Monday, August 1, 2011

I Can't Wait Any Longer...I Am Making The Pizza...I don't Care that it is 95 degrees

Fresh Tomato, Yellow Squash, Thai Basil

Goat Cheese, Carmelized Onion, Thai Basil

Ok I said it. Whew!

I got this flour a month ago from King Arthur Flour company whose flour I love and adore. It is a bread flour called Sir Lancelot, how funny. Long story short I have had a gluten obsession for months. I have been wanting to make bagels, too hot. My homemade pizza with the 500 degree oven too hot. The weather this summer in the burbs of Chicago has been hotter than Florida, Texas and Arizonia. We are SO not used to these high temps for this long.

My husband is a total air conditioning fiend. He has to have it at a regulated temperature at all times. Me, I could live outdoors. Really though I do see a need for air conditioning at night when you can’t sleep but during the day I like to hear the outside world and not live like the boy in the bubble. Plus I am usually photographing on the screened in porch and three dogs are in and out forget about keeping the doors shut.

So where was I. Oh, Pizza. Ok so today my husband left to pick up my daughter at camp. She is in the northwoods of Wisconsin hopefully having the time of her life. Really miss her this year. Not that I did not miss her other years it is just the mom forgetful thing. You know how we forget things like how painful childbirth was, where our keys are, how much we missed our kids at camp a year ago? Anxiously awaiting their arrival tomorrow. Oh forgot, I promised to have a red velvet cake waiting for her. Now where is that recipe I used last time? See what I'm talking about.
So with husband gone for the night, I decided I could not wait any longer to try out my new flour with my standard dough recipe. So I am heating up the kitchen real good. But when my son and I eat this pizza it will be so worth the sweat.

I got this recipe for crust from a very old Saveur magazine. I use it always. Very simple. Today I am varying the flours to see if I can get a little harder crispier crust.

One very important element I learned years ago in making homemade pizza is these tiles. You can get them from Home Depot or a tile store. They are Terra Cotta. Not treated and measure 6x6 inches. I keep them on the lower rack of my oven at all times. Just fit them together tightly on one whole oven rack. To clean just dust them off. No soap and water. I have had these for probably 10 years. The only way to make a good pizza crust in my opinion. Preheat the oven for a good 20 minutes to get the tiles nice and hot. They really hold the heat.

When I make pizza I like to get creative. The thai basil I have is taking over in the garden so I will use lots of that. I have some Vidalia onions I carmelized. A beautiful yellow squash I found at the grocer. A great farmers market tomato and of course mozzarella cheese. I always use whole milk mozzarella no part skim here. 

Yellow Squash and Thai Basil

Mozzarella Cheese and Favorite Grater


1 7-gram packet active dry yeast
1 1/2 cup bread flour
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup warm water, about 110 degrees F
1 tsp salt

Don't you just love to make dough. I absolutely love the feel of dough. So get your water to about 110 degrees F. To hot and you will kill the yeast that makes the dough grow. Too cold and the yeast won't be activated. So this step is important.

Put about 1/4 cup water in a large bowl. Sprinkle the yeast on top. Let sit a good 5 minutes to do it's magic. In the meantime add the flours and salt together.

When the yeast is foamy add a bit of the flour mixture while mixer is running. I use my stand up kitchen aid. Then a little water and more flour, etc. until all done and a dough is formed. Knead with mixer for about 5 minutes. Then continue by hand until it feels right. It should look like the picture. Put dough in a large bowl greased with olive oil. Put in a warm not hot place and cover with a kitchen towel for about 2-3 hours. It should double in bulk.

When done make sure your oven is preheating. Divide the dough into 2-4 pieces depending on the pizza size you want. Place it on a well cornmealed pizza peel and start patting into a shape. Use a rolling pin if you'd like. When formed add your ingredients sauce first then cheese and whatever else your adding.


Whole canned tomatoes no juice
Dry oregano, sprinkle
Dash sugar, cuts the acidity of the tomato
Splash extra virgin olive oil

Just put everything together and heat on low to break up the tomatoes. Mash with an immersion blender until smooth.

Take dough and place on pizza wheel that has been dusted with corn meal. Pat or gently roll into a nice shape. I like it thin so I roll it very thin.

Spread sauce on the dough. Make sure the sauce is not piping hot when you put it on the dough. It will make the dough stick to the peel. Always slide the crust around to make sure it is not sticking.

Place whatever toppings you have in mind and quickly slide it into your 500 degree oven on your tiles.

Bake until cheese is melted and lightly browned.


I did like the bread flour combination. It produced a harder crust as I imagined.


  1. Your pizza looks like it was totally worth the heat! Goat cheese, caramelized onion, basil, yum! I've found a few select recipes that have warranted the use of my oven this summer. All the other recipes are filed away for when I have central air!

  2. Thanks Kate. Yes it was worth the sweat. Sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and turn up the heat.