February 15, 2018 by sandyaxelrod 0 Comments (Edit)
Is there anyone out there who doesn’t like pizza? I didn’t think so.

Holy Shiitake Pizza from Mellow Mushroom
Photo Credit: Sandy Axelrod
Steve and I love pizza. We have tried many versions and loved most of them. Growing up in Philly our favorite pizza joint was Rizzo’s which was actually in the suburbs just a few minutes from where Steve and I lived when we first got married. It was your typical red checkered tablecloth kind of Italian restaurant with really good thin crust pizza. And when we went to Atlantic City for the summer it was Tony’s Baltimore Grill for a once a week pizza fix.
As we have matured and become more adventurous eaters we have experienced a variety of pizza toppings ranging from white pizza with 3 cheeses to pizzas topped with chicken or seafood. Lucky for us California Pizza Kitchen opening in Wellington coincided with our kitchen being renovated so we regularly brought home a Thai inspired pizza with chicken and peanut sauce. After that Dean Anthony Pizza opened in Wellington and we found that our favorite was their clam and bacon pizza.

Shrimp and Peperoncini Flat Bread Pizza
Photo Credit: Sandy Axelrod

Clam and Bacon Boboli Pizza
Photo Credit: Sandy Axelrod
So that last one has become our all-time favorite and since Dean Anthony is no longer in our area I had to take drastic measures and make my own at home. No easy feat because the most critical element is the crust. For some reason I was a bit apprehensive of making my own pizza dough from scratch so I tried using frozen dough first. Meh. Then I tried the dough from Publix bakery. Also meh. I just couldn’t get it to stay thin. It just kept shrinking back. And once topped and baked it was too thick and doughy. I even tried Bobby Flay’s dough and grilled the pizza which was pretty good but somehow not exactly what I was looking for. So I gave up on making my own crust and used a thin crust Boboli. Not a bad option at all until Publix stopped carrying it, that is. I even tried using a Flat Out tortilla wrap for crust but that was actually too thin. So we were back to take out; our favorite being the Holy Shiitake from Mellow Mushroom.

Mushroom Pizza from JoJo’s at the Jersey Shore
Photo Credit: Sandy Axelrod

Pepperoni Pizza from JoJo’s at the Jersey Shore
Photo Credit: Sandy Axelrod
On Sunday Steve and I were catching up on Worst Cooks in America and they were learning to make pizza. By the end of the episode we were craving pizza!!!
At that point I decided I needed to try my hand at pizza dough once more. I am an accomplished chef. This is certainly something I should be able to master. If the worst cooks in America can do it surely I could do it too.

Tomatoes and Basil with Salt and Pepper Chefs
Photo Credit: Sandy Axelrod
I remembered that I had Roberta’s Cookbook on my Kindle app so I quickly looked up their recipe for Pizza Dough with Store-bought Yeast. I did make a couple of alterations because I needed to. It called for a 50/50 blend of 00 and regular flour and all I had was the regular flour. I also worried that my yeast wouldn’t work because it had an expiration date that had passed but only by 3 days. But even with these issues the pizza crust was fabulous! And when topped with a bag of grated 6 cheese blend from Publix, clams, dry Italian salami, lots of fresh minced garlic, salt, pepper and Italian seasoning it baked up to be the pizza of my dreams. And the best part is that I have another dough ball in the freezer for our next craving. The bad news is that we were so anxious to dig in to our pizza that I never took a photo of it. Sorry. Next time.
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PIZZA DOUGH

Great pizza dough adapted from Roberta’s Cookbook recipe for Pizza Dough with Store Bought Yeast.
Author: Sandy Axelrod
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 5-7 minutes
Total Time: -25448594.483333 minute
Yield: 2 – 12-inch crusts
INGREDIENTS
2.5 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon good quality olive oil
1 scant cup lukewarm water
INSTRUCTIONS
Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer and make a well in the center. In a separate bowl combine the yeast, olive oil and lukewarm water and mix thoroughly. Pour the wet mixture into the well of the dry mixture and combine with your hands, gradually pulling more and more of the dry mixture into the wet until incorporated. Let rest uncovered for 15 minutes to let the flour absorb the moisture.
With the dough hook attachment knead the dough for 3 minutes. Flour your hands and work surface and divide the kneaded dough in half and gently shape into 2 balls. Cover with a damp cloth and let rest and rise for 3-4 hours. (If not using both balls wrap well in plastic wrap and freeze.)
Preheat the oven and pizza stone to the highest temperature. I went with 500º F.
Lightly flour you hands and using your fingertips push down on the dough to remove any bubbles and then continue to push down on the dough from the center outward to encourage it to spread out. Flour your hands again and gently toss the dough back and forth between your hands turning it as you go to allow the dough to stretch into a 12-inch round that is about 1/4-inch thick; or the thickness you like best. Place on a floured pizza peel and top with your favorite toppings. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil before transferring it to a preheated pizza stone to bake for 5-7 minutes.
NOTES
Do not put olive oil on the pizza dough before putting on the toppings!!! Do so makes for a soggy crust and doesn’t allow the flavors of the toppings to infuse in the crust.