Basil · Breads and Crackers · Cheese · Mushrooms · Pizza

Herb Crust Pizza – One Crust, Many Toppings

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I made a bunch of pizzas last night.  Just for fun, I added some dried herbs to the dough. 

Here's what I used for the dough:

5 tsp dried yeast, dissolved in

4 cups warm water in the bowl of my 6-quart stand mixer.

After the yeast softened and started to bubble, I added

10 cups all-purpose flour

5 tsp salt

1 heaping tsp each dried oregano, dried thyme, and dried basil

Mix at second-slowest speed for about 5 minutes.

(If the dough is still sticking to the sides of the bowl, add more flower, about a quarter cup at a time, til the dough comes away from the sides.)

Turn dough onto a lightly flowered surface and knead the dough into a ball.  Flatten slightly, and cut into 8 pieces.  Pour some olive oil into a large bowl.  Shape 8 pieces of dough into balls and place in bowl of oil, turning each ball to coat with the oil.  Pour a little more olive oil over them – you want them to be lightly covered with the oil.  Let sit for half an hour or so in the oil.

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While the dough rests in the oil, preheat the oven and prepare the toppings.

Preheat the oven to between 450-500 degrees F. 

Toppings are entirely up to you. 

Here's what I did with mine.

Well, first of all, before I'd even made the dough, I started making a sauce, because I didn't have any canned in the pantry.  I used two small containers of roasted tomatoes from last summer and a 28 oz can of plum tomatoes and their juice.  I also used about half a cup of chianti (what was left in the bottle) and about a tablespoon of fresh oregano I'd frozen in olive oil last summer.  I'd also put in about 8 smashed cloves of garlic.  And some salt and pepper.  And I let that cook down for a while – til I'd made the dough.  Then I put the sauce mixture through a food mill and then back on the stove for a little while longer.  I skimmed some excess olive oil off the top and tasted it – just needed a bit more salt.

Alex and Julia each made their own pizza.

Alex's – as always – some sauce, just a little cheese and an even distribution of pepperoni.

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For Julia, I'd sauteed some mushrooms and some minced shallots…

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When she made her pizza, she spread out a generous layer of sauce…all of her alotment of cheese plus the cheese Alex didn't use, and poured her bowl of mushrooms right on the center of the pizza.  She topped the mushrooms with a bit of Alex's leftover sauce, and then ate the restspooned the rest of it into her mouth.

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After the kids had made their pizzas, they left, and I got to play.

I'd bought a pound of fresh mozzarella, and I tore that apart while I was cooking the sauce…

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I minced half a shallot and sauteed that with a big handful of baby arugula leaves…

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…and then I stirred in about a quarter cup of pureed basil and olive oil (from last summer) that had been in the freezer.  And then I stirred in the last of a container of ricotta cheese – maybe 3/4 of a cup or so.  And then I was happy.

Next pizza – half of the arugula/basil/ricotta mixture topped with torn mozzarella.

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And then…sauce, a whole lot of shredded (pre-packaged) mozzarella, and the rest of the mushrooms.

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And then…sauce, a lot of shredded (pre-packaged) mozzarella, and plenty of pepperoni.

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And then the other half of the arugula/basil/ricotta mixture, a little parmesan, and a generous sprinkling of red pepper flakes.

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Last two…

First – simple one – just sauce and both the shredded (pre-packaged) AND the fresh mozzarellas.

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And finally – my favorite of the bunch – pre-packaged mozzarella, then the last of the fresh mozzarella, a tablespoon of minced shallots, and a little can of smoked oysters.

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Of course, 8 pizzas was far more than we needed for dinner last night, and that's the whole point of making that many.  Lunch the next day.  And a late night snack the day after that.  And lunches for everyone when Monday rolls back around.

So go – make some pizza.  Be creative.  Have fun!

6 thoughts on “Herb Crust Pizza – One Crust, Many Toppings

  1. Tracey – what a nice thing to say! I find myself trying to be better in the kitchen, too, just so I don’t look like a moron when I post things!

  2. I’m not sure if my last comment made it through or not, so I apologize if this gets to you twice!

    Do you think you could sub WW flour for the AP flour?

    How would you go about making these & freezing them for later use.

    Thanks!!

    Jen

  3. I’ve replaced some of the flour with whole wheat and it comes out very nicely, but I’ve never replaced all of the AP. The whole wheat flour creates a heavier product, and the bits of bran that remain in the whole wheat flour can cut the gluten strands that develop in the dough. Now, granted, with this particular pizza crust, there isn’t a ton of gluten development going on, so that may not matter as much as if you were making loaves of bread, but still – you want some of that stretchiness so you can work the dough easily. If it’s all whole wheat, the dough might be more apt to tear. You could do it, of course, but you’d need to handle it more gently and carefully when you go to stretch it out and make the actual pizzas.

    As far as freezing – you can go ahead and just freeze the dough after you knead it and it should thaw nicely and work just fine. I’ve never made the crusts and then frozen them mainly because I don’t have enough freezer space for whole pizza crusts. But if I wanted to do something like that, I’d follow the whole recipe and then bake the pizza crusts for 10-15 minutes, let them cool, and freeze on parchment-lined sheet pans first, and then when the pizza crusts are completely hard, wrap them tightly in plastic and then foil and stack them in your freezer.

    Hope that helps!

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