Baked Pizza

It is Pizza Time Again!  Last time it was Pita Pizza to use up the extra pita bread we had in the refrigerator.  This time it is traditional pizza to use up the fresh tomatoes that won’t last much longer without being cooked.

Some of you may think that making your own pizza is very time consuming and too much work, however, it can be made rather simply and in a short amount of time.  If you make your dough from scratch, you can figure on about an hour and a half of preparation time including the time needed for the dough to rise.  So if dinner is planned for 6 PM you would probably want to start by 4 PM with the dough preparation.  (The rising time for the dough depends on the air temperature surrounding it)

You can also purchase readymade dough from stores such as Trader Joe’s, Fresh & Easy or your local Italian deli.  I find that making the dough is so simple and tastes so good (when you make your own) that I always make my own dough.  What happens though when you are going to spend most of the afternoon out and will not be home until an hour before dinner is to be served?  Here is my solution:

  • Make the Dough ahead, allow it to raise and then refrigerate it or you can let it rise in the refrigerator.
  • Prepare all your toppings ahead and refrigerate.
  • If you bake your pizza on a  stone place the stone on the lowest shelf of your oven and set it for delay (if your oven has that option) to go on an hour before you get home.
  • If your oven does not have the delay feature, then bake your pizza in a good quality    black surface retains more heat and makes a crispier crust) on the lowest shelf of your oven.
  • When you get home, finish the preparation and bake your pizza.

The pizza I made for dinner this evening was made as follows:

  • Dough was made earlier in the day in my food processor with the plastic dough blade.
  • Dough was placed in a greased bowl and refrigerated.
  • Vegetables and herbs were washed and put in a colander to drain.
  • Husband removed dough from refrigerator an hour before I got home, but if no one is there to do it for you, just take it out when you get home and microwave for no longer than one minute.  This will warm it up sufficiently for it to be shaped.
  • Upon arriving home, I cored and seeded the tomatoes and then sliced them into the desired pieces.  (These were Romas and I ended up julienning them.
  • Sliced the Mushrooms, Bell Peppers and Olives in the food processor.
  • This time I used fresh Mozzarella which needs to be sliced by hand.
  • Sliced the salami pieces in half.
  • Sprayed the pan and shaped the Dough.
  • Minced the herbs (basil and oregano) in the food processor with the metal chopping blade.
  • Combined the herbs with Olive Oil and spread them over the dough.
  • Sprinkled parmesan cheese over the herbs.
  • Added the sliced Mozzarella and then the tomatoes.
  • Ground Sea Salt and Fresh Pepper over the tomatoes and then added the salami.
  • Baked for 15 minutes in an oven preheated to 500 degrees and then added the remaining vegetables.  This prevents too much liquid from leaching out of the vegetables and making your pizza soggy.
  • Baked for an additional 5 minutes, removed from the oven and allowed the pizza to set for 5 minutes.
  • Transferred to the peel and brought to the table. Dinner is ready!

Postscript:  In the photos there is a piece missing from one edge of the pizza;  the dough didn’t quite stretch this far & I eventually gave up trying to force it.  Doesn’t change the taste, only the aesthetics.

Julienned Tomato Strips added to the Mozzarella & Herbs

Pizza Dough with Herbs & Olive Oil added

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