Ahhhh Friday. The best day of the week. Yes, even better than Saturday. You know why? Dogs don’t understand the concept of sleeping in. You go to bed Friday night thinking “ahh I can’t wait to get a few extra hours of sleep tomorrow.” But sure enough, 7:30 am there is a black lab staring you down with eyes saying “Wake up! It’s such a great day to be a dog! We’re going to have to best day EVER!!”
Then you’re awake…I guess that means I have time to go to the gym, I guess I can clean the kitchen, I guess I can catch up on some work, etc. So much for relaxing.
I have spent a lot of time perfecting this recipe. Which means eating a lot of pizza. I’m okay with that. The good news is it’s super easy and fool proof. The bad news is that it does take a bit of babysitting. BUT it freezes really well, so if you have a day off you can make a few batches, freeze it up, and take it out of the freezer whenever you’re ready to use it. The pizza itself cooks up real fast, so it’s a good quick, weekday dinner.
If you haven’t worked much with yeast this is a good stepping stone. There isn’t much fuss involved with making pizza dough and the result is amazing. The only reason I said it needs babysitting is because you need to punch the dough down once or twice at 1 hour intervals (perfect if you’re doing laundry on your day off too). And who doesn’t love punching down dough? poooof.
The dough has to rise in a warm, dry place. This is easy to find if you have cats. Max is wondering why this bowl is taking his favorite sunbathing spot.
So here’s my recipe for perfect, crusty pizza dough and our favorite toppings. Enjoy!
1 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
1 packet instant pizza dough yeast (regular yeast is okay if you can’t find this)
2 1/2- 3 cup AP flour (I use a mixture of bread flour and AP flour-it makes the crust crispier)
2 tsp white sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tbs olive oil
3/4 cup pizza sauce
1 tbs olive oil
2 tbs balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, grated or chopped finely
1/2 cup purple onion, sliced
1/2 med eggplant, sliced into strips or rounds
1/2 cup broccoli, chopped
3 oz sliced FRESH smoked mozzarella (have to use fresh. like the stuff that comes in a ball and is all slimy. makes a world of difference.)
4 large basil leaves, sliced thinly
Empty the yeast into the 110 degree water. Sprinkle the sugar over top and let stand until dissolved and creamy, about to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, measure flour, oil, and salt into your mixing bowl. Start the mixer on low and when you water/yeast mixture is ready, slowly pour it in with the mixer running. After about 5 minutes of the mixer going at med-hi, the dough should form a ball and pull away from the sides. If the dough is a little gooey, add more flour 1/4 cup at a time.
Covering your hands with flour, form the dough into a ball and put it into a covered bowl. Place this in a warm, dry place and let rise until its double in size, about 45 mins to an hour. If you have time, punch it down and reshape it into a ball and let rise again. If you’re pressed for time, one rise is enough and you can now put it in the fridge and let stand for at least an hour (I find the dough has more air pockets when you let it rise twice).
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
After the dough has rested in the fridge for an hour, pull it out of the fridge and let it come back up to room temp while you assemble the rest of your ingredients. Cover a pizza pan (or bread stone) with cooking spray and stretch your dough to fit. Put the dough in the oven for 4-5 minutes while you prepare the toppings.
While the dough is pre-cooking, place the olive oil, vinegar, and garlic in a pan over med-high heat. Once it is heated, put the rest of the toppings in the pan and cook until tender.
Cover the dough with the pizza sauce, toppings and cheese, sprinkle with basil and cook until browned on top, about 20 minutes.