Weekend Pizza: Sam's Recipe

When Sam and Bess moved in, I wanted very much for them to have their own routines and foods they were used to as well.  I knew that usually on the weekend Samuel made pizza and I asked if he'd do the same while he was here.

I'd had his pizza before and it was good but he'd fretted and fretted over it's 'not turning out right'.  I couldn't for the life of me understand why he kept saying such, because it was delicious.  However, during this stay he made pizza all but one weekend and each time the pizza crust was pillowy and slightly chewy but tender.  The first pizza he'd made for us had been crisp and thin.  As he walked me through his recipe and his process I understood what he was going for in pizza dough. 

I don't have a single picture of even one of those many pizzas he made while he was here!  We were all too eager to come right to the table and eat them.  From start to finish it takes roughly an hour and a half if all the other ingredients are prepped ahead.  The kitchen smells awesome the whole while. 

Sam's Pizza Dough
There's nothing radical or unusual in this recipe.  It's standard ingredients and nothing more, it's how the dough is handled that makes all the difference in the world.

2 cups bread flour (yes bread flour.  We did experiment with adding in half whole wheat and that worked fine but bread flour is essential)

1 cup warm water

1 packet rapid rise yeast

1 tsp. salt

1/4 cup olive oil

Put all ingredients into a stand mixer and mix well using a dough hook.  The dough should all come together about the hook.  Test it to see that it's not sticky.  If dough does stick to your finger then add more flour, letting the dough hook do the work for you.  The dough should be smooth and slightly damp and not stick to your hand at all.  It it seems too dry add a little water.

Remove from bowl, wipe the bowl down with oil and return the dough to the bowl.  Set in a warm place to rise. Dump out onto an oiled piece of foil.  This is what the dough will look like when it's risen.

Test dough with your finger....

and note the dimple where he pressed it...

What happens from here is not another rising.  Sam has the oven preheating to 425f  the entire time the dough is rising and in that oven is his baking sheet.  He spreads the dough out on the foil, working quickly, then tops with his choice of toppings.  I'll share his homemade pizza sauce recipe with you, too.  After the pizza is assembled, he pulls that hot pan from the oven, pulls the foil onto the pan and pops it right back into the oven.  Bake 20 minutes, remove and cut into serving pieces.

We had a variety of toppings during the time Sam was here and every single one of his pizzas was delicious.  He varied the pizza sauce only twice, once we used homemade enchilada sauce to make a Mexican pizza and another night he used a seasoned olive oil base for a Margherita style pizza.

Sam's Homemade Tomato Sauce

1 can fire roasted tomatoes (or one pint fresh tomatoes)
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp oregano
fresh basil leaves
(or get the tomatoes that are already seasoned with garlic and basil)
1 tsp baking soda (to cut the acidity)

Cook over medium heat for 15 or 20 minutes.  Pour into a blender and blitz until smooth.   This makes enough pizza sauce for 3-4 pizzas.

Sam's rules for making pizza: If making two pizzas then make two doughs, don't try to double the recipe in one bowl. 

Don't be heavy handed with cheese or other toppings.  Sam likes to let the pizza dough and sauce have a moment to shine, too and too many ingredients will overwhelm both.  He doesn't worry about making his pizzas perfectly round.  If he's baking two pizzas at once, one goes on the bottom rack and one on the top rack and ten minutes into baking he switches the pans to the opposite rack. 

I really enjoyed these weekend pizzas and the creative way Sam went about making them different every weekend. 


Sew Blessed Maw [Judy] said...

Thank you for sharing Sam's recipe.. I have been waiting for you to post it.. Cant wait to try his pizza.

Anonymous said...

I am going to make pizza using his recipe very soon!
Thanks for the clear details. Ginny S,

Debbie said...

We love homemade pizza around here! Your post brought back great memories for me. My mother used to make homemade pizza as a treat for us because there were no pizza parlors for the longest time where were lived. When one finally came in, the pizza was really expensive. Our family was on a tight budget so most of the time, Mom just continued to make it for us as a treat. This became a tradition in our family and my mother continues to make homemade pizzas when the family gathers and everyone pitched in to help...even her great grandkids!

Lana said...

You would like having a pizza stone. Mine is black from so much use.

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