Two Crusts Are Better Than One – Stuffed Spinach Pizza

There is a pizza place here in town that has always had the best stuffed pizza I’ve ever had. It’s long been my favorite slice anywhere, and yet, I’ve never even attempted a stuffed pizza! This recipe is along the same lines as my local spot – not an exact match, but it gets us moving in the right direction – and I plan on trying this out soon. As always, photos and a review will follow soon.

Let me know how it works out for you. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 (1 pound) loaf frozen bread dough, thawed
  • 1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
  • 1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 cups shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce
  • 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions

Place dough in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch dough down; divide into thirds. On a lightly floured surface, roll one portion of dough into a 10-in. circle. Transfer to a 9-in. springform pan coated with nonstick cooking spray. Press dough onto bottom and up sides of pan.

In a bowl, combine the spinach, mushrooms, onion, salt and pepper. Sprinkle half of the mozzarella cheese over crust. Cover with spinach mixture; sprinkle with remaining mozzarella. On a lightly floured surface, roll out a second portion of dough into a 10-in. circle; place over cheese layer. Pinch together top and bottom crust. (Save remaining dough for another use).

Bake at 400 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned. Spread pizza sauce over top crust; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake 5-6 minutes longer or until cheese is melted. Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.

White Pizza from the New York Times

Winter Squash, Onion and Pine Nut Pizza (from the NY Times)

This flavorful autumnal pie uses winter squash purée as the pizza topping; the purée is spread like a sauce on the crust. You can find puréed winter squash (sometimes labeled as “puréed acorn squash” or “puréed butternut squash”) in the freezer section of most markets — thaw according to the package instructions before using.

  • Yellow cornmeal to dust the pizza stone (or nonstick spray to grease the baking sheet)
  • 1 pound fresh dough (from a pizza shop) or a frozen dough, thawed; or prebaked pizza crust – Or even better, try making your own dough!
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium yellow onions, halved through the stem, then thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup frozen winter squash purée, thawed
  • 2 teaspoons minced sage leaves or 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
  • 1/4 teaspoon grated or ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano or Grana Padano or pecorino, finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts

1. Preheat pizza stone or oven. If using a pizza stone, preheat it in the oven at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 45 minutes; if using a pizza tray or a large baking sheet, preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

2. Prepare the crust. If you’re using fresh dough on a pizza stone, dust a pizza peel lightly with cornmeal. Add the dough and form it into a large circle by dimpling it with your fingertips. Pick it up and shape it by slowly turning it by its edge, stretching that edge all the while, until the circle is about 14 inches in diameter. Set it cornmeal side down on the peel.

To use fresh dough on a pizza tray or a large baking sheet, grease the tray or baking sheet lightly with nonstick spray. Lay the dough on the baking sheet and dimple it with your fingertips — then pull and press it until it forms a circle about 14 inches in diameter on the pizza tray or a 12-by-7-inch, somewhat irregular rectangle on the baking sheet. If you’re using a prebaked crust, place it on a cornmeal-dusted pizza peel or on a greased pizza tray or a large baking sheet.

3. Heat a large skillet over medium heat, then swirl in the oil. Add the onion slices, reduce the heat to very low, and cook, stirring often, until soft, golden and very sweet, 20 to 25 minutes.

4. Meanwhile, stir the squash purée, sage, nutmeg, salt and pepper in a medium bowl until uniform. Spread this mixture evenly over the prepared crust, leaving a 1/2-inch border at its edge.

5. Top with the caramelized onions, then sprinkle the finely grated cheese and pine nuts over the pie. Slide the pizza from the peel to the very hot stone, or place the pie on its tray or baking sheet with the pie either in the oven or on the section of the grill grate that’s not right over the heat source.

6. Bake or grill with the lid closed until the crust is golden and somewhat firm to the touch, perhaps even a little darkened on its bottom, 16 to 18 minutes. Check fresh dough occasionally to prick any air bubbles that may arise so you’ll have an even crust on the pie. Slip the peel back under the pie to get it off the stone, or set the pie on its tray or baking sheet with its pie on a wire rack. Cool for 5 minutes before slicing. If you want to make sure the crust stays crunchy, consider transferring the pie directly to the wire rack after a minute or so.

My Latest Variation on a Thin Crust Dough Recipe – Bacon Grease Anyone?

Hi Ya’ll,

Just wanted to share with you my latest variation on my dough along with a new little video I shot for you the other day. Things to note in this new variation: Vital Gluten, malted syrup, bacon grease, and a rolling pin! Enjoy.

Recipe

  • 22.5 oz of flour
    • First put in 2oz of vital gluten
    • Then 20.5oz of all purpose flour
  • 1T malted syrup
  • 2tsp salt
  • 1tsp Instarise yeast
  • 2T bacon grease
  • 1.75c + 1T warm water (’bout 100 degrees)

Toss all the ingredients into your stand mixer and mix on slow ’til everything comes together – should be about 2-3 minutes. Once it looks like a chunky, cohesive mass, turn the mixer off and let the dough sit for 10-20 minutes with a nice clean shower cap over the top of the mixer bowl – many people like to put a towel over the top of the bowl, but many other people claim that the towel absorbs the moisture in the air, which isn’t great for the dough, so I like the shower cap. Reusable as well 🙂 Once at least ten minutes is up, start mixing again on slow for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the mixer off and rest for another 10-20 (remember that shower cap). Finally, pull the dough out and form 4 10oz balls and place into air tight containers (this could be tupperware, plastic bags, etc). Put the containers in the fridge and let them hang out for two to three days. After at least 48 hours, pull the dough out two hours before you plan to bake the pies. One hour before you want to eat, put your stone in the oven, crank it up as hot it will go, and let it pre-heat for the last hour. Lastly, pull your dough out onto a lightly dusted counter, flatten your ball out with your knuckles – try pushing the bubbles that have formed out to the outer rim of the dough. I’ve been playing with a rolling pin recently and liking it a lot, so grab a floured rolling pin and do some rolling out til you get a nice flat disc going. Lastly, pick it up and slap it back and forth to dust off the excess flour, toss it a few times to get that final thin stretch, then plop it on a peel, top it, and slide it in the oven. If your oven gets nice and hot, you won’t need to cook it more than five minutes or so. Enjoy!

Thai Peanut Pizza from Ryan (W)

My buddy Ryan was over the other night and introduced this awesome Thai Peanut Pizza. Here is his recipe and a few photos from the evening.

Ingredients:

  • mozzarella cheese
  • Goat Cheese
  • Thai Peanut sauce (I use San-J brand, but you can use any you like, or heck even get adventurous and make your own)
  • Spinach or Arugula
  • Carmelized Red Onions with Balsamic Vinegar
  • Peanuts
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Cilantro

Directions:

  • Carmelize the red onions with olive oil on low heat. Cook for about 15-20 minutes or until translucent. Add about 2-3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and let cook into the onions.
  • Roll out pizza dough and spread a thin layer of the peanut sauce.
  • Sprinkle a thin layer of the mozzarella cheese. You will want to be able to see plenty of the sauce through the cheese.
  • Place the spinach or arugula leaves
  • Sprinkle red bell pepper slices
  • Place the carmelized red onions
  • Sprinkle peanuts
  • Place the cilantro
  • Hand pull pieces of the goat cheese and distribute over the top of the pizza.

Yeast-Free Pizza Dough – The Photographic Results

After trying the recipe in my original post on Yeast-Free Pizza Dough, I have some results to report. The dough itself was much more solid feeling than a regular pizza dough – I began in the same fashion I would normally flatten dough out, on the counter with my hands, but after a certain point, it began to feel like I was trying to toss a big sheet of cookie dough, not piza dough. So I got out my trusty rolling pin and went to town – this easily created a very thin, very pliable dough that I could then load onto my pizza pan and prep for the oven. When the pizza came out, it looked as if it had not risen at all – I suspect that my long rest in the fridge negated any effect the baking powder had, and the double acting feature was all but absent. The dough baked very thin, but because of the high oil content, it was very crispy – it began to taste like a homemade cracker after a few bites. There was good snap, it supported the weight of the toppings, it had a real buttery flavor ( even though there was no actual butter in the dough) – all in all, it wasn’t bad.

However, coming from the yeast world and knowing what I was missing, it wasn’t great either. I think it was just a preference thing. I felt it was a bit dry and a bit dense. I can actually get my yeast dough just as thin, but the yeast dough feels much lighter and airier in your hand and in your mouth. Also, as you eat the yeast-free slices, they feel heavy in your stomach – the yeast slices feel like you could go on eating forever! My dad tried a slice and actually liked the yeast-free pizza a lot, but I think for my money, if I had the option, I would stick with a yeast leavened dough. Now please enjoy some photographic samples of a yeast-free pizza.

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Yeast-Free Pizza Dough – Pizza for Restricted Diets

I’ve recently found it necessary to explore yeast-free pizza dough and so I’d like to offer this recipe up as a jumping off point for those celiac disease or are taking Isoniazid. I would suggest using double-acting baking powder as all the chemical leavening may just leave this dough is you let it rest for any amount of time. If you use double-acting baking powder, you’ll get an initial boost of CO2 when the powder is first incorporated into the dough, but you’ll also get a second burst of gas when you apply the heat a couple days later.

  • 2 c. bread flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2/3 c. water
  • 1/4 c. vegetable oil

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl or your stand mixer. Mix until everything has come together and looks like a rough dough. Then stop, cover the bowl with some plastic, and let sit for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, start that stand mixer a-mixin again and mix for 5-8 minutes. Then, you guessed it, stop the mixer and re-cover it – let it rest for another 20 minutes. Lastly, place the dough in the fridge and let sit for a day or so – pull it out an hour before baking and let the dough return to room temp. Make a pizza and place it in a 550+ oven for a short amount of time.

The only thing I’m unsure about here is the rest in the fridge. Normally this would give the yeast time to develop flavor and begin to convert the dough into yeast by-product (CO2) but in this case that won’t be happening. My theory is that a day-long rest in the fridge might still be nice for the overall texture of your dough, and if it went into the fridge as a tight, tough ball of dough, the rest should give the gluten network that has formed time to relax and slacken so you can spread/toss your dough more easily. I’ll report on my findings here.

Good luck – and good eats!

-Ryan

I found the proportions for the ingredients listed in this recipe here. Thanks!

Latent Tuberculosis: A New View on Pizza

Ok, so strange turn of events: I have latent tuberculosis. I’ve got some medication that I’ll be taking for the next twelve months and during that time, I’m supposed to avoid all “homemade yeast breads.” Of course, if you are at all a regular reader of this blog, you realize how absurd this is. So, as of this weekend, I will changing the focus of this blog to be unleavened, un-yeasty pizza doughs. Woof.

Wish me luck.

I’ll report back with all new findings.

*UPDATE: I am going to start taking my medicine after the holiday, so until then, the search for the perfect pie is BACK ON!!

Yugon Gold Potato White Pizza

I saw a pizza episode of “The Best Thing I ever Ate” the other day and Alex Guarnaschelli said that her favorite pizza was the Five Points, yukon gold potato pizza. Well this sounded interesting and new, so I ran out and whipped up what I thought the pizza would be like – and let me tell you, it sounds super funky, but man oh MAN it was good! See recipe and photos to follow.

Ingredients:

  • Pizza Dough – I used this recipe.
  • Mozzarella – I used fresh mozz here, which I liked a lot, but the grocery store stuff would work too.
  • One Yukon Gold Potato
  • Rosemary
  • Garlic Salt – I used Chico Spice Garlic Powder, made right here in Chico.
  • Black Pepper
  • Olive Oil

Preheat your oven to as high as it will go. Slice your potato up into the thinnest possible slices you can. Using a mandoline would make this process a piece of cake, but all I had was a knife, so I cut slowly and carefully. Next, spread out your dough onto whatever pan, peel, or whatever you are going to use to bake the pizza. Use a silicone brush to brush on a thin layer of olive oil. Next, give the whole crust a light sprinkling of garlic salt and rosemary, and then crack a bit of fresh black pepper on top of the spices. Then, spread out the potatoes in concentric circles around the pie. Place your medallions of cheese down on top of the potatoes. Put a few dribbles of olive oil down on top of the pie and I like to brush on some more oil on the outer crust (and dash on some more garlic salt on there for a yummy finish to each slice).  Place it in the oven until you see some nice browning on the cheese and crust and that’s it! You’ve got yourself potato pizza my friend! Enjoy 🙂

Tony Gemignani’s Pizza Dough – Both a Tossing and a Tasty Champ

Just saw Tony Gemignani on an episode of “Will Work for Food” and I had to go search out his recipe. Not only am I looking for a more hearty dough to practice my stunt pizza tossing, but I wouldn’t be too disappointed if it were also an award winningly tasty dough as well. I have a dough ball rising as we speak, so I’ll get back to you with my success/failure.

UPDATE: This recipe has become my favorite dough recipe. It tops all of my sourdough experiments, which is a bit embarrassing to admit. Try it out – you won’t be sorry.

This recipe goes with Tony’s Hand-Tossed Pizza

Yield

Makes dough for 3 pizzas (Tony claims this makes two 14″ pizzas – I say it makes three minimum, but you may even be able to get four thin pizzas out of it.)

Ingredients

  • 1  package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
  • 1  cup  warm (90° to 100°) water – not tap water, filtered only please
  • 1  cup  ice-cold water – filtered
  • 1  tablespoon  sugar
  • 1  tablespoon  salt – sea salt might be a bad choice here because it sometimes contains minerals that aren’t water soluable
  • 2  tablespoons  olive oil
  • About 5 1/4 to 5 1/2 cups bread flour – This is important: USE HIGH GLUTEN OR BREAD FLOUR.

Preparation

i. Place your oven rack on the lowest height possible. Preheat your over to as hot as it will go. If you are using a pizza stone, put it in, then crank the oven up. Turn on your oven hook intake fan – it’s going to get hot.

1. In a small bowl, with a fork, stir yeast into warm water. Let stand until yeast is dissolved and you start to see little bubbles forming on top of the liquid, about 10 minutes.

2. In another bowl, mix cold water, sugar, and salt until dissolved; stir in oil.

3. Place 5 1/4 cups bread flour in your stand mixer with the dough hook. Stir the yeast mixture again with your fork to blend, then add all liquids to the flour. Beat with the dough hook on lowest speed until mixture comes together and is generally smooth – 4 to 5 minutes tops. If the dough isn’t completely uniform, don’t worry about it.

4. Cover the mixer bowl with plastic wrap, or even better, a clean, brand new shower cap, and let it rest for 20 minutes.

5. Uncover the bowl and start the mixer going again on its lowest setting for another 5-7 minutes. You should see the dough is much more smooth and elastic looking now.

6. Scrape dough onto a lightly floured board; cut in half. With floured hands, pick up one portion of dough; pull opposite edges together toward center and pinch to seal. Repeat all around circumference to form a smooth, tight ball. Place each portion in a large Tupperware container which will allow the dough ball to at least double. Squeeze out air and seal bag, allowing enough room for ball to double. Chill at least 10 hours or up to 2 days.

7. After two days have passed, you will probably see the dough pushing up against the sides of the container. to remove it, run your finger down along the side of the ball to release it from  the sides. Then, flip the container upside down and you should almost be able to let gravity pull the ball out on its own.

8. Place the ball of dough directly into a large mixing bowl or lipped tray full of regular AP flour and coat the whole outside of the ball with a light coating of flour. It’s ok if it seems like a lot of flour, it’s mostly going to come off when you start to toss it around 🙂 In fact, while the ball is in the flour, go ahead and start flattening it into a pancake sized disc. You need to finese this, because what you are wanting to do is not pop all the bubbles in the dough, but reather spread them to the outter edges of it so they form your crust. Starting at the center, slowly massage your dough down to somewhat of a flat shape. Now you are ready to spread your dough. Instead of trying to describe it, why not just watch video lessons on it here?

9. Once you have your pizza spread out, spread a light covering of sauce on, starting from the middle and working your way out. Two things about this: Use less sauce than you think you should. One serving ladel per pie should be about good. Also, try to put less sauce, as well as toppings, in the middle. This is where everything is going to try to pool in the oven, so don’t start it off too thick.

10. Top and slide in your hot hot oven. It should cook in roughly 5 minutes, depending on how how your oven can get. What I like to do when I am not cooking on a pizza stone, is to cook the pizza on a pan until it is JUST starting to brown the cheese, then slide it out of the pan and just cook it on the rack, right above the heating element. This dries out the bottom of the crust further and makes for a crunchier crust. One thing to be aware of – if the pizza looks ultra wet because there are a bunch of fresh veggies on there, or you spread it so thin you could read through it, chances are your pizza is not very structurally sound and wouldn’t support the toppings if you were to take it off the tray. Yet another reason to keep the topping sitch simple I suppose 🙂

Tossing tips:

The setup: Remove your watch and any rings you’re wearing. Place the dough slightly off-center on the palm of your throwing hand (generally, if you’re comfortable spinning the dough counterclockwise, use your right hand; for spinning clockwise, use your left). Make a fist with the other hand, knuckle side up, and place it under the dough, beside your throwing hand, to support the other side. Hold the dough parallel to the ground, between your waist and chest.

The release: Turn the palm of your throwing hand toward you, then quickly twist your hand outward and up to launch the dough into the air. Catch the round with both fists, knuckles up. Toss with fast, deliberate moves; if you’re tentative and slow, the dough will be more likely to flop over or droop. Don’t get discouraged! In our test kitchen, a little practice produced amazing results (and a lot of laughs).

This recipe was originally published here.

Enjoy Travis!

-Ryan

Pizza Stone Resources

Whether you are looking for square, round, thick, or even made for BBQs, here is a good list of pizza stones you may want to check out.

Baking Stone, 14 x 16 x 7/8 in Thick, No Lead Fire Brick Material – CordieriteLarger Image

Baking Stone, 14 x 16 x 7/8 in Thick, No Lead Fire Brick Material – Cordierite. Perfect for snall restaurants and bars. Ideal where hearth baking is not possible. Keeps pizzas warm in heated display cases. Made of Corderite; a no lead fire brick material. FDA approved for oven use. Perfect thickness and porosity for heat retention.

Old Stone Oven Pizza Grill Stone Shaped For Weber BBQ GrillOld Stone Oven Pizza Grill Stone Shaped For Weber BBQ Grill 4471

Give a delicate crispy, restaurant-quality crust to any pizza, focaccia or bread on your backyard Weber grill using this Old Stone Oven™ Pizza Stone. These were the first baking stones introduced in 1973 and are still considered the best by pizza experts, including Cook’s Illustrated Magazine (October, 2003) where they ranked #1.

Kitchen Supply Company’s Pizza Grill Stone can be used to line your Weber barbecue grill for a true stone hearth effect without the weight of one heavy stone. Brown box includes a recipe booklet.

Kitchen Supply Old Stone Oven Baking Tiles, Set of 6Kitchen Supply Old Stone Oven Baking Tiles, Set of 6

Over 25 years ago the Old Stone Oven Company first introduced the original baking stone for home use, designed by international pizza expert, Pasquale Bruno. It is still the best on the market. It has a porosity and heat retention that is unmatched for giving a delicate crispy, restaurant-quality crust to any pizza, focaccia or bread in a standard home oven. Stone is a pure ceramic product made of clays fired at over 2000-degrees Fahrenheit. Set of 6 Tiles, 6-inch by 6-inch each. Use tiles individually or together for just the right size for you recipe. Can be used in the Oven, Toaster Ovens or can also be used in the microwave by preheating for 5 minutes. Perfect for recrisping last night’s pizza, baking frozen pizza slices or made-from-scratch mini-pizzas. Complete instructions and recipes are included. Made in the USA.

Old Stone Oven 16″ Round Pizza StoneOld Stone Oven Pizza Stone Round

Our Old Stone Oven 16″ Round Pizza Stone is a great choice for making outstanding pizza with a crispy crust. Old Stone Oven Pizza Stones are also great for evenly baking breads, rolls, and even some cookies.