Ready, Set, Weekend with The Garden of Eatin'

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Stop right there….I see you dialing the phone. It’s time to try making your own pizza! Honestly, this is fun to do and trust me, it’s going to taste much better than the cardboard box style you are used to. With a little effort and some simple ingredients there really isn’t anything as good as homemade pizza dough with some cool toppings. But first, let me give you a brief history lesson on Pizza. It has always been a common belief that Italians invented pizza, but its origin goes back to ancient times in the Middle East. Babylonians, Israelites, Egyptians, Armenians, Greeks and Romans, and other ancient cultures ate flat, unleavened bread cooked in mud ovens. So what’s on your pizza? According to the Huffington Post, here is a list that made the top ten: 1. Pepperoni 2. Mushrooms 3. Onions 4. Sausage 5. Bacon 6. Extra cheese 7. Black olives 8. Green peppers 9. Pineapple 10. Spinach I like to veer away from the norm when I’m being creative with pizza so I jacked up mine with habanero cheese, heirloom tomatoes, mixed greens and feta last weekend. Let’s start with the dough. I’m going to share 4 versions to suit your needs. SPELT DOUGH 2 ¼ cups whole grain spelt flour 1 package active dry yeast 1 cup very warm water – about 130F 1 tbls extra virgin olive oil 1 tsp honey (or agave for a vegan version) 1 tsp granulated sugar Pinch sea salt Combine 1 ¼ cups of flour, yeast, sugar and salt in a bowl. Pour in the warm water and olive olive oil. Mix together and let it sit for about 10 minutes to proof. I use my stand mixmaster with the dough hook but you can do this by hand as well. Stir in the remaining cup of flour and work it in until you have a smooth and elastic dough, about 5 minutes. You may need to add a little more flour to get the right consistency. Cover the dough and let it rest for at least 20 minutes while you get your sauce and toppings ready.

WHOLE WHEAT DOUGH Same recipe as above but substitute whole wheat flour for the spelt and increase the amount of flour to 2 ½ cups.

GLUTEN FREE DOUGH – adapted from Robin Hood Flour: 1 ¾ cups Robin Hood Nutri Flour Blend – Gluten Free 1 package instant quick rise yeast 1 tsp sugar 1 tsp salt ¼ tsp xanthan gum 1 ¼ cups warm water 1 tbls olive oil Whisk together flour, yeast, sugar, salt and xanthan gum in a stand mixer. In a measuring cup mix water and oil. Turn mixer to low speed and gradually pour water mixture in. Beat on medium for 4 minutes with dough hook. Set aside to let rise and proof, about 30 minutes.

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THE GOE’S FAVORITE PIZZA DOUGH 1 package quick rise yeast 1 1/3 cups warm water (about 130F) 3 ½ cups of unbleached all- purpose flour 2 tbls extra virgin olive oil 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt 1 tbls granulated sugar 1 tbls honey In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a dough hook attachment, combine the yeast and warm water. Stir it around and let sit for 5 minutes until the yeast is foamy. This stage is called PROOFING the yeast. Add flour, olive oil, salt, honey and sugar. Mix by hand or with the dough hook on low speed for about a minute. Turn the speed to medium low if you are using a dough hook and knead for about 7 minutes. You can do this by hand as well on a floured wooden board with a little elbow grease. If your dough is way too sticky, don’t be afraid to add a little flour. Your dough should be smooth and elastic. Now take your finger and give it a poke (just like the Pillsbury Dough Boy except this dough doesn’t giggle when you touch it). If it bounces back, you are ready to let it rise. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a large mixing bowl which has been coated lightly with olive oil. Turn the dough around and around in the bowl to coat all sides. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise. Here’s a trick. Preheat your oven to 200F. Stick your dough in the oven. Now turn your oven OFF and keep the door slightly open. This will create a nice and toasty environment for your dough to rise in. You are going to let it rise for about 1 to 2 hours. Close the oven door after the first 30 minutes. The dough should be doubled in size. Now comes the fun part. PUNCH IT DOWN with your fist. Ya…punch it baby. This will release the air in the dough. Divide into two, form into balls and put in two separate bowls, lightly covered for about 15 minutes. Preheat your oven to 400F – If you have a convection oven that’s the perfect temperature, if not, kick up the heat to 425F. Take your dough and press into a pizza pan, baking sheet or onto a pizza stone. I like to coat my pan with salted butter but you can use any oil and even sprinkle it with some cornmeal. Just lightly grease it so the dough doesn’t get too wet from the oil. Once the dough is flattened out, spread on some tomato sauce, sprinkle with shredded cheese and your choice of toppings. Bake for 22 minutes or until nicely browned.Note: IF you really don’t want to make your own dough and you are in a rush, pick up a fresh one at your local bakery. I have an amazing Italian Bakery near my office that makes the best dough in the world. Just hang up the phone……I can see you ya know. See ya next week! Debi @thegardenofeatin