Bria learned a new word today: pizza. But when she says it, it sounds like this: "PEE PEE!" Yes, it's all very exciting. She was thrilled we were having pizza for lunch, and went around squealing her new word while shaking her hands and dancing on her tip-toes.
(not the best picture, but the only one I have on this computer, so better than nothing, right?)
Last summer I decided to try making homemade pizza-- I don't know why I had never tried before. But now pizza is a regular on our menu-- I make it nearly every week. I love making pizza because there are so many options. Our regulars are bbq chicken, veggie, and hawaiian. As long as you have cheese and crust ingredients, you can really make a pizza out of anything you have in your pantry. I'll likely post more pizza options later (I have a recipe for a mexican-style pizza that would make you drool), but here is the basic crust recipe I have adapted from my friend Erica. I find making this pizza takes me about one hour start to finish.
1 1/4 c warm water
1 T yeast
2 T sugar
1/2 t salt
4 c flour
In a large bowl, dump in water, yeast, and sugar. Do not stir. Let it sit for about five minutes-- the yeast should become all frothy and bubbly. If not, your yeast is stale, so your dough will not rise. Dump in salt and 2 cups flour, stir to combine. Gradually stir in more flour until a spoon will no longer cut it, then resort to your hands to knead and fold in more flour until you have a smooth and elastic dough. Sometimes I use only three cups of flour, other times I have used over four. You want the dough to be just past sticky. Not dry, but not making a mess. Form the dough into a ball and leave it in the bowl for at least ten minutes.
While waiting for the dough, turn on the oven to 425. If you're lucky enough to own a pizza stone, pull it out and place it in the oven to preheat. Unfortunately, I don't have one, so I just lightly grease a jelly roll pan with canola oil. Once the ten minutes are up, stretch and pull the dough out to the size and shape you desire. I stretch mine as much as I can in my hands before putting it on the pan and pressing it to the shape of the full sheet. Place it in the oven and bake for ten minutes.
While waiting for the crust to bake, chop and assemble your toppings. Pull the pizza out and top according to your desires. Today, we had veggie. I used a store-bought pizza sauce and added red onion and orange bell pepper, topped off with mozzarella. Place the pizza back in the oven and bake until the cheese is starting to turn golden all over. Then, devour!