Friday Night Pizza Green - Our Daily Green

Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday Night Pizza Green

Our Daily Green spent the day doing several green and several less than green things, including, hanging all the laundry (that was washed with organic soap in cold water) out to dry, mowing the lawn, vacuuming and driving the kids to and from band camp, cross country, and more cross country. (I have one more trip yet today). These are the days when cooking is low on the list of priorities.

But before I say "Let's order pizza", I'm more likely to say, "Let's make pizza".

Pizza boxes, while made from cardboard, are NOT recyclable once they have been used. While the boxes are a lovely earth friendly corrugated cardboard, the grease from food ruins the paper and will contaminate the recycling process. Frozen pizzas are hermetically sealed in plastic then placed in cardboard and often, it's difficult to tell where the box ends and the pizza begins. Nevermind even trying to read the list of ingredients. Processed food is simply that... processed. It has ingredients designed to help the food maintain it's texture and flavor after being made, cooked, sealed, frozen and recooked.

Tonight's Dinner
Pizza may be my most favorite food on earth so there has to be an environmentally friendly solution. Naturally, it's to make it from scratch. The price and environmental footprint are lower and the flavor is higher.

I am going to share my easy easy pizza dough from scratch recipe with Our Daily Green's readers. I adapted it from a cookbook so long ago, I cannot remember where it originally came from, but just know that it's well worth the effort. The key point is to measure the temperature of the water and your crust will be perfect. I recommend investing in an instant read thermometer.

EASY pizza crust 
  • 1 packet of yeast 
  • 1 cup of warm water (between 105 and 115 degrees)
  • 2 1/2 cups of flour (you can use whole wheat)
  • 2 Tbl. oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water. Mix in the sugar, salt and oil. Pour yeast mixture into a well in the middle of the flour and mix well. Let crust rest 5 minutes. Knead on a floured surface, but don't overhandle the dough. Shape into crust and cover with your favorite sauce and toppings. I often toss handfuls of any leftover veggies onto my pizza, add fresh basil & tomatoes from the garden, and experiment with the types of cheese I use. A favorite is herbed goat cheese. 
Bake at 425 degrees on the bottom rack for 15-20 minutes.

A few other hints: oil the cooking sheet then sprinkle it with corn meal. That will really give your crust an authentic taste.

Top your pizza with whatever you like. I usually have a 3 part pizza, each section with everyone's favorite toppings. My daughter has watched me make it often enough that she usually makes the crust. (see, I don't have to cook!!)

In the time it takes to order a pizza or preheat an oven to cook a frozen pizza, you can make your own for less money, with fresh and organic ingredients, no packaging, and a quick cleanup.

What are your favorite pizza toppings?


Michael Solender said...

A couple more hints:

Use "bread flour" or high gluten flour vs. All pourpose, your crust will be more crisp and not doughy. I mix 3 flours for my pizza dough: Bread Flour (whole wheat white), whole wheat and a bit of semolina. I get a great cracker like crust.

I find I can't get my oven hotter than 500 and the best pizzas need flash cooking in super high heat. I have a gas grill with two burners - I heat that thing up for 1/2 hour full blast top down, then turn off the side I put my pizza on and that thing cooks in 10 minutes top down. I have a special pizza pan made for the grill with removable handle - they are cheap - like 10 bucks- the best pies though the one green momma Kim has here looks fab.

Kim said...

Michael, I'm inspired to get a pizza grill pan now! yum! and yes, I should have mentioned BREAD flour...

Anonymous said...

I recommend bread flour, too, and don't add sugar to the crust. If you can't find whole wheat bread flour, a mix of half all-purpose whole wheat flour and half white bread flour will work (although it's not quite as healthy as all whole wheat).

For baking, I use my convection oven as hot as it will go (475°) for 8 to 10 minutes and a pizza stone (which also works great for free form loaves of whole grain bread).

I think the key to the toppings is to use a few really good ingredients, in which case you can't go wrong whatever you choose. Fresh locally made mozzarella instead of bagged (or good goat cheese), fresh in-season vegetables, maybe just a little meat. In New Mexico, pepperoni with fire roasted green chiles is a favorite.