Sally’s Pizza

I’ve been looking for a good pizza dough that’s easy to make. This is due to my fear of yeast. But I’m getting over my fear;  it hasn’t been easy, especially when the dough is too sticky then I panic. How much more flour can I add without making the thing taste like cardboard?! My latest fail: I tried a famous no-knead pizza dough (it shall be nameless) that promised to be easy but it came out tasting like cardboard. So trash that. This recipe seemed less risky; it uses less flour and only made two pies, so if I failed it wouldn’t be such a terrible waste. They turned out great. Andy pronounced this recipe a keeper, and I liked how the pizza went from prep to table in an hour.

The first pizza is an attempt to use Thai ingredients. I had some kor moo yang –boneless roast pork neck with a thin ring of fat around the edges–combined with a basic margherita style pizza. The second pizza is a riff on Sally’s garlic pesto and sausage pizza. I used homemade basil pesto with homemade Italian “sausage.” I just ground up some pork loin and added spices to it to make sausage.

Sally’s Pizza Crust (adapted from a flatbread recipe by Sally’s Baking Addiction)

Makes 2 10-inch pizzas
Prep time: 1 hour
Baking time: 10-15 minutes

1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast (can used active dry yeast)
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
3/4 cup warm water (100˚F)
2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 tablespoon olive oil plus 1 teaspoon for brushing the dough
1 teaspoon salt

Place sugar and yeast in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Pour warm water on top. Whisk gently to combine. Loosely cover with a clean kitchen towel and let stand 5 minutes. The surface of the mixture will become frothy.

Fit the dough hook on the stand mixer and on Speed 1, add the flour, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and salt to the yeast mixture. Beat on low speed (Speed 1)  for 1 minute or until the dough is thick and shaggy. Transfer the dough and any bits of loose flour to a lightly floured work surface. Knead for 2 minutes until it all comes together and is smooth. You may add 1-3 tablespoons of flour, one tablespoon at a time, if the dough is too sticky to handle. Make a smooth ball.

Oil the bottom and sides of a large bowl (to save washing up I used the same mixing bowl). Put the dough ball in the bowl, turning to coat the whole thing. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and drape a towel over the top. Let sit 35-45 minutes at room temperature to rest. It should double in size.

Preheat the oven to 475˚F/225˚C (my oven’s highest setting)

As the dough is rising, prepare the toppings. Here are some suggestions:

Kor Moo Yang (Thai roast pork)
1 cup kor moo yang, thinly sliced in slivers
1/4 of a medium onion, thinly sliced,
1 large fresh tomato seeded, sliced, lightly salted and drained
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese.

Sausage and Pesto
1/3 cup homemade basil pesto,
1/3 cup homemade Italian sausage, crumbled, cooked, and drained of any oil/moisture
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
Fresh basil for garnish

Margherita
1 large tomato, seeded, sliced, lightly salted, and drained
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
Fresh basil for garnish

Spinach and Bacon
1 cup chopped spinach, lightly cooked so that it is wilted, then drain any extra water
1/4 onion, thinly sliced
6-8 slices bacon, cooked crisp, drained, and crumbled
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese

Poke the dough ball to release any air. Turn it out onto a lightly floured work surface. With a bench scraper, divide the dough in two. Working with one half at a time, shape it and stretch it into a circle or a square—it doesn’t have to be perfect. It should look rustic. (Mine looked like Australia.) Repeat with the second piece of dough. Put each pie on a baking tray lined with parchment.

Lightly prick the tops of the pie dough with a fork. Brush the tops with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil then add the toppings. I like to start with a layer of cheese, slightly more than ½ cup, then add the other toppings and finish with a sprinkle of cheese on top. Except for the pesto, that should go down first; spread it around with the back of a spoon. Top with cheese and sausage then more cheese.

Bake in the oven on the top rack 10-15 minutes. Turn the pan around halfway through the cooking time. Watch to see that the crust doesn’t burn. Remove from oven. Garnish with basil chiffonade if desired.

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