When The Moon Hits Your Eye

Pizza

My idea of home-made pizza isn’t exactly a wonky, clumsy simple rectangle pie, heaping carelessly with random ingredients you find in the fridge. No, homemade pizza to me is a carefully crafted, well-executed endeavor that requires time and a lot of attention. It’s not difficult, but it’s not as easy as opening a bag and just adding water.

Once or twice a month, I cook pizza for my family. They love it, as I do too, but there’s just one problem; three different people, three different pizzas and I don’t just mean toppings.

pizza9I personally like the American style pizza with the thick chewy crust around the edge, and a thinner bottom. And of course, packed with toppings, though I rather cook my pizza on a pizza rack where the holes in the rack allow the heat of the oven to directly crisp it up. My wife prefers the very thin cracker type crust, cooked on a pizza stone and requiring very few toppings. Simple is best for her. And my three year son prefers a little personal size pizza all to himself, baked in a small cast iron pan, coated with a thin layer of oil for that extra take-out flavor. He prefers very few toppings, but sticks with the basics cheese and pepperoni.

Just to be clear, yes this is a treat. Aside from the salad we usually have alongside our pizza, all nutrition ideals are thrown out the window on pizza night. I have worked on this restaurant style pizza for years, perhaps since childhood. This is the closest I’ve come to a recipe for pizza that I would be happy to offer in my own pizzeria, if I had one.

One point I can’t emphasize enough is the need to refrigerate the pizza dough. If even for a couple hours, it makes a world of difference in texture. I’ve tried this exact recipe without refrigeration and the texture was close to fluffy white bread. With refrigeration, there’s more chew to the crust. And the longer it stays in the fridge, the more the flavor develops. It’s best to plan for pizza the next day, or start the dough the morning of that day.

The toppings are up to you, though my favorites are red-wine salami, mushrooms, bacon, red onions, and green pepper. Also, if you’re feeling really adventurous, then you can make your own mozzarella cheese. Very easy, though it takes time.

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Pizza dough

  • Servings: Makes 3 Large Pizzas
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

  • 750g strong bread flour
  • 2 tbsp dry milk powder
  • 1 tbsp gluten flour, optional and if available
  • 500ml warm water
  • 2 tsp yeast
  • 1 ½ tbsp sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

1. Weigh out flour with dried milk, and gluten flour into one bowl. Set aside.

2. In a large mixing bowl, combine warm water, sugar, and salt. Stir to dissolve. Sprinkle yeast over the surface and wait 5 minutes until foamy.

3. Add the olive oil to the yeast mixture and stir gently. If using a dough hook, turn on low speed and slowly add the flour. After the flour has been incorporated, turn speed up to medium and knead for 10 minutes. Dough should feel sticky and wet, but just pulls away from the side of the bowl. If it sticks to the side, then add a tiny bit of flour until it starts to pull away.

If kneading by hand, incorporated flour and turn out onto a work surface and knead for 10-15 minutes. The dough should just slightly stick to the surface, but not your hands.

4. Place the dough in a bowl and cover. Let rise for 90 minutes.

5. Punch down and turn out. Cut the dough into portions – 4 medium pizzas, 3 large pizzas. In my case, I make 2 large pizzas, 1 very thin-crust pizza, and 1 little personal sized pizza.

6. Place each portion into a resealable plastic bag and let rise in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.

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Pizza Sauce

  • Servings: Makes 2 cups
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

  • 50ml olive oil
  • 2 shallots, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 200g tomato paste
  • 370g box of crushed tomatoes
  • 250ml water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp basil
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1. In a medium saucepan, over med-high heat, add the oil, shallots, and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously.

2. Add the tomato paste and cook for another 2 minutes while stirring.

3. Stir in the boiling water and crushed tomatoes. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low.

4. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well. Let sauce simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and allow sauce to cool in the pan. Pour in an airtight container and store in fridge until needed.

pizza5Rolling and Baking the Pizza:

**Preheat oven to highest possible temperature with convection fan setting, with or without pizza stone.

1. Remove one portion of dough from the refrigerator and place on a clean countertop. Lightly dust with flour and/or cornmeal.

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My son helping roll out his personal pan pizza.

2. Roll by hand or rolling pin – choice is yours. I usually start with a rolling pin and finish shaping by hand.

3. Place pizza on a wooden paddle (if using a pizza stone), a pizza rack, or in a deep dish pizza pan (a large cast iron pan works great).

If using a pizza pan and wish to make a Pizza Hut or Domino’s style pizza, then add 1 tbsp of canola oil to the pan before placing the dough inside. Let dough rise in the oil for 15 minutes before adding the toppings.

pizzacover
Ooey gooey thick-crust pizza cooked on a pizza rack.

4. Continue by topping the pizza as desired, starting with sauce, then cheese.

5. If using the pizza stone and wood paddle, then carefully slide the pizza onto the stone and turn on the broil setting of the oven. Should take take 8-10 minutes, depending on your oven.

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Thin Crust pizza cooked on pizza stone.

6. If using a pizza pan or pizza rack, turn only bottom heat setting on and place the pizza on the lowest rack. Bake for 4 minutes, then turn on broiler setting and broil for another 4-6 minutes.

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Personal Pan Pizza cooked in a cast iron pan.

Check the bottom of the pizzas before taking out of the oven. If more time is needed for the bottom, then use only the bottom heat of the oven and place pizza as close to the floor of the oven as possible.

pizzafinger2

Garlic Fingers

  • Servings: Makes 1 Medium
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

  • Pizza dough, enough for one pizza
  • 2 tbsp melted butter
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 slices of thin crispy bacon
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese

1. In a small bowl, combine the above ingredients.

2. Roll the pizza dough out very thin.

3. Rub the butter-garlic mixture all over the pizza and cover with generous heaps of mozzarella. Crumple bacon over top and bake as directed above.

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Cheesy Garlic Fingers with crispy bacon.

4. Remove from oven and slice into rectangular strips. Serve with pizza sauce or sweet garlic sauce.

pizzafinger
The infamously sweet Donair Sauce – Loved by Eastern Canadians.

Donair Sauce

  • Servings: Makes ¾ cup
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

  • 1 can of condensed milk
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2-3 tbsp of white vinegar

1. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, warm the condensed milk until it becomes thin, but doesn’t boil. Add the garlic powder and salt.

2. With a whisk, quickly whisk in the vinegar to create a frothy sauce. This will thicken the sauce significantly so add a couple teaspoons of water to thin it out if you prefer.

3. Serve warm with garlic fingers.

pizza11Enjoy!

33 thoughts on “When The Moon Hits Your Eye

  1. Wow – these look great. I make pizza from scratch every few months – didn’t know about refrigerating the dough – will need to give that a try. Like you, I have to make three as we all have our own “take” on what makes a perfect pizza. Thanks for the awesome share!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I am in pizza heaven with this post!!! I agree that homemade pizza does not need to be those “clumsy rectangle pies” as you put it lol. I love making pizza myself but I’ve only tried making garlic fingers once. They came out pretty good but I served it with a basic marinara sauce. I’m curious about that sweet Donair sauce. I’ve never tried sweet when eating garlic fingers but maybe I’ll test it out sometime ^_^

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks!! Yeah, that donair sauce is strange to most people. You have to really like sweet with savory in order to appreciate it. I (Canadian) love it, my wife (Norwegian) hates it. She just prefers the leftover pizza sauce for dipping. If you try it, hope you like it! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well my soon to be brother-in-law is Canadian and loves sweet and my beau loves garlic fingers. I think you’ve helped me win my way into the family’s heart haha. I’m always up for trying new things so I’d give that sauce a chance. Will let you know how that goes whenever I get around to it 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks!! That’s very unfortunate you’re lactose intolerant. Must be difficult to make something as yummy as homemade pizza for your family and not be able to share in that. I’m sure they certainly appreciate it. 😀

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    1. Thanks!! Great link. I have not tried to grill it yet. I got a BBQ not too long ago and have been wanting to try it out. I’ll do a follow up post on grilled pizza and different kinds of pizza. Thanks again! 😀

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  3. I am a product of Louisiana public school and in Health Class they taught us that pizza includes all the major food groups and is therefore a super food. It has grains (wheat flour crust), veggies (tomato sauce), dairy (cheese) and meat (pepperoni). So there should be no guilt in kicking the year off with pizza 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  4. For how much I love baking, and pizza I really nedd to expand my flour pantry from the basic “all purpose “. This pizza is making my mouth water! It’s as if I can smell right through the photo into your kitchen! Bravo! I am pretty particular about pizza that I like but will eat even the worst kind. Visually appetizing is a big winner for me, and I get the exact opposite when I attempt to make a pizza at home. Perhaps its the store bought dough. I make the “wonky, clumsy” style usually. I must try your recipe and pray that my pizza turns out looking even the slightest bit as delicious as yours.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I don’t think pizza must necessarily look great, but it should definitely tastes great. Those clumsy wonky pizzas usually occur when the dough is unevenly rolled out. Refrigerating the dough really helps with that. And of course the toppings are important. I’ve had homemade pizzas with an inch of ground beef and hotdogs cut up on it, layered on a sauce that more closely resembled ketchup. Those are the wonky pizzas I’ll only eat to be polite. Thanks again, and enjoy your next pizza! 😃

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I think it’s very important to have kids help in the kitchen. Not only does it teach them to appreciate food, but also the crucial developmental building blocks: patience, restraint, and a sense of self-worth, to mention a few. My little guy helps whenever he can and I really appreciate it! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  5. These definitely look awesome! Thanks for the recipe. I will definitely try them one day.
    I wish one day I can take photos like these of the food I cook! Ahahaha.

    And please don’t tell me I’m the only who sang the title of this post?! Hahahhaa.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much! It’s certainly the closest I’ve gotten to restaurant quality at home.
      I have zero training in photography, but the only advice I could give is a good light source and take tons of pictures while experimenting with aperture and shutter speeds.
      And also, that song play in my head the whole time I was making pizza, so aside from me, you’re definitely not the only one. 😃

      Like

    1. I couldn’t agree with you more, though I haven’t met many people outside Atlantic Canada who have heard of it. I often get unusual looks when describing donair sauce, much like trying to describe poutine to a European.

      Like

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