What will command the attention of the kids faster than a pizza with a spiced cheese-stuffed crust? No more left over crusts piled on the plate… they’ll eat every bit.
There are scores of pizza recipes out there. This is the one that has evolved in our house to the point where the kids look forward to homemade pizza more than delivery.
- 20 March 2009
- Fixed sauce ingredient list. I hope nobody really put a cup of water in the pizza sauce! Sorry!
- Increased the amount of dough for thin vs. thick crust pizza.
|Camp Friendly:||Advanced skills (raising yeast dough)|
|Yield:||Two 12″ thin crust pizzas|
|Ovens Needed:||Two 12″ dutch oven|
|Thin Crust||Thick Crust|
|1 cup||1½ cups||warm water|
|1 tbsp||1½ tbsp||yeast|
|1 tsp||1½ tsp||sugar|
|2-½ cups||3-3/4 cups||flour|
|1 tsp||1½ tsp||salt|
|½ tsp||½ tsp||garlic powder|
|4 tbsp||4 tbsp||olive oil|
|2 tsp||2 tsp||basil|
|½ pound||½ pound||block of mozzarella cheese, not semicircle or non-block shape (I buy one-pound blocks and save half until the next pizza.)|
|1||8 ounce can tomato sauce|
|½ tsp||garlic salt|
With toppings, let your imagination go wild. The only constant that we count on is a pound of cheese and a 6 or 8 ounce bag of sliced pepperoni.
The following ingredient list is typical for our house, where we ordinarily make a double pepperoni pizza, and a multi-item pizza.
|1 pound||shredded mozzarella|
|1||8-oz. bag of pepperoni|
|½ pound||hot Italian-style sausage, cooked|
|8 or 10||black olives, sliced|
|2 or 3||sliced mushrooms|
- Mix warm water, yeast, and sugar in a bowl. Set aside.
- Mix flour, salt, basil, garlic powder, and olive oil together. Be sure to crush the basil leaves between your fingers before adding.
- Work the oil into the flour until it has a consistent texture.
- Add yeast mixture.
- Knead bread for five or ten minutes.
- Set in a warm oven to rise for approximately one hour.
- Punch down dough.
- Divide into two equal halves.
- Roll out until approximately 2 inches greater diameter than dutch oven, about 14″. This overlap will be used to stuff the crust.
- Coat the bottom and side of the dutch over with a very thin layer of olive oil.
- Place the dough in the dutch oven.
Stuffing the Crust
- Slice the block of mozzarella lengthwise, about ½” wide. Cut this slice lengthwise into thirds. The result should be a long piece of cheese with a square cross section, roughly ½” per side.
- Lay the pieces of cheese end to end on top of the dough, around the edge. The extra dough will lay on top of the cheese, hiding it.
- Pick up the cheese slightly and neatly tuck the dough underneath. I use a slight rolling motion.
- Cover the dutch oven again, and set aside in a warm place for ten minutes. (This is where I prepare the sauce and toppings.
- Mix all ingredients together. Be sure to crush the basil leaves between your fingers before adding.
- Evenly spread half of the sauce on one of the pizzas.
- Place toppings on pizza.
When you sprinkle the cheese on the pizza, ensure that all of it is inside of the stuffed cheese rim. If any cheese melts and touches the side of the dutch oven, it will stick terribly and make removal more difficult.
Commentary: Cheese on Top or Underneath?
This is personal preference. Experiment to determine whether you like to put the shredded cheese
- on top of the sauce, laying out the other toppings on top of the cheese in an aesthetically-pleasing manner, or
- last — on top of everything.
Personally, I like to put the cheese on top of the pepperoni pizza because some pepperonis have a tendency to curl. Turkey pepperoni that’s been in the refrigerator is notorious for this.
On the other hand, I find cheese underneath is more aesthetically pleasing with other toppings. You can play with making patterns or designs so it looks nice.
The verdict is suus quique… each to his own.
Cook at 400°F for 30 minutes using ⅔ timing.
If you cook in dutch ovens in a conventional oven, leave the lids off. I also stack them in the oven by putting a cooling rack on top of the lower dutch oven, and placing the upper dutch oven on the cooling rack.
Some people suggest cooking with the dutch oven upside down. In other words, prepare the crust on the lid, then putting the oven on top (upside down). Unless you have a fancy dutch oven lid with its own legs, you’ll need to set the lid on a trivet to keep the whole assembly from tipping over.
The advantage to doing this is that you don’t have to monkey with getting the pizza out of the dutch oven. I’ve not tried this, personally.
If you cook this at home, cook in a cast iron skillet since the edges of an ordinary dutch oven are a little tall for easy extraction. With a dutch oven, I work a fork under one edge, then (using gloves) tip the dutch oven to let the pizza slide out onto a pizza pan or other large cutting surface to slice the pizza. After slicing, I slide the pizza to a cooling rack.
Others suggest leaving in the cast iron to keep it hot as people come back for more.
- As always, please be aware that these are my personal notes. I may be verbose in places to remind myself of particular points on chemistry or methodology.
- Raising bread is not hard, but the conditions are a little tricky. It’s like the three bears.
- Not too hot. The dough will gelatinize, meaning it will be hot and start to become a little runny, like a batter. Yeast doesn’t like it too hot either.
- Not too cold. The yeast won’t thrive, eat the sugar, produce CO₂, and cause the dough to rise.
- Just right. About 90°F or so. A very warm room.
Yes, I’ve made all the mistakes and lived to tell the tale.
- This recipe makes for a thin crust pizza. I’m experimenting to adjust the recipe upwards for a thicker crust pizza.
- Be careful rolling out the dough evenly. If it’s uneven, there will be thin spots or holes in the crust. This makes a mess.