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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Pizza Snob

I don't think I mentioned in my 100 list, and I'm shocked that I didn't.. I'm a total pizza snob. There is only one pizza I'll eat, the kind my Aunt Ann taught me to make. Rarely I'll be forced to eat delivery pizza, but believe me, only if I'm starving and sooooooooooooooo tired that I can barely slave over a hot phone - and those times I mostly order Chinese or subs. I grew up on my Auntie's pizza. She is known throughout the land as the Pizza Lady and there are (seriously) dozens of kids that grew up in her neighborhood (and surrounding neighborhoods) that would show up at her house every Friday night for a slice or two of the thinnest, most delectable pizza EVER. Actually my sisters and I were the unfortunate ones. We lived across town and we didn't get to go to my Auntie's house every single Friday because of our restaurant. But my parents did manage to get us there often and even if it wasn't Friday, she'd make us her pizza. I love my Auntie soooooooooooooo much!! She's a wonderful lady that everyone loves upon meeting her once.

Two years ago, we made a date for her to teach me how to make the pizza. I felt especially honored, since she had taught no one else before me and so far, no one after me. And believe me, I take this pizza making stuff seriously. I keep plugging away and will continue to until I have mastered her pizza. The dough keeps getting better and better, but I don't think it's quite there yet - still needs a lil tweaking. My mother says it's there. Hubbs and friends of ours love it (but he nor they have ever had my Aunt's - so they don't count lol) but I'm not satisfied yet. I'm just going to have to keep making pizzas.. yep, it's a dirty job.. but someone's gotta do it. (gladly!)

Twins! before

You might think I've made a typo when you see that we use 3 packets of dry active yeast to 1 cup of water instead of the "normal" 1 packet to 1 cup of water, but I haven't. That extra yeast is what gives my Aunt's pizza it's distinctive flavor. Furthermore, you might be shocked to see that I don't put sugar in with the yeast nor do I put any salt or oil in the dough. I'm trying to stay as authentic to my Aunt's teachings as I can and she never uses any of those ingredients. She did not use fresh vegetables, herbs or garlic in her pizza sauce and she did not use a pizza stone, so this recipe might even sound a bit barbaric to some. But it's still the best pizza I've ever had. Granted, I can't help but want to experiment with ingredients and flavors - I've started a list already - but until I feel I've mastered her way, it's going to stay her way. Yanno? =)

Twins! After
Auntie Ann's Pizzas

For the Dough:
3 (1/4 oz.) packets of dry, active yeast
1 c. lukewarm water

4 to 6 cups of all-purpose flour (6 c. will make 6 thin pizzas, 4 c. will make 3 thin pizzas)
additional water

Dissolve the yeast in the 1 cup of water, let sit for 5 minutes.
If you have a stand alone mixer, use the bread dough hook and mix the flour with the yeast mixture, adding tablespoons of water as needed if your dough looks dry. Continue to mix until dough forms a ball.

Place dough ball onto well floured flat surface and knead for 5 minutes. Form into tight ball and put in a large, oiled bowl covering with a just damp clean kitchen towel (just drape towel over bowl, don't form it around dough). Place bowl in a warm, dry area. Let the dough sit and double in size (roughly 1 hour), punch the dough down and allow it to rise once again.

For the Sauce:
1 (29 oz.) can of tomato sauce
The rest of the ingredients are to taste, but here's what I used my last batch:
1 TBS. parsley
1 TBS. onion powder
1 TBS. garlic powder
1 tsp. oregano
2 tsp. basil

Simmer for an hour or longer, stirring occasionally.

Toppings:
Whatever your lil heart desires =)

Pizza1 after

To prepare the pizzas:
Preheat oven to 400ยบ F.

Grease your pizza pans with shortening. I'm talking the white lard Crisco type stuff. Oil can definitely be used, but I find spreading the dough goes much easier with something not so "slippery". Place a softball sized wad of dough in the middle of your pan and start spreading it out working it so that you are spreading from the middle to the edges. This causes less holes in such a thin crust. If you do encounter holes, either pinch them shut if you've got enough dough or add a little "dough patch" - but make sure you have no holes before you add your sauce.

Once you have the dough spread, place pizza sauce on top and spread it to about 1/2 inch from the edge (or you can be like me and "slip" every once in a while so that you get a lil burnt sauce on your crust :D ) then add your toppings. Always keep in mind, try not to overload your pizza, the thin crust won't get crispy if you do.

Place in preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Check your pies and if they look all golden brown and bubbly, they are done. Another step I take to see if they are done is I carefully slide a wide metal spatula underneath and lift the crust a bit to see if it's brown underneath near the middle. If it is, done - done - done =)

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Comments on "Pizza Snob"

 

Blogger Alicat said ... (4/25/2006 1:03 PM) : 

oooooooo Thank God for you Lis! You give me all the good authentic Italian recipes that I crave. hehe. I had two blah homemade pizzas recently and I just wasnt happy with the crust on them. I am gonna try these out! :)

 

Blogger Acme Instant Food said ... (4/26/2006 2:25 AM) : 

Thanks for the nice words on my site today Lis. You've motivated me to try this pizza technique. I'll try to follow it closely (which is hard for me to do as I have to improvise on almost any recipe I come across). However, I may well try it on my grill, which usually produces amazing pizzas. Cheers!

 

Blogger Lis said ... (4/26/2006 6:23 AM) : 

Hehe am glad to be your fix, Ali.. can't wait to see how yours turn out. You should definitely taste a difference in this dough =)

Kevin, that's why I instantly got hooked to your site. I like that you improvise and make recipes your own (and you're quite funny to boot!). I so look forward to hearing about how you make them on the grill.. sounds wonderful! =)

 

Blogger Rachel said ... (4/26/2006 7:34 PM) : 

yum!

 

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