Pizza is so easily and readily available here in the US that I seldom ever think of making it myself. Though I do not buy it often, it is one of Ro-Jiro’s (second son) favorite foods. Knowing that he wasn’t going to get a pizza delivered to the home, he petitioned me to make it for him. How could I refuse. Even though the temperature was almost 90 outside, I cranked up the oven to 450˚F to bake those pizzas. Good thing they were done very quickly and I was able to turn off the oven after 20 minutes…phew!
The recipe for the crust was adapted from The King Arthur Flour Baker’s Companion, one of my favorite cookbooks. This recipe calls for the dough to be rested in the refrigerator to give the crust better flavor and a crispy-chewy texture. I added some fresh rosemary from the garden to the dough and allowed it to rest in the fridge for 4 hours. Next time, I will make it a day ahead so that the flavor has sufficient time to fully develop. Despite the shorter resting period we were not disappointed, as the crust was indeed superb. It has a crispy exterior with a slightly chewy inside and the rosemary added even greater flavor to the crust. Ro-Jiro was very grateful and so was Ro-Taro and Ro-Ri San. It was definitely worth the effort and the heat! I have a feeling I will be making more pizzas in the future.
I made two 12-inch pizzas with the dough. I used a red sauce for one and just garlic olive oil for the other. I actually prefer the garlic olive oil better.
- 3¼ cups (490g) all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp fresh rosemary
- 1½ tsp salt
- 1½ tsp yeast
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1¼ cup (300ml) water (about 110°F/43°C)
- Tomato paste
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Sweet bell peppers, sliced
- Artichokes in oil, sliced
- Black olives, sliced
- Basil leaves
- Onions, sliced
- Garlic, minced
- Shredded mozzarella cheese
Combine all-purpose flour, rosemary, salt, and yeast in a large bowl. Pour in olive oil and water. Mix with a spatula and lightly knead until dough comes together into a soft, smooth ball. Do not over knead. If dough is too wet, add additional flour.
Cover and let dough rise for 45 minutes in a warm place. Then refrigerate for 4 hours (or up to 36 hours) so that crust will develop flavor.
Preheat oven to 450°F (230°C).
Divide dough in half. Roll out a portion of dough into a 12-inch round. Prick dough all round with a fork and place dough on a pizza pan.
Spread tomato paste or olive oil on the top. Sprinkle toppings and cheese as desired. Repeat with the other half of dough.
Bake pizza at the lowest rack for 16 to 18 minutes.
Enjoy…..and have a wonderful day!