I make a pizza from scratch and everyone responds with great enthusiasm for this special treat. It’s not only the fact that people appreciate the time and effort involved (although it really isn’t that time-consuming), but there is a fresh flavor in homemade pizza that is not duplicated in restaurants. This is a memorable pizza with a thin, crisp crust. If you use black or dark pans your crust will be especially crisp, although lighter pans work well also. I prefer a combination of mozzarella and Muenster cheese for heightened flavor.
MAKES ONE 17-INCH RECTANGULAR PIZZA (SERVES 4)
1 cup warm water
1 package dry active yeast
3 tablespoons olive oil
в…” cup whole wheat flour
1Вѕ cups unbleached white flour
ВЅ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cornmeal
1Вј cups Marinara Sauce
1ВЅ cups (6 ounces) grated mozzarella cheese
1ВЅ cups (6 ounces) grated Muenster cheese
4 cups sautГ©ed vegetables, such as mushrooms, peppers, onions, broccoli (optional)
- Pour the warm water into a large bowl and sprinkle in the yeast. Stir to mix and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the oil, then add the flours and salt. Beat with a wooden spoon until well mixed.
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board or work surface and knead for 10 minutes (no less!). Keep lightly flouring the work surface to prevent the dough from sticking.
- Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl, then invert the dough so the oiled surface is on top. Cover the bowl with a newspaper and let rise in a warm place (no hotter than 85 В°F) for 1ВЅ hours, or until double in bulk. (You can place the bowl in the oven if there is a pilot light, or lightly heat the oven for a few seconds, turn off the heat, then let it sit in the barely warm oven.)
- Punch down the dough and knead a few times. Lightly flour your work surface, and with a rolling pin roll the dough into a rectangle large enough to fit your baking sheet. Sprinkle the cornmeal on the pan and line with the dough. (The cornmeal prevents sticking and adds extra crispness to the crust.) It is not necessary to form an edge.
- Preheat the oven to 500В°F.
- Spread a layer of marinara sauce over the dough. Cover the pizza with a mixture of the two cheeses. Top with the sauted vegetables, if you wish.
- Bake for 15 to 17 minutes, or until the crust is golden underneath and the cheese lightly browned. (To test the crust insert a knife or spatula under the crust and lift carefully to peek.) Cut into squares and serve immediately.