

Oh, that's so cute! I love kiddos helping in the kitchen. Glad you still made them even though the grill was out of commission.
~The Cat's Pajamas

Rebecca of "Ezra Pound Cake" said...

Wow, these look great! I'm sorry your grill needs an exorcism, but it looks like you guys had an awesome pizza night.

Lisa said...

Your pizza looks sooo good! What cuties you have helping you. Nice blog you have too!

Suzie said...

I think I might try mine in the oven next time - I burnt the bottoms on the grill! Your little ones are so cute too.

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