I consider myself a bit of a pizza connoisseur. I'm a huge fan of pan pizza, it's my personal favorite, but I'm not fanatical about. I am fanatical about pizza, though. When I first made my very own pizza from scratch late last year, it was what really kicked me into high gear in terms of learning to cook better. I was like, "Wow, this pizza kicks Pizza Hut's ass." And I grew up on Pizza Hut. I took a business trip to Chicago while I was seven or eight months pregnant with Baby, and he sure loved the pan pizza at Gino's, as did Mommy. When I realized I could cook as well, if not better, than some of my favorite restaurants, I began reading cookbooks, scouring the Internet, you name it, in search of the best recipes. I've been really successful with a lot of them, as you all have seen. This particular recipe I'm going to file as a "dud." It was really not the best pizza. Not by a longshot. If you want the best pizza recipe, click here. Skip reading this one. But, for those of you, who like me, are learning more about cooking, feel free to read on.
I found this recipe on Cook's Country, which I really like a lot. Normally, I really enjoy their recipes, although I definitely reject some upon first glance if I don't care for the ingredients. This pizza seemed innocuous, just a larger version of my usual pizza with two major ingredient differences - more yeast in this pizza and it uses water instead of milk. I think what I really didn't care for about this pizza was the use of parmesan cheese on the pizza in addition to the mozzarella. I'm a mozzarella girl. That, and the parmesan goes on before the pizza sauce, which I found then didn't spread very well at all. So, if I ever bake this pizza again (and I might, if I have to feed a crowd), I would skip the parmesan. Oh well, at least I got to send my mother home with beaucoup leftovers, so I know she'll eat well for the next few days. She really liked it, by the way. She's a big parmesan fan - so I guess if you're a parmesan fan, copy this recipe down and give it a shot. In case you're interested in giving it a go, here is the recipe.
Sheet Pan Pizza
adapted from Cook's Country
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 3/4 cups water, heated to 110 degrees
1 tablespoon sugar
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 envelopes instant or rapid-rise yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
3 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 200 degrees. When oven reaches 200 degrees, turn off oven. Grease a large bowl. Evenly coat 18-by-13-inch rimmed baking sheet with 1/4 cup oil.
2. Combine (warmed) water, sugar, and remaining oil in measuring cup. In bowl of standing mixer fitted with dough hook, mix flour, yeast and salt on low speed until combined. Increase speed to medium-low and slowly add the water mixture, until dough is uniform in texture, about 3 minutes. Transfer dough to prepared bowl, cover with plastic and place in warm oven. Let rise until doubled in size, about 30 minutes.
3. On lightly floured work surface, use rolling pin to roll rough into large rectangle. Transfer dough to prepared baking sheet and stretch dough to cover pan, pressing dough into corners. Brush dough with a little bit of olive oil, and cover with plastic wrap again. Set in warm spot (not oven) until slightly risen, about 20 minutes.
4. Remove plastic wrap and, using fingers, make indentions all over dough. Springkle dough with 1 cup Parmesan and bake until cheese begins to melt, 7-10 minutes. Remove baking sheet from oven and spoon sauce over pizza, leaving a 1-inch border. Bake until sauce is deep red and steaming, 7-10 minutes.
5. Sprinkle mozzarella cheese and remaining Parmesan evenly over sauce and bake until cheese is golden brown, about 12 minutes. Remove pizza from oven and let rest 5 minutes. Serve.
I will say this: it sure is pretty...
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