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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Recipe: Brent's Famous Pizza!

You may remember that when I went to Georgia a couple months ago, my brother, Brent, made me some super delicious, from-scratch, pizza. Some of you requested the recipe, so today I'm excited to share a guest post that Brent has written about how to make his famous pizza...bon appetit!

Hi, I’m Brent, Rebekah’s brother.  Rebekah asked if I would do a guest post on how I make pizza. I love pizza!  Last summer, I started exploring the process of creating pizza from scratch.  Everyone has a different perspective on what a perfect pizza looks like.  With countless books and online forums, it is really difficult to try and figure out. I started experimenting; finding and tweaking recipes until I had something that I enjoyed.  Each time I make pizza, I try and experiment with one element in an effort to make better and better pizza. The process takes some preparation.  The dough has to be made the day before.  However, homemade pizza is fun to make and delicious.  

Book: If you are looking for a great book that covers a tremendous amount of information about the history of pizza as well as providing numerous recipes, I suggest Peter Reinhart’s American Pie: My Search for the Perfect Pizza. I recently started reading it, am thoroughly enjoying it, and already have plans to get back in the kitchen and experiment.

Tools: When I first started making pizza, the only special tool that I had was a pizza stone. They are fairly inexpensive and make a tremendous difference in the quality of homemade pizza.  Over time, I have acquired multiple stones, a wooden pizza peel, and various pizza cutters.  The additional tools have allowed me to be more efficient and experiment with the cooking process, but they have not made a tremendous difference in the finished taste.

Dough: The basis for my dough recipe and pizza cooking process started with this post on 101 cookbooks. The recipe provided is extremely detailed. This got me started and introduced me to Peter Reinhart.

Here's what you'll need to make my slightly-tweaked (I added honey) version of the dough recipe mentioned above...

Dough Ingredients
  • 4 1/2 cups (20.25 ounces) unbleached high-gluten, bread, or all-purpose flour, chilled
  • 1 3/4 (.44 ounce) teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon (.11 ounce) instant yeast 
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) olive oil (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 3/4 cups (14 ounces) water, ice cold (40°F)

Step 1:
Mix flour, salt, and yeast together in a mixing bowl and set in the freezer for 30 minutes to chill.


Step 2:
Once chilled, mix together dry mix with olive oil, honey and ice water.
  I use a spoon to start the mixing process, but once things get kind of dough like, I use my hands to knead.  (Tip: if you dip your hands in water, the dough is less likely to stick to you.)

Step 3: Knead for about 5 minutes.  The finished dough should be slightly wet, elastic, springy, and sticky. You may have to add flour or water to get the consistency you are looking for.

Step 4:
Flo
ur a counter top and roll the completed dough into a log about 16 inches long.

Step 5: Cut into 4 equal parts and shape into dough balls.

Step 6: Spray square piece of wax paper with olive oil and then wrap single ball in paper.

Step 7: Place all the dough in a plastic bag and refrigerate at least overnight before use. Dough will store for 3 to 4 days, or can be frozen and stored.  

Pizza Sauce: When figuring out the recipe for my sauce, I started with this recipe and I have added to the process.

Sauce Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped onions
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 5 vine tomatoes, peeled and minced
  • 3 oz. canned tomato paste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon pesto
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 stick salted butter, sliced

Step 1: I do all the necessary chopping and measuring first. I like my sauce to be fairly smooth, so all of my ingredients are cut into very small pieces.  If you want your sauce to be chunkier, cut accordingly.

Step 2:
In a large sauce pan, heat the olive oil.

Step 3:
Saute the onions until they are softened and beginning to brown.

Step 4: Add garlic, tomatoes, tomato paste, water, honey, pesto, Italian seasoning, and pepper.  Stir, sauce will be thin initially. 

Step 5: Bring to boil, reducing the sauce to a thicker consistency equal to cake batter. 

Step 6: Once, thickened, add butter. Turn off heat, and let sauce cool.

Sauce can be stored for up to 4 days, or can be frozen and stored.

Pizza Assembly and Cooking: Now for the best part, deciding toppings, putting together, and cooking your pizzas.

Step 1: The dough needs to be set out two hours prior to cooking.  This gives the dough a chance to warm up and makes it easier to handle.

Step 2: Pull the dough from the refrigerator, spread flour across a counter top, unwrap the individual dough balls, flatten out the dough to about a half an inch thick, set on flour, spray with olive oil, and cover with plastic wrap.


Step 3: With about an hour to go before your dough is ready, heat up the oven to 475.  Set the pizza stone on a rack towards the bottom and let it heat up with the oven.

Step 4: When everything is ready to go, flour your hands, spread corn meal on to a wooden peel or dry cookie sheet, and then take one of the dough pieces and begin to stretch it out to about 12 to 13 inches across.  I haven’t been able to throw the dough, but have found that pulling around the edges stretches everything out well and gives a nice even thickness.


Step 5: When it comes to toppings, everyone has their own preferences.  The fresher the ingredients, the better things seem to taste. I like to have all of the different toppings right at hand so that I can easily mix and match as I make. Below is a list of some of the most popular combinations that I have made:
  • Personal favorite: Basil Pesto Base, Bacon, Sautéed Onions, Goat Cheese, and Pear
  • Tomato Base, Fresh Mozzarella, Fresh tomato, Basil, and dash of salt.
  • Basil Pesto Base, Balsamic Sautéed Mushrooms, Bacon, Sauteed Onions, Mozzarella, and Thyme
  • Tomato Base, Pepperoni, Bacon, Mushrooms, Onions, Fresh Mozzarella, Fresh Tomatoes with a sprinkling of grated Parmesan.

Step 6: When the pizza is prepped, slide it off the peel and onto the stone.

Step 7: The cooking time will vary depending on the number and amount of toppings.  For pizza’s that have an olive oil or pesto base, the cook time is about 12 minutes while heavier pizzas with a tomato base can take as long as 18 minutes.  A finished pizza will have a golden brown crust and some caramelizing of the cheese across the top.

Step 8: When the pizza is done cooking pull it out and let the pizza sit for a couple of minutes prior to cutting.

Step 9: Enjoy!

 

6 comments:

  1. Mmm - mmm...This sounds and looks wonderfully delicious!!! I shall put my hand to it.
    Thanks, Brent!

    ...and thanks for encouraging your brother to share his culinary talents with us, Rebekah! :9

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow!  What a talented brother you have!  Please invite me over the next time you make pizza.  :)

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  3. Thanks so much for sharing! What a talented brother you have!

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  4. Oh my goodness.  I am pinning this and as soon as I end the diet I am currently on I'm trying at LEAST one of these, if not more!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I need to try this pizza dough AND sauce!! 

    ReplyDelete
  6. I can't wait to try this recipe! This is one of our faves! Thanks
    for getting your hands on this recipe and sharing!
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    ReplyDelete

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