Guest Post No. 3: Junior Bravado Chef Alex Laing has stepped in this week with a post on how to make pizza from scratch. Guest chef Tobin provided the expertise and training, as well as the masterful photography.
The best thing about pizza is that it can truly be all things to all people. Meat-lover? Great. Meatless? No problem. Hate tomato sauce? Or cheese? Whatever. Even celiacs can go gluten-free by making a gluten-free crust, or using gluten-free corn tortillas as their base. Pizza is the ultimate crowd-pleaser.
Great pizza starts with great crust. In our recipe below, you’ll need to prepare the dough in the morning and leave it to rise. This assumes, of course, that you’ll be doing the “full-bravado” version. If you plan on cheating and using prepared pizza crust or (our favorite short-cut) tortillas as your crust, that’s fine, but keep in mind you’re only achieving “Bravado-lite.”
During our pizza-making session, Bravado Junior Chef, Alex, learned how to do his absolute favorite pizza trick: a cheese-stuffed crust. This is, obviously, optional, but what a cool party surprise! Impress your friends and family by hosting a pizza-making party. Prep the dough ahead of time, pre-bake the individual crusts, and then lay out the buffet of pizza toppings and let the fun begin.
2 C whole wheat bread flour
1 C hot water (103-110 F)
1 packet yeast (Hodgen’s Mill for whole wheat, be sure to check exp date)
1 tbsp honey or agave nectar
1 tbsp olive oil
Dried spices to taste (e.g. oregano, parsley, basil, rosemary, whatever you like)
Makes 4 thin individual pizza crusts.
You can always make the crusts thicker or larger (in which case you’ll get fewer crusts from the batch of dough).
In the morning:
Mix 1 packet yeast with 1 C hot water. Let froth.
Add honey, olive oil, and spices to the yeast/water mixture.
Mix liquid into the 2 C flour in a larger bowl until it makes a dough ball.
Spray sides of the bowl with Pam.
Put in the fridge to rise all day. (If you forgot to start the dough first thing in the morning, let it rise on the counter or in a warm oven.
In the evening:
Preheat the oven to 425.
Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it out.
Place on greased baking sheet or pizza stone and bake for 5-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the crust. You want it to cook most of the way but not all the way.
Remove from oven.
Add desired toppings.
Bake for 5-8 minutes more, depending on the number of toppings.
Cool and eat.
The cheese-stuffed crust:
Roll out your crust until it is 4 inches wider than you want it. Sprinkle a line of grated cheese around the outer circle of the crust about 1 inch in from the edge. Pick up the outer edge of the crust and flip it over the line of grated cheese, all the way around. Press down to seal in the cheese. Pre-bake as instructed.
Organic pizza sauce, e.g. Newman’s Own (or make your own, but that’s another recipe for another day)
Cheese, freshly-grated, nice variety including the classic mozzarella
Veggies, sauteed ahead of time in individual batches (e.g., peppers, onions, spinach, sauteed)
Bacon, cooked and crumbled
Sausage, cooked and crumbled
Roma tomatoes, fresh, sliced
Add toppings to pre-baked pizza crusts. Bake 5 mins to melt cheese, heat through, and finish cooking stuffed edges of the crust.
Slice and enjoy!