There are some things that I am okay with taking the shortcut on (like boxed cake mixes and Cheez-Its…yes there are recipes for homemade Cheez-Its!) but pizza dough is not one of them. We rarely order pizza delivered to our house. It’s expensive and let’s face it, it’s never as delicious as we were hoping it would be. We get take and bake pizzas on occasion and there is only one place in town we will order pizza from but for three Saturdays in a row, we have had homemade pizza and it always meets our expectations. I had a go-to pizza dough recipe that I have used for years but it has now been replaced. The basic pizza dough recipe that I use makes three medium-sized pizzas, which means, in our household, we put two in the freezer for later and I only make the dough once a month! (Give or take) This recipe uses bread flour and I strongly advise you not to replace it with all-purpose flour. You can find bread flour in the baking aisle of the grocery store and it makes the pizza dough nice and chewy and crisp.
I highly recommend investing in a pizza stone if you don’t already own one. Pizza stones bake the dough evenly and absorb moisture, resulting in a nicely browned, crisp and chewy crust. It is important to pre-heat the stone in the oven for about 20-30 minutes prior to baking. I like to use my pizza peel to transfer the pizza to and from the stone but you could also use a rimless or upside down baking sheet. In order to prevent the dough from sticking to the peel or baking sheet, I like to sprinkle a generous amount of cornmeal under the dough and shake the peel to make sure it moves. Another way to do it is to sprinkle a sheet of parchment paper with cornmeal, top it with the pizza and then transfer the whole works onto the pizza stone. The parchment will turn a very dark brown but won’t burn. The crust still turns out perfect.
Okay, so on with the actual recipe I want to share…Potato Bacon Pizza. Potatoes on a pizza, sounds odd, right? Well, many years ago (I say many because I was in high school and that is nearly 15 years since I graduated!) Green Mill had a potato pizza on their menu. I always ordered that pizza whenever we went there for dinner. It had thinly sliced potatoes, bacon, green onions and hardly any sauce at all. It was served with a side of sour cream. I don’t know when it happened, but it seems they took it off the menu. I still crave that pizza and here is my attempt at recreating it.
Potato Bacon Pizza
1 ball homemade pizza dough
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
2 medium red-skinned potatoes, thinly sliced
4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 C. mozzarella cheese (more or less, it’s your pizza…we used a mixture of fresh and shredded because that’s what we had in our fridge)
1 green onion, thinly sliced
Place potatoes on a greased baking sheet or one lined with a silicone baking mat. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15 minutes on a rack centered in the oven. Place a pizza stone on the bottom rack while potatoes are cooking in order for it to pre-heat. While potatoes are baking, shape pizza dough and place on a pizza peel or piece of parchment paper sprinkled with corn meal. Drizzle olive oil on dough and season evenly with Italian seasoning and salt and pepper. Remove potatoes from oven. Increase the temperature of the oven to 500 degrees and move pizza stone so it is in the bottom third of the oven. Using tongs, place potato slices onto dough. Sprinkle with crumbled bacon and green onion. Top with mozzarella cheese. Slide pizza onto the baking stone and bake about 8 minutes. Remove from oven, allow to cool a few minutes before slicing. Serve with a side of sour cream. Makes about 4 servings.
Recipe from me!
Homemade Pizza Dough
1/2 C. warm water
1 envelope instant yeast (also called quick-rising)
1 1/4 C. water at room temperature
2 T. olive oil
4 C. bread flour, plus more for dusting work surfaces (NOT all-purpose flour)
1 1/2 tsp. salt
non-stick cooking spray or olive oil for greasing the bowl
Measure the warm water in a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle the yeast and let stand until the yeast dissolves and swells, about 5 min. Add the room temperature water and olive oil and stir to combine.
Mix the flour and salt in the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the liquid and mix until a cohesive mass forms. Knead at low-speed for about 5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic. Form the dough into a ball and put it in a deep oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours. Press down the dough to deflate it. Divide dough into 3 portions. Form each into a smooth round ball and cover with a damp cloth. *If you won’t be using the entire batch, wrap the dough balls in plastic wrap and place inside a freezer bag. When ready to use, take dough out earlier in the day to defrost in time for dinner. Let dough relax for at least 10 minutes before shaping into pizzas. Shape dough using your fingertips to stretch the dough into a round shape. Place dough on a pizza peel or piece of parchment paper sprinkled with corn meal. Brush with olive oil, add toppings, and slide onto a hot pizza stone preheated in a 500 degree oven for 8 minutes.