Thursday, 28 March 2013

Bread Machine Pizza Dough


It's Easter weekend!  We, The Bookworm Family, get to look forward to a big family get-together to celebrate Easter as well as the return of my 'Snowbird' parents who have been trying this 'retirement' thang down in Florida for the past 10 weeks. 

We have an obscenely HUGE prime rib roast and all the fixin's planned for Saturday and all 10 grandkids are eagerly awaiting to see their grandparents and play with their cousins.  My sisters, brothers-in-law, Brad and I are looking forward to relaxing while the kids play and listening as our parents regale us about their adventures with their elderly brethern on the Gulf coast.  Our parents, with their tanned skin, will, no doubt, make our skin tones look like we're sickly creatures devoid of any melanin.

With a big family meal on the horizon I'm not normally in the mood to make a big supper too close to the Big Eats.  My fat pants can stretch but not THAT much and I'm just plain tuckered out in prep work for the big feast. This is where homemade pizza comes in handy. 

Homemade pizza is one of those meals that I keep in my back pocket for times when
  • I want to make a meal the entire family will eat without complaining (what a novel idea!)
  • sneak in some veggies to my unsuspecting spawn (you can easily throw in some diced fresh spinach as pass it off as 'spices' or really finely chop a red pepper and throw it in the sauce)
  • I want to have an easy meal that doesn't require a lot of time or effort from me. 
Using a bread machine makes it even easier to make pizza dough.  If you can measure ingredients and push a button you've got this bread machine thing covered, my friends!  Plus, why buy pizza dough when you can make it at home and add the spices you'd like for a fraction of the cost?  And why would I mix and knead by hand when I can get my machine to do it for me?  Yes, I'm frugal and lazy!

Pizza can either be fairly healthy or ghastly on your bod.  There's really no middle ground.  Which type of pizza you make all depends on what you put on it and how thick you make the crust.  And, let's face it, it's an excellent way to use up those veggies whose days are numbered in your fridge.

At the end of the day, pizza is one of the most versatile meals you can make.  While my kids prefer a rather simple (read 'boring') pizza I like to fancify the pizza for Brad and I from time to time.   I'm not a fan of pepperoni but I do adore caramelized onions, sun-dried tomatoes, slices of BBQ'd chicken, mushrooms, peppers, feta and/or goat cheese. Oh, delish!  Limiting the pepperoni , sausage and bacon, increasing the veg-factor and rolling your dough nice and thin can make it a very healthy and delicious meal option.

This is a recipe that I've used for over 15 years now.  With a couple of spice additions and some flavouring on the outer crust it brings to 'zza to a whole new level!

Happy Easter!!

Bread Machine Pizza Dough
Inspired by: Black and Decker 'All-in-One Automatic Breadmaker' Operating Instructions and Cookbook' (pg 27)

1 cup beer or water
1 tbsp shortening
1 tbsp white sugar
1 tsp salt
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp dried oregano (optional)
1/2 tsp dried basil (optional)
1 1/4 tsp yeast

Crust Edge:
olive or grapeseed oil
garlic powder
salt and pepper
fresh Parmesan cheese, finely grated

{Note: The crust edge in the picture above does not have these delicious crust additions on it}

Measure ingredients and place them into your bread machine's baking pan in order (ensuring that the yeast doesn't come into contact with the beer/water).  Insert baking pan into your bread machine and select the Dough setting (mine usually takes 2 hours for its Dough setting).

Once the cycle is almost complete, preheat oven to 425F.  Remove dough from the machine onto a lightly floured surface.  If necessary, knead a little flour into the dough to make the dough easier to handle.

Roll out dough and place it onto your baking pan/stone.  {Note: I always just roll out my dough directly on my cold baking stones to make it easier}

Lightly brush the outer edge of the crust with olive or grapeseed oil.  Sprinkle garlic powder, salt, pepper and fresh Parmesan cheese onto the outer edge of the crust. (Optional but highly recommended)

Top each pizza with sauce, toppings and cheese.  If using good quality baking stones (which, in my world, is Pampered Chef brand), set your oven racks to the second lowest setting.  Bake for 15 minutes.  Pizza will be done when the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly.

My favourite pizza toppings: onions, green pepper, sliced sun-dried tomatoes (oil-packed), feta cheese, black/green olives, bacon, mushrooms, Marble cheese and fresh Parmesan

Yield: 2 large thin crust pizzas

Note from The BBW: I was in no way paid for my endorsement for Pampered Chef baking stones.  My love of their products stems from my personal experience with their products for over 10 years.


2 comments:

Beth said...

Let me go back to point #1: a meal that everyone will eat without complaining. That doesn't happen often!

Laurie@The Baking Bookworm said...

Don't I know it, Beth!! ;)

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