Cooking in a time of quarantine has given me some challenges. It has challenged me in many good ways. I am, as many of us are, very spoiled by the ability to go to the grocery store anytime without much thought. I would just bop off to grab whatever I needed, even if it was just one item. I also happen to be fond of hard to find ingredients, so I often would have to go to many places to get what I needed.
In our house, we have chosen to do once a month large grocery shops at our regular grocery store. And then we fill in a few incidentals, at one of the stores that is offer online ordering and curbside pick up, about once a week. So, I am having to think about what we are going to be having ahead of time. I am having to think about the shelf life of foods and to organize meal ideas according to how long different things will stay fresh. The ability to get fresh things via curbside grocery pick up has helped that a lot. But you still have to have forethought about what you will be cooking.
We have also missed our ability to go out to eat. Or grab a pizza one nights that we don’t feel like cooking. I have been working on a few recipes that help us feel like we are eating out at some of our favorite places to eat. I have made pho, ramen, Chinese food with a lot of success. Now, I normally cannot eat pizza because of the cheese; No real cheese for me or I have one super angry belly. Plus I really don’t care for red sauce. So it is rarely a favorite of mine.
The rest of the Love Tribe was having a serious hankering for pizza. So I pulled out my Kitchenaid and looked up a few pizza dough recipes. I found a blog that had tried several to find the one that her family liked the best. Some of them had extended rise times, like 4 hours to 18 hours. But one of them only had a 1 hour rise time. That was the one I decided to try because we had been working on home projects all day and I did not have a full day or even a few hours to make pizza dough. It seemed good, had a nice flavor and texture. While the dough was rising I got all the ingredients ready.
We decided to have everyone make their own pizza… total customization. It was a great deal of fun! There was a lot of laughter at the table that night! We laughed at ourselves, we laughed at each other. The dough was the cause of a lot of the laughter. None of us are pizza tossers!! It was so much fun and tasted so yummy. We all decided that we needed to have more pizzeria nights at the Love Shack.
The next time we tried it, I planned my day out to create one of the extended rise doughs. I spent a lot of time creating this dough. However in the end we all concluded that we preferred the quick to make dough that we had the first time. It had the best flavor and texture. So that is the one that I am sharing with you. We also discovered through trial and error that if you divide the dough by how many pizzas you are going to make before it rises it is easier to work with. We have now done this several times and we are getting it down like pros. Our list of toppings are as varied as we are, as will be yours. Each one is a little different. I don’t like red sauce, but I love sweet chili sauce. Some like mushrooms, zucchini, chicken, pepperoni, and on and on… The possibilities are endless.
Having your own pizzaria night is a great way to have a fun and laughter filled evening!
Quick Basic Pizza Dough
- 2 envelopes active dry yeast
- 2 Tbsp sugar
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus more for bowl and brushing
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- Pour 1 ½ cups of warm water into a large bowl; sprinkle with yeast and let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
- Whisk sugar, oil and salt into yeast mixture. Add flour and stir until a sticky dough forms. Transfer dough to an oiled bowl and brush top with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm, draft-free place until dough has doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead 1 or 2 times before using.
- Dough can be stored in an oiled bowl, covered with plastic, in the refrigerator for up to two hours. To freeze, wrap dough in plastic and freeze in a resealable freezer bag up to 3 months. If you plan to use it in a recipe that calls for half a batch, divide it before freezing.