Anna Thomas’ cookbook, From Anna’s Kitchen, has a great intro to her recipe for pizza dough. She writes, “This is the one for you to make when you’re ready for detente. You make it. They eat it. There’s peace in the house. It’s plain cheese pizza, the abiding favourite of my two sons.”
This could have been written by me, except that I didn’t pen a vegetarian cookbook in 1996 and my boys do love their meat, hence the bacon in the title of my post.
Anna’s pizza dough recipe is my go-to recipe whenever I make pizza. It’s incredibly simple, though when I was younger anything with yeast freaked me out. I don’t do much with yeast actually, as my husband is the breadmaker of the family, but I love my time making pizza dough and the ten straight minutes involved in kneading it at the start of the process. It’s very relaxing.
As the temperature has plummeted once again where we are, we had a fire in the Ironheart today, and the floor directly underneath it is a great place to put the dough in a bowl to leave it to rise. The shot above was taken just after I split the dough into two. Today when I rolled out our rounds, I scrunched extra dough around the edges, as the boys demanded a thick crust when they heard we were having pizza tonight. My husband and I prefer the usual thin crust, but there you go.
Bacon is an easy choice for our main topping as I can buy wonderful artisanal hormone-free bacon from Seed to Sausage (in Sharbot Lake, Ontario). This is the most delicious bacon I have ever tasted and I’m grateful that we can get it from The Piggy Market in Ottawa when we visit.
Finally, lots of mozzarella cheese goes on top.
Pizza dough by Anna Thomas (From Anna’s Kitchen)
120 ml (4 fl oz) milk
175 ml (6 fl oz) hot water
1 tbs dried yeast (or one envelope)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbs rye flour
450 grams (1 lb) unbleached flour
In a large mixing bowl, combine the milk and the hot water. Add the yeast to the lukewarm liquid, along with the sugar and the salt. Wait for a few minutes to see if it begins to froth, then stir in the rye flour and most of the unbleached flour. Stir until a thick dough forms.
Sprinkle the rest of the flour on a board or work surface and turn the dough out on to it. Knead the dough for 10 minutes, working in as much of the remaining flour as it wants to become smooth and elastic. Form the dough into a ball and put it into a lightly oiled bowl, turning it over once, then cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and leave it in a warm place to rise for about 45 to 50 minutes.
While the dough rises, prepare your sauce (I’m not including the sauce in this post, and for a quicker homemade pizza there are bottled tomato sauces that will do very well).
Lightly oil and sprinkle with cornmeal two pizza pans or large baking sheets. Preheat the oven to its hottest temperature (I find that 400F is quite sufficient), and be sure that one of the racks is in the lowest position.
Punch down the dough and cut it into two equal parts. Form each into a smooth ball. Take one of the balls and pat it, stretch it, roll it, and otherwise persuade it to be a circle about 13 inches across (a rectangular shape works too!). It will want to spring back at first, but it will comply, don’t worry. If it’s very stubborn, leave it to relax for 5 or 10 minutes. Do the same to the other ball, and lay the finished circles of dough on the prepared baking sheets.
Spread half the sauce over each circle (or rectangle), add toppings (such as our bacon) and then sprinkle with cheese. Bake on the lowest rack for about 12 to 14 minutes, or until the crust is lightly browned around the edges and the cheese is bubbling. For an extra-crispy crust, slide the pizza off the baking sheet and directly onto the oven rack for the last few minutes of baking (I always do this). Slice each pizza into wedges and eat while they are hot.