The only problem with homemade pizza is the dough. You've got to knead, you've got to let it rise and rest... it's hours in the making. Not good. And that's why on Friday night when I'm about to topple over from exhaustion, I sometimes stop and buy a frozen pizza. *sigh* Yes, I admit to the occasional frozen pizza.
But I think I just found a good alternative - no-knead focaccia. In the morning before work, I just mix up a batch of the no-knead focaccia bread, let it ferment while I'm at work, and then when I get home all it needs is to be stretched, topped, and popped in the oven.
I peeked at the ingredient list on the last frozen pizza that I bought and the crust alone had about twenty different items on it. I'm really not freaked out by long ingredient lists or unpronounceable ingredients, but that just seemed excessive. This dough has four ingredients - including water.
Mixing the dough before work takes less than five minutes. It doesn't matter if the dough is too wet or too dry, you just go with it. If you don't even have five minutes, measure the dry ingredients the night before and just add the water in the morning. You *can* completely mix the dough the night before and let it ferment almost 24 hours but I think the flavor texture is best between 8-16 hours so I do it in the morning.
This recipe makes two pizzas. I have also successfully halved the recipe.
Total Recipe cost: $6.53
Servings Per Recipe: 6
Cost per serving: $1.09
Prep time: 10 min. Cook time: 15 min. Total: 25 min. (plus 8 hrs. dough fermenting)
|4 cups||flour (up to 50% whole wheat)||$0.60|
|1 (8oz.) jar||pesto||$2.79|
|3 cups||shredded cheese||$2.62|
|2 medium||roma tomatoes||$0.40|
STEP 1: In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, and yeast. Stir until evenly mixed. Add two cups of water. Stir it until it forms a ball of dough and there is no more dry flour left on the bottom of the bowl. Add a little bit more water if needed. It is okay for the dough to be wet and sticky. Loosely cover the dough and let it rest for 8 to 16 hours at room temperature.
STEP 2: When you're ready to make the pizza, cover two 10x15" baking sheets with foil, give them a light dusting of non-stick spray and then sprinkle with the cornmeal. Begin preheating the oven to 425 degrees.
STEP 3: Dust the top of the dough in the bowl heavily with flour. Also liberally dust your work surface with flour. Scoop the dough out of the bowl and onto the floured surface. Dust with more flour as needed. Cut the dough into two and stretch into rectangles to fit the baking sheets.
STEP 4: Smear half of the jar of pesto on each dough. Sprinkle 1.5 cups of the shredded cheese on each. Thinly slice the roma tomatoes and divide them between the pizzas. Once the oven is FULLY preheated, add the pizzas. Bake until the crust is golden brown on the edges and the cheese is bubbly.
Step By Step Photos
This is my dough after it has been fermenting for about 12 hours. It's quite a big bigger and fluffier than when it was first mixed together. To see pictures of what it looks like when first mixed, see the original no-knead focaccia recipe.
Sprinkle a bunch of flour into the bowl on top of the dough and on your work surface. Scoop the dough out and onto the work surface. Cut it into two.
Stretch each piece of dough into a large rectangle and place on the prepared baking sheet (non-stick spray and cornmeal). I find it easiest to stretch it to about half the size on the floured work surface then carefully transfer it to the baking sheet and stretch the rest of the way.
This is the pesto that I buy. It's a national brand and is in most grocery stores near the pasta sauces... and around here it's less than $3 per jar! If you've got homemade pesto, I'm jealous.
Top the pizzas with the pesto, cheese, and sliced tomatoes.
Place the pizza in a fully preheated 425 degree oven and bake until it smells so good that you can hardly stand it anymore.
Oh, and the crust should be golden and the cheese bubbly. YUM.
Sorry about the low quality pictures, folks. It was a cloudy, cloudy day and I don't have any fancy light equipment. Someday.