Monday, July 09, 2012

Homemade Sheet Pan Pizzas


The basil that was planted a little less than two months ago has grown so much! I was beginning to worry that the basil wouldn’t grow well, because they didn’t grow much for almost a month. But then we had heat wave and the basil thrived and sprouted large happy green leaves. The weather then cooled off and then we had some rain for a few days. I didn’t want to make pizzas on a rainy day, so I waited until the weather warmed up again before I invited some friends over.

Looking through my bookmarked recipes on my browser, I found a recipe for a bread that didn’t need any kneading. Using the The Gouda Life’s adapted recipe as a guideline to my dough, I made something similar. I more or less followed the recipe, which made six personal pizzas:

6 ½ cups all-purpose flour
3 cups of lukewarm water
1 ½ tbsp active dry yeast
1 ½ tbsp salt


I made the dough sometime around 2 pm on Friday, though I had planned to make it the previous night. We ran out of yeast so I had to buy some more. The weather in Ottawa was quite warm and humid that day – perfect for making the dough proof quicker. It rose beautifully in the weather. I took the risen dough and divided it into six balls of dough to proof one more time. The dough balls were covered with a moist towel and slowly rose in the back of our kitchen until my friends arrived. Unfortunately VN couldn’t make it to dinner, but she was able to make it on Saturday instead. No problaaaam! I’ll just make moaaaar pizza dough!

CA brought over things to make a summer salad: baby spinach, slivered almonds, dried cranberries, fresh strawberries, goat cheese, and balsamic vinegar salad dressing. It was a great salad! There were various textures ranging from the soft goat cheese and strawberries to the slight crunch of the almonds.


As for the pizzas, I took three balls of proofed pizza dough and worked them on the table until they formed three individual pizzas on the lightly floured sheet pan. I had originally wanted to try making BBQ pizzas, but didn’t want to risk it because we were all hungry. I’ll try it later.

CP, JL and I topped our own pizzas with a variety of toppings. The list of toppings weren’t bad at all:
  • tomato sauce (made with mixing Primo’s tomato and basil sauce with some passata, an unseasoned tomato purée)
  • homemade caramelized onions
  • fresh basil from the garden
  • thinly shaved prosciutto
  • spicy genoa salami
  • pizza pepperoni
  • thinly sliced garlic
  • sliced red peppers
  • sliced onions
  • old cheddar cheese
  • mozzarella cheese
I think this was CP’s pizza. She topped half of the pizza differently than the other side to get a different taste of everything.

JL’s pizza (not pictured) was loaded with everything, including some goat cheese from the salad.

My pizza was topped less generously. There were thinly sliced garlic, pieces of prosciutto here and there on one half, and then genoa salami on the other side. Fresh basil leaves and cheese were sprinkled over the whole thing.

The pizzas baked in the oven for about half an hour. Unfortunately our pizzas stuck to the sheet pan, despite being lightly floured. It was totally my fault for not using cornmeal or a bit of oil. Despite the pizzas sticking, we all really enjoyed our dinner outside on the patio – in the shade, of course.

Mom used another ball of proofed pizza dough to make her own pizza. The other two dough balls were baked in the oven. In my head, I was hoping they’d become golden light and fluffy loaves of bread. But no. They were both over-baked and were really dense and pale. I don’t know why I thought they’d become fluffy and light all of a sudden when the pizzas we ate earlier were quite dense. Ah well. I’ll just use them as bread crumbs in the future or something.

Using a different recipe, I whipped up another batch of pizza dough. Using From Away’s adapted recipe of another no-knead bread, I made a smaller batch of pizza dough which was made into four medium sized pizzas:

4 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp active dry yeast
1 ¼ tsp salt
Enough water to bring the dough together

The pizza dough looked very similar to the last batch. It felt very similar too. Learning from the previous pizza night, I lightly brushed some oil on the divided pizza dough before letting it rise for a second time.

VN, KN and I made two pies instead of making personal pizzas. On a lightly greased baking sheet, one pizza was all-dressed – with no cheese. The other one was half prosciutto, half genoa salami with thinly sliced garlic, caramelized onions, sliced onions, and fresh basil.

We took the pizzas outside and ate on the patio again. The pizza dough wasn’t as dense as the previous day. I wonder why.

The next morning, I finished the two pizza dough balls by making one large sheet pan pizza and topped it with the remaining toppings for brunch. The dough was still dense but the pizza still tasted great. If I do try to use these recipes again in the future, I'll give them more time to rise in a cooler place.

Next time, I'll try making a cold fermented pizza dough using a food processor to knead the dough.

It's occurred to me that I made and ate homemade pizza for three days straight. But is it crazy that I still wanted to make and eat more pizza afterwards?

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