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Saturday, April 17, 2021

Perfecting Homemade Pizza

Who doesn't love pizza? I certainly do. In fact, I've written 8 times on my blog about pizza! Besides soap, that's got to be the next hottest topic.

So how is this post, the 9th one, going to be different than all the others? The simple answer is I've had 6 years to improve on my technique and I'm pretty sure I'm close to perfection.

I'm still making my own pizza dough then I freeze it as I described in this post. The recipe I use for the dough can be found here and I usually double it and substitute a cup of whole wheat flour in place of a cup of white flour. This gives me 6 balls of dough for 6 pizzas to feed two people.

When I want pizza, I take a ball of dough out of the freezer in the morning and let it sit on the counter to thaw and rise. To shape the dough, never roll it with a rolling pin because that pushes all the gas out of the dough which can result in a flat, tough dough. Instead, hand stretch it as described here.

Now here's the best and new part...the toppings! This combination of toppings you won't find at your favorite pizza parlor but they create a sweet, savory pizza that combined with the nutty dough (from the whole wheat) will surprise your taste buds.

Start with dusting the top of your stretched dough with some red peppers and Italian seasoning. 

Then add grated Drunken Goat Cheese, the one with the purple rind. It's purple because it's been developed in a red wine bath which gives a fruity flavor to the cheese. 

Next thinly slice a ripe bartlett pear and layer on the cheese leaving no empty spaces. I like the texture of the bartlett once baked. Finally, slice a sweet onion and layer it on the pear. 

The next topping is optional, if you can call bacon optional.... The pizza is great without it but adding a few slices of cooked and cut bacon takes it to the next level, a level I never would have thought of until I smelled bacon the other morning when out for a walk.

Bake the pizza at 425 degrees on a stone on the top rack of your oven. Trust me, don't google this because everywhere tells you to bake it on the bottom rack (except this article). Baking it on the top, especially if it's thin crust, allows for the cheese and toppings to get all bubbly and done without burning the crust. My pizza is usually done in about 22-24 minutes. 

Another tip, never put a cold pizza stone into a hot oven. Heat the stone up while the oven is pre-heating and transfer your pizza to the stone using a pizza peel. I usually just leave my stone in the oven on the top rack all the time. I only use the top rack for pizzas and the stone helps evenly heat the oven when I'm cooking other things.

If you can wait, I never can, it's best to let the pizza sit for at least 5 minutes after removing it from the oven and before cutting it.

Enjoy and let me know in the comments if you try this recipe and what you think! I'd also love to hear your favorite pizza toppings, particularly if they're unusual!