Thin Crust Pizza (not brought to you by Pizza Hut)

Code Geass Pizza 02Pizza is a common food in North America, but what about in Japan? If Code Geass is any indication, it’s pretty popular there too… or is that because Japan (or Area 11) in Code Geass is under the rule of the British, and Britons like pizza? Or maybe because Pizza Hut was the blatant sponsor of the show?

Well, at any rate, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a single character consume as much pizza in a series as C.C.! Pizza Hut truly supports the rebellion! But, we don’t have to because, with today’s recipe, we’ll be able to make our own pizza!

This post is part 2 of the special two-part recipe for pizza, with part 1 featuring a recipe for no-cook marinara sauce.

About the recipe:

Code Geass Pizza 03Pizza can be made in a variety of styles: deep dish, stuffed, stuffed crust… but my favorite way is thin crust. Forget all that filling dough, because this style of pizza is all about the toppings! The crust is merely a vehicle for all that delicious sauce, cheese, and other toppings! (And, you can eat many, many slices!)

But, of course the dough matters too! It has to be crispy and thin, but not hard and dry. It should complement the toppings, but not dominate the dish. And, this recipe has it all! The small amount of wholewheat flour lends additional flavour to the crust, while the slow rise of the dough allows for just the right amount of chew. Combine the dough recipe below with the no-cook tomato (Marinara) sauce and your choice of toppings, and you’ve got a delicious and fun to make meal!

Just make sure to start the dough a day ahead, though! It must rise at least 18 hours in order for the yeast to do it’s magic and for enough gluten to form.

Gratin pizza - Koufuku Graffiti 10 - 05Also, making pizza from scratch can be a lot of work, but is really very rewarding (and tasty!). I find that making the sauce and dough ahead of time really makes my life easier. Both the dough and sauce can also be frozen, which means that you can always be ready to throw together a pizza.

If using frozen dough, just defrost overnight in the fridge, and take the dough out a hour before you’re ready to bake so that it gets closer to room temperature. I also find that letting the pizza dough rest in the fridge for a day or so makes it much easier to roll out.

The marinara sauce can also be frozen or just stored in the fridge for a few days. I like to portion the sauce into a few containers and freeze them for easy use. Just defrost and you’re ready to make pizza!

About the ingredients:

There are no pizza toppings included in the recipe below because the beauty of this dish is that it is completely customizable. Pretty much everything goes. I would only suggest that very wet things are avoided, and that if you use meat, that it be pre-cooked because the cooking time for the pizza is very short – only about 10 minutes total.

Combine with mozzarella cheese and the no-cook marinara sauce I posted previously, and you should be ready to make some delicious pizza!

In case you need some inspiration for toppings, here are some of my personal favourites:

  • Black olives, fresh tomato, feta cheese, basil
  • Fire-roasted red pepper, fresh tomato, cilantro, mango and/or chorizo
  • Fire-roasted red pepper, caramelized onions, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, prociutto
  • Olive oil, smoked salmon, arugula, capers (this is a “blonde” pizza – i.e. no sauce. Cook crust with olive oil, then add arugula, smoked salmon and capers out of the oven just before serving.)
  • Thinly sliced green pepper, caramelized onions, pepperoni
  • Try making pizza with smoked gouda cheese for a decadent and delicious change of pace
  • Consider topping your pizza with arugula or avocado for a fresh, summery taste (add to pizza after removing it from the oven)

Pizza

The recipe:

No-Knead Pizza Dough

Makes enough dough for 4 nine inch pizzas

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz whole wheat or rye flour (about 1/2 cup)
  • 16 oz all-purpose flour (about 3 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 tsp dry active yeast
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • cornmeal as needed for the pan

Directions:

1. In a large bowl, stir together all of the ingredients. The mixture will be dry at first, but will gradually come together to form a slightly firm, but very sticky ball that pulls away from the sides as you move it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and place in the oven with the light on, or a warm, dry place for 18-20 hours, until it is about doubled in size.

Note that rising times will vary based on the temperature. It should probably go at least 14 hours to develop enough gluten, but could take as long as 24 hours to double in size.

2. When the dough has finished rising, flour your work surface liberally, and scrape the dough out of the bowl using a spatula. Add a little flour to the top to prevent sticking, and then pat it down with floured hands to form a flat rectangle shape. Cut into four equal pieces.

3. Taking a piece of dough, form into a ball, adding only enough flour as is needed to keep it from sticking. Pick up the ball of dough and, using both hands, gently rotate it in your hands while stretching the dough from the top and tucking it underneath. Stretch and tuck the dough about 5-6 rotations. Do not over do the stretch and tuck rotations or the dough will turn into a doughnut shape.

If your dough is too soft to work with, add more flour as you work with it until it is more manageable.

Repeat with the remaining 3 dough portions.

4. Cover dough with a lint-free towel, and let it rest for 15 minutes before shaping. At this point, the dough can be placed in a ziplock bag and kept in the refrigerator for 2-3 days, or frozen for use at a later date.

5. To shape your pizza, stretch, pull, press, or use a rolling pin to get the dough into the shape you want. Place on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal.

6. Assemble your pizza with your favorite toppings!

7. Have your oven pre-heated as high as it will go, around 550 F. Place the assembled pizza on the floor of the oven for 4 minutes. This will allow the bottom of the pizza to become crispy. Then move the pizza to the middle rack for 6 minutes or until the top is golden and bubbling, and the bottom of the pizza is slightly charred and browned, not pale and uncooked.

8. Transfer immediately to a wire rack to preserve the crispiness of the crust. Let it cool for a couple minutes, and then cut and serve.

Source: http://foodwishes.blogspot.com/2010/09/no-knead-pizza-dough-remix.html

Code Geass Pizza 01

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