Real Easy Pizza

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spinach mushroom white pizza

Servings: 6 smallish slices

Cost per serving: $1.33 (calculated with all organic products, and using fresh mozzarella instead of shredded, so this is the highest price possible unless you really go all out)

Pizza hut medium pizza: 8.48 or $1.41 per slice

Calories of one slice from pizza hut (of a similar size): 320

Tools Needed

  • Large bowl
  • Small bowl
  • Baking pan
  • Wash cloth
  • Large spoon
  • Rolling pin *or* clean wine bottle *or* gentle fingers

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ c flour
  • 1/2 (0.25 oz) package of active dry yeast
  • Roughly 1 c warm water separated
  • 1 t sugar (you could also use 1 honey if you don’t eat sugar)
  • 1 t salt
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 6 oz mozzarella cheese
  • 1/3 c pasta sauce
  • 1/3 T garlic salt
  • Your choice of toppings
  • *Optional* 2 T corn meal

To Make

  1. In the small bowl, mix the sugar and yeast in 1/3 cup warm water. A note on the water: it should be about like bath water. You don’t want it to be too hot to touch because it will kill the yeast, but if it’s cold it also won’t encourage the yeast to activate. Let the yeast mixture sit for about 10 minutes. This step is to check to see if the yeast is still working. If it is working, the mixture will become foamy and creamy.
  2. In the large bowl, mix the flour and salt together
  3. Add the yeast/water mixture and stir to combine
  4. Turn the oven on for a few minutes and then turn it off. This will make it a little bit warm so you can set your dough it in for it to rise more quickly (or at all sometimes). Make sure it’s not really hot though, or it will bake the outside layer of the dough. You just want it to feel like a hot day inside the oven (80-90 degrees F).
  5. You will have to add more water for the dough to pull together into a ball. Add warm water one tablespoon at a time until no loose flour is left. You’re looking for a consistency of some elasticity in the dough, but you don’t want it to be so soggy that it sticks to surfaces and leaves goopy chunks.
  6. Once it becomes too hard to mix with a spoon, knead with your hands on a floured surface for one to 5 minutes
  7. Lightly coat your large bowl and the dough ball in olive oil and cover the bowl with a damp cloth. Put it in the oven (again making sure it’s not hot enough to bake) and let it rise to about twice its original size. This will take about half an hour to 45 minutes.Image
  8. While the bread is rising you can get your toppings ready. If you don’t have pasta or pizza sauce, just combine 3 T tomato paste, 1/3 c water, ¼ T salt, and 1 T Italian herbs (garlic, oregano, black pepper, parsley, basil, rosemary). Let it warm up and mix thoroughly. Let it stand for a few minutes to thicken up. If it needs to be thicker, add more tomato paste.
  9. When the dough is ready, take it out and preheat the oven to 475 degrees F.
  10. Set the dough ball on a floured surface and flatten it (don’t try to roll it into a different ball, just set it down and squish it into a circle or it will have a bunch of weird folds in it). If you have a rolling pin, flatten the dough out into a circle with it, if not, use a clean wine bottle, or just stretch it out gently with your hands. It will only puff up a little bit, so roll it out just slightly thinner than you like your crust. I like to fold up the edges when I’m done so that it keeps the sauce from oozing out, and makes the crust a bit thicker.
  11. If you have corn meal, sprinkle some on a clean surface and set your flatted pizza dough in it so that it lightly coats the bottom
  12. Now you can spread your sauce, cheese, and toppings on it. A note on cheese: you can use pre-packaged shredded mozzarella, but the fresh stuff cut into thin circles will bring your pizza deliciousness up several notches.
  13. Lightly oil the baking pan, and the crust of your pizza. Sprinkle a tiny bit of garlic salt around the crust.
  14. Bake the pizza for 10 to 20 minutes depending on your desired crunchiness. The cheese should be thoroughly melted and the crust should be golden brown on the edges.

You can also use this dough recipe to make focaccia bread. Just roll it into a different shape at about ½ inch thickness, coat the top with some oil, salt, and herbs (rosemary is a good one), and squish some shallow holes into it with your fingers. Let it set undisturbed in a warm place for about 15 minutes before you bake it.

Another thing you can use it for is bread sticks. Just separate the dough into small balls and roll into little logs. Coat them in oil, garlic salt, and corn meal. Or flatten the logs and roll them around a strip of mozzarella cheese for cheese-filled bread sticks.

Nutrition Facts

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Nutritional information calculated at http://recipes.sparkpeople.com/recipe-calculator.asp

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