Happy Pizza Pi(e) Day that is!
What better way to celebrate Pi day than with a pizza pie. We love nothing more than a good pizza pie. Frequently on Fridays, we gather with family and friends for a good ‘ol fashioned pizza party. My husband, being from Jersey, had been on a quest for the perfect pizza after we moved to North Carolina. We have found a lot of great pizza (we see you Assaggios and Annas) but his quest to find the perfect pizza was still not over. He still hadn’t found the perfect crust.
To my husband, the sauce and toppings are important but without a great base for them to rest upon, they become meaningless. So he took his quest inward and started experimenting with different pizza crust recipes until at least (thank goodness!) he has crafted the one that hit the mark. In honor of PI day and delicious pizza, below I share with you his pizza dough recipe as well as a few of our favorite topping combinations.
- 5 cups Bread Flour
- 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 1/4 cups COLD water
- 1 tsp honey or sugar (I prefer honey)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- corn meal for shaping dough
- your favorite toppings
- In the bowl of your kitchen aid, while using the paddle attachment, mix the flour, sea salt, yeast, honey, and olive oil on low speed until all is incorporated then add the COLD water.
- Switch to the dough hook and mix together on low speed for about 5-8 minutes.
- The dough should be smooth and sticky, but should not stick to the sides of the bowl, only a little to the bottom. (If the dough sticks to the sides, sprinkle in a little more flour, if it is too dry then add a bit more water).
- Place the entire dough ball back into the mixing bowl, drizzle olive oil on top and cover with plastic wrap and a towel on top and allow to sit at room temperature and rise for 2 hours in a draft free area. I put mine in the oven or microwave.
- For extra light and airy dough, pat down and knead the dough every 15-20 mins
- Dust your kitchen counter with flour and place the dough on the flour, needing it with your hands into a big ball. Cut the dough into 4 pieces and form them into smaller round balls. Here I place the balls into zip lock bags. I drizzle a little more olive oil on the bag to keep the dough moist. You can either freeze or refrigerate. I always make them a day in advance.
- When ready to bake, preheat your oven to 500 degrees for at least 30 minutes to one hour with your pizza stone in the oven. Note: doing this will prevent the dough from sticking to the stone. Trust me. It’s not pretty.
- While waiting for the oven, prep the dough. Sprinkle the counter with corn meal, take one piece of dough and press down on it with your fingers until you have a 1/2″ thick circle.
- Using your fists and knuckles start stretching the dough until 10″ in diameter making sure not to tear it. You can alternatively use a rolling pin.
- Dust your pizza peel very well with corn meal and set your pizza dough on it making sure it slides easily when moved. You can also put your pizza onto parchment paper, which also makes for an easy peel to oven transfer.
- Pour 2-3 tablespoons of the pizza sauce in the center and spread it around with the back of a spoon leaving 1 inch of space at the edges and making sure not to get any on the peel.
- Sprinkle with the mozzarella and add your favorite toppings. (Don’t add too many toppings, keep in mind this is a thin crust and a couple of toppings will suffice).
- Gently slide the pie on the preheated pizza stone in a hot 500 degree or more oven, and bake for 5 to 7 minutes or until golden brown on the edges.
- Remove from the oven and sprinkle with the basil and freshly grated parmigiano.
- Allow to rest for the cheese to set, cut and devour!
Our Favorite Topping Combinations:
Pizza night is a great way to clear out the leftovers in your fridge. We will often come up with interesting creations in the spirit of not wasting food. Don’t limit yourself to traditional topping combinations – the possibilities are endless. Have fun and use those leftovers!
- Pepperoni & Mushroom (Staple in our house for forever!)
- BBQ chicken with pineapple and green onions (Note: we use BBQ sauce instead of red sauce)
- Cheese or Pepperoni Grandma’s Pie (I love all the sauce!)
- Pineapple & bacon
- Fresh mozzarella, basil
- Veggie – peppers, onion, mushrooms, and any leftover veggies we’ve got in the fridge