So I have had a long break, but I have been baking and cooking away. I must say that living in Atlanta one does get to try out a plethora of various cuisines. However, I must say when I visited Melbourne, Australia I was so impressed with the variety of food. There were restaurants that had street food from South East Asian countries. I did partake of a few and enjoyed every tantalizing morsel of yumminess. If you ever get a chance to visit Melbourne make sure you leave enough of time to eat. In addition, make sure you eat at Brunetti’s – they even have a counter in Myer’s and we totally enjoyed their desserts. Make sure you get the bite sized pieces that way you get to sample a lot more!
Now back to the regularly scheduled writing – I have been baking pizza the Peter Reinhart way which I think is great. You get a really lovely thin crust and you get to freeze dough for a later date. In addition, I have used the dough to make Indian bread ‘Naan‘ which comes out really well. Well I was watching TV – Cooks Country on PBS and they had what a pan pizza recipe. I was most intrigued by it. I was very happy to have my trusty kitchen-aid do the kneading for me. This pizza dough is not the thin crust variety but the pizza is absolutely brilliant.
Feel free to modify the toppings – I happen to love the peppery taste of tarragon and I had some lying around so on it went. I wanted to increase the spice level and that is why I used a spicy pepper jack cheese. You can go with any variety of cheese that you like and you can top it with anything you like.
Adapted from Cooks Country
For the dough
- 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp water (warm water)
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
- 1 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
For the topping
- 28 oz can of drained diced tomatoes
- 8 oz mozzarella (shredded)
- 8 oz jalapeno pepper jack (or your favorite cheese shredded)
- 20 basil leaves (cut into strips)
- tarragon (optional – as much – as little – or not at all)
- sea salt optional
Stir the yeast in the 3/4 cup of water and let it rest for 5 minutes until nice and frothy. Mix the bread flour and salt.
Add the yeast water mixture and the oil to the dough and knead on low until the dough comes together. Then turn up the speed to medium low and knead for about 5 minutes until you have a really nice soft sticky dough. If your dough is not sticky start adding the additional water as you continue to knead for another 5 minutes. Take a teaspoon of olive oil and coat your dough.
Oil a 11×13 sheet pan well, this will help your pizza slide out very easily once done. Plop the dough out onto the pan and pat it into the shape of a rectangle. You do not need it to fill the pan. Just a 10×6 inch rectangle should suffice. Cover with cling wrap and put it in a warm place until doubled in size. This should take about an hour to an hour and a half.
After the dough has risen, remove the cling wrap. The dough should be very sticky. Work it to the edges of the pan gently stretching it. Cover it with cling wrap again and let it rest for about 45 minutes.
About 10 minutes before the dough is ready turn your oven to 500F.
When your dough is ready top with the two shredded cheese till about a half inch from the side. Then top with the tomato. Put it in the oven for about 10-12 minutes. You will see your crust is formed and your cheese is bubbling. Remove it from the oven using your oven mitts. Let it cool for about 2-3 minutes on a wire rack. While it is cooling top with basil and tarragon if using. Sprinkle a little sea salt (if using). Then slide the pizza out onto your cutting board slice and enjoy.