As you have probably noticed, I like spending time in the kitchen. As a result, many of my birthday and Christmas presents end up being kitchen gadgets. But while some collect dust, others get a thorough workout. Since pizza is a bit of a staple in our house, last Christmas I asked for a pizza stone. Nick bought a generic pizza stone online from Amazon but, when it arrived, it was broken. He returned it and ended up going to Williams-Sonoma and purchasing an Emile Henry pizza stone. Now, this is truly the Cadillac of pizza stones. I was a bit skeptical when I saw it (did you really need to spend that much money on a pizza stone?), but once I used it, there was not going back. You can cook a pizza in 12 minutes and the crust is super crispy on the bottom. In my opinion, it is the closest I have come to recreating a pizza that was baked in a pizza oven. I would highly recommend this for any home cook. Just one piece of advice, make sure to get a pizza paddle as well. They are incredibly large, but they help prevent dropping the pizza on the floor when taking it out of the oven.
Here’s a simple pizza recipe you can try.
You are more than welcome to use the prepared dough from the store (you can usually find it in the cooler section … or just ask at the bakery), but here’s a really simple recipe that I use.
2-3 cups unbleached white flour (You can change it up by replacing 1/2 with whole wheat flour)
2 1/4 tsp Fleischmann’s Quick-Rise Instant Yeast (they also make a pizza yeast which is super)
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
3 tbsp olive olive oil
1 cup of water 120ºF-130ºF
1 cup tomato purée (Passata)
1-2 cloves crushed garlic (to taste)
Fresh basil and herbs (to taste)
Salt and pepper (to taste)
Mozzarella cheese and whatever else you like. I made one pizza with sauce and cheese for the kids, and a second with prosciutto, shiitake mushrooms, basil and little bit of ricotta.
Cormeal for dusting the pizza stone.
Place pizza stone on the bottom rack of your oven and preheat at 450ºF.
Put flour, yeast, sugar and salt in your mixing bowl. Using the dough hook, give it a quick mix. Add the olive oil and warm water and mix until the dough is smooth and elastic (about 3 minutes).
Place the dough in a greased bowl and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
While the dough is resting make the pizza sauce. Again, you can buy premade pizza sauce, but it tastes so much better when you make your own. Put tomato purée in a bowl, add garlic, basil, dried herbs and salt and pepper. Use your judgement to flavour the sauce the way you like. Remember, the garlic will cook when it goes in the oven so it will be really nice and fragrant. My family likes it super garlicky!
I like thin crust pizza, so when the dough has rested, I divide it in two and use a rolling pin to roll it out nice and thin.
Have all of your ingredients ready: cheese grated, pizza sauce prepared, toppings chopped. Now it’s time to assemble!
Open the oven and pull out the rack. Spread cornmeal on the hot pizza stone so the dough does not stick. Carefully put the dough on the stone (Tip, I wrap the dough around the rolling pin to make it easier to transfer to the stone). Next, add your toppings: first the sauce, then the savoury bits, followed by the cheese.
Bake for 12-13 minutes. Remove it using the pizza paddle, place on a cutting board and let rest for a couple of minutes. You can make another pizza with the rest of the dough, or put it in the freezer and use it another day.
And there you have it. A super easy yummy pizza which everyone will love.