Mac’s Margherita Pizza

Be warned, once you start making homemade pizzas, Domino’s, Pizza Hut, and other chain pizzas will pale in comparison.  Once you open Pandora’s pizza box, there’s no turning back :).

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We got tired of the way delivery pizzas tasted: too much grease, varying quality, and limited toppings.  So we started testing out ways to make our own pizzas.  Not only do you end up saving “dough” by making your own dough, but then you can put anything on the pizza that you desire.

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If you have a bread machine, or a kitchen-aid mixer with a dough hook, we highly recommend either of those methods to make a basic pizza dough.  If you are looking for a simpler approach, you can always start out how we did, making the crust from a box and then topping it with your own delicious ingredients.

One small tip: Once you have the dough rolled out, don’t forget to flash-bake the crust for a couple of minutes before putting the toppings on.  This will help it cook a bit more evenly (and avoid the dreaded soggy pizza).

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Then load it up with all of your goodies and prepare to enjoy deliciousness!

Mac's Margherita Pizza
 
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Ingredients
Toppings:
  • 3 medium Roma tomatoes
  • 1 cup fresh mozzarella
  • 2 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
Dough:
  • 1⅔ cups water
  • 2½ tbsp olive oil
  • 2½ tsp. salt
  • 5⅓ cups bread flour
  • 2½ tsp. yeast
Instructions
  1. Place all the ingredients for the bread dough into a large mixing bowl (bread machine if you have one) and begin to mix vigorously. Once the dough starts to take shape, remove from the bowl and begin to knead it for about 10 minutes (dough should be slightly tacky). Quickly rinse and dry the mixing bowl and place ½ tbsp of olive oil in the bowl coating the sides, place your well-worked dough into the bowl, take a dish towel, make it damp by running it under hot water and hand wringing, towel should be damp but not soaked, place over the mixing bowl place it in the oven and let the dough rest for 1 hour.
  2. Now that you have the dough working, it's time to move on to the toppings. First, start by dicing the tomatoes. They should be cut into ¼-1/2 inch bits, normally I cut the tomatoes into ⅛'s then slice the rest about ⅛ of a inch.
  3. Next, you need to mince the garlic, a neat little trick up I picked up for finely chopping garlic without hassle is put a drop of olive oil on the garlic when your mincing to help keep it in a nice neat pile so it does not fly all over the cutting board.
  4. In a small mixing bowl combined minced garlic (if you don't want to mince ½ tbsp of garlic powder should do the trick as well), diced tomatoes, olive oil, salt, pepper, basil (if you are using fresh basil shred the leaves by hand will reduce the browning and give you better flavor.)
  5. Here is the fun part, take your index finger of your dominate hand and stir/mix the bruschetta. Remove finger the from the bowl and give it a taste, if you're not mind-blown by how amazing it tastes, try adding more basil, garlic, or salt to your liking. At the end of the day if you don't love how it tastes now you won't like it later on your pizza.
  6. Place the mixture into the fridge and let it rest. If this is your first time making this it should take you less then 15 minutes, if you are a pro pizza maker about 5. at any rate you now have 45 minutes of "prep" time, so sit back and relax fantasizing about your families faces when you tell them you made a pizza from scratch.
  7. Ok, it's an hour since you placed the dough in the oven (hopefully you didn't turn it on) and it has doubled in size. Remove the dough from the mixing bowl and plop it on your clean counters....well at least I hope they're clean. The dough recipe can make about 3 medium pizzas about 15 inches per pie. We're just making one pizza so divide the dough into thirds, leave one out, and store the rest.
  8. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  9. I typically work the dough a little bit by hand, making a relatively round flat mass before it take a rolling pin to it. Once you have a pizza looking mass of dough you want to roll it out the rest of the way. Take a small amount of flour and spread it about on the counter top (rolling surface) and place your crust in the middle, add a small amount of flour on top as well. Now we start the process of the hand made crust. It will not be a perfect circle (that is a promise), but do your best to keep the crust uniform. My technique involves a lot of turning the crust, rolling, turning, rolling, flipping over, rolling, and so on. I only have one bit of advice, try to keep the crust form sticking to the pin or rolling surface or you may have to start over if you fold it over onto itself. Once I get a relatively flat crust I pull out the pizza pan lay it over the top of the crust and begin to cut off excess dough (since it is not perfectly round, this helps make it look nicer). This process will take a few times to get used to doing but once you get the hang of things it should only take you a few minutes to knock out a pie crust to feed a whole family or two teenagers.
  10. Place your crust onto the pizza pan and insert it into the preheated oven for flash baking. This process takes 7-10 minutes depending on where you place the pan. The object here is to not fully cook the crust, but give it some fortitude against the toppings. If you like a softer crust, take it out after about 5 minutes, if you're a fan of crispy pizza, aim for about 10. Either way, once you're satisfied with your crust, remove the pan from the oven and place it on a trivet or burners so you don't ruin the counters.
  11. While you're waiting for the pizza crust to be flash baked, its time to cut the cheese *snickers to himself* (I know i'm being juvenile). Depending on the type of cheese you buy depends on this process. If it's shredded mozzarella, you're all set. We use fresh water packed mozzarella so what I do is remove it from the packaging and give it a delicate squeeze to get some excess moisture out, then cut it into ⅛ inch slices. I then cut the slices in half and and dice the rest into a ½ inch sections. Now the great thing is it will all melt down so uniformity is not 100% necessary unless like me you like the artistry.
  12. At this point your pizza dough should be coming out of the oven looking amazing if i do say so myself, and ready for the toppings. first go to the fridge and remove the bruschetta, using your hands pull out the bruschetta giving it a squeeze over the bowl so as to remove some of the liquid (not all because it has amazing flavor that will add to the pizza.) now smear it all over the crust as if you were spreading jelly. Next comes the cheese, Again if your slightly OCD you have a system, if your like household six, random cheese bombardment will taste equally as good. My system involves intricate spacing and precision, in a clockwise manner so each circle is symmetrical and consistent but hey, its pizza so do as you will.
  13. Now that all the toppings are set and ready to go place the pizza into the oven and reduce the temperature to 350. 15-20 minutes later your crust will be a nice golden brown (unless your a New York pizza type), cheese melted, and pizza ready for consumption. Sometimes the fresh mozzarella can leave excess liquid on the top of the pizza, if this happens just use a paper towel and dab up some of the excess so you're not serving pizza soup.
  14. Last and most important step in the process: enjoy the pizza. Best served with friends and/or family that will adorn you with praises of how amazing your cooking is!

 

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