Looking for a lively way to spend a family night at home? Try making your own pizza!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Iron Skillet Pizza
When the economy started to turn, we tried looking for new ways to economize – even in our entertainment. Normally, movies were top on our list of fun activities. But, with movie prices increasing and quality, family friendly movies decreasing we had to come up with an alternative.

One day I stopped by the local library to peruse the used book section (a favorite past time of mine) and found several wonderful movies for less than a dollar each. That week, on Friday night, we instituted “Pizza and a Movie”. For many months now, every Friday we watch our favorite movies and have pizza for dinner. But, not just any pizza – homemade pizza!

With this simple-to-make dough recipe you may never have take-out again. The process is so easy. You can make the dough thin and crispy or thick and chewy, what ever each person prefers. The gang of movie goers will also love selecting their own toppings (use fresh from the garden seasonal veggies for a real treat) and building their own creations. Baking it in a cast iron skillet brushed with olive oil will give the pizza an amazing flavor. It’s fun to see how something so simple could make a weekly ritual so much better. And the debates over whose pizza is best can take on a life of its own.

To make your very own homemade pizza, start with the recipe below. But, in no time I bet you’ll be adding your own twist – like herbed, garlic or cheesy pizza dough.

Makin’ the Dough

1/2 package dry yeast
1/3 cup warm or room temperature water
3/4 cup all-purpose or bread flour
3/8 tsp salt
3/4 tsp sugar

Add the yeast to the water and let it sit for 10 minutes. It should begin to look slightly foamy. Meanwhile, mix the flour, salt and sugar in a separate bowl. Then add the yeast mixture to those dry ingredients.

Stir it until it’s well-mixed. The dough should be thick, requiring a little effort to mix it. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel, and let the dough rise in a warm- or room-temperature place for about two hours. Grease your frying pan lightly if it’s not already well seasoned.

After the dough has risen, take it out of the bowl and lay it on a floured cutting board. Knead the dough: Push down on it, pushing it away from you with the heel of your hand. Mound it up into a ball and push down on it again. After 50 or so pushes, the dough should be smoother and less sticky.

The dough can be rolled out with a rolling pin or just pushed into place in the pan with your fingers. It’s going to get covered with toppings anyway. The edges should come up a little on the side of the pan to form a rim.

Although the dough takes about two hours to rise, if you’re short on time for rising, there’s not much difference. After you put the dough into the fry pan, it will rise anyway while you add toppings.

This recipe bakes in a 10- or 12-inch frying pan. Or, you can make two smaller individual pizzas. You can make it however you prefer: low salt, low fat, organic or double the cheese, whatever you fancy. There’s hardly a way to fail other than having the water too hot, which kills yeast.


Creative Commons License photo credit: trista.rada

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