Pizza With Tomatoes, Basil and Goat Cheese
This is a quick pizza recipe to make from scratch that is easy to whip up when you have a couple of hours before you want to bake. You can make this dough by hand but it also works well in a food processor or a bread mixer. If you do not use the whole dough you can either freeze half of it or keep it in the fridge and bake it in the next couple of day. It will develop more flavour after sitting in the fridge. This recipe makes four individual size pizzas. To make good pizza crust you need to have a pizza stone in the oven. It makes a big difference if the dough can slide onto a hot stone. Pizza stones are readily available so I highly recommend that you pick one up. As well, the oven temperature must be very high, at 450 or 500 degrees. It took me a while before I got that point. I don’t like to complicate pizza topping and mostly use a couple of simple ingredients, like tomatoes, roasted peppers and a cheese or two. Although I am known to fancy it up on occasion, with fresh figs, Gorgonzola, pears or whatever appeals to me that day. More recipes to come.
Quick Pizza Dough
1 cup water
2 1/2 teaspoons yeast or 1 envelope yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup cornmeal
3 cups flour (approximately)
Place water, sugar and yeast in the bowl of a food processor. Sprinkle yeast over the water and pulse once or twice to mix. Let rest 5 minutes to dissolve.
Add olive oil and cornmeal and pulse a couple of times to blend.
Add 2 cups flour and pulse a few times to mix the flour with the liquid ingredients. Add the rest of the flour until dough forms a ball and pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Continue processing until dough pulls together and develops elasticity.
Remove to a floured surface and finish kneading by hand, adding more flour but not too much so the dough remains light.
Place ball of dough in an oiled bowl, turning dough to cover with the oil. Let rise until doubles, about 2 hours.
If you need more time then either deflate the dough and let it rise once more or place the bowl with the dough in the fridge until you are ready. Bring it to room temperature before proceeding with rolling the dough and shaping the pizza.
When ready to proceed turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and cut into 4 pieces. Keep the extra pieces covered while you work with each one. With a rolling pin or with your hands roll the dough into a rough circle (it doesn’t have to be a perfect round, rougher shaped pizza are very attractive). Keep the edges slightly thicker than the center.
Lay the dough round on a parchment paper, it makes it easy to transfer it into the oven. Brush it with olive oil and then proceed with the topping of your choice.
Use a pizza peel or a wide spatula that will fit the entire pizza with the parchment to lift the pizza and then slide the dough still on the parchment sheet onto the pizza stone in the oven. Bake in a 450-500℉ oven until crisp. After a few minutes you can quickly pull out the parchment from under the pizza and let it finish cooking directly on the stone.
Spoon a good quality pizza sauce on the dough (William Sonoma has a good pizza sauce), top it with a few slices of ripe tomatoes and sprinkle with goat cheese. When the pizza comes out of the oven scatter chopped basil over and serve immediately.