Pizza crust

We love pizza around here. I can remember several family gatherings when I was growing up where all of the adults would hang around the kitchen sipping wine which came from jugs pretending to have something to do with Burgundy. They would be discussing the day’s going-ons, spilling cornmeal, laughing, and assembling handmade pizzas. Those pizzas were the best! I always looked forward to pizza night (and taco night) when I was a kid.

I have made pizza a regular staple with my family and it’s always a hit… After a few tries, it’s easy to throw them together; even on work nights when you don’t really feel like putting in much effort. It’s an easy formula:  dough + sauce + toppings = YUM, or as some would say, “nom nom nom”.

Helpful equipment: Baker’s peel, baking stone

Method:

Preheat oven and baking stone to 425 degrees. Let it heat up for about 30 minutes. Spread about 1 tablespoon of cornmeal on the baker’s peel. Roll out and stretch dough to roughly the size of the baker’s peel and place the dough on the peel. At this point, there is judgement and taste involved, so adjust volumes according to taste. Add about 1 cup of sauce and spread evenly, being careful not to slop it onto the peel making it more difficult to slide the pizza off. Next, add slices of mozzarella to cover, then your onion and then your sausage. This is the tricky part… First, assuming that the oven and stone are hot, open the oven and carefully spread a tablespoon or 2 of cornmeal on the hot stone, then lift the pizza on the peel and give it a quick, but small, jolt to ensure that the pizza will slide a little. If it doesn’t, peak under the pizza and make sure you have adequate coverage with your cornmeal and try to unstick any wet and sticky dough from the peel. Next, with pizza/peel in hand, go over to the oven. Tilting the peel enough to get the pizza to slide off, but not enough to throw your toppings all over the hot oven, slide the pizza from the peel to the stone using a small and careful jolting motion. Once you can get a little of the pizza on the stone, it will usually continue to transfer easily. The pizza should cook for about 15-20 minutes.