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Monday, June 4, 2012

Margherita Pizza with King Arthur Flour and Red Star Yeast

The latest challenge from Virtual Potluck was to create something amazing using some gifts from King Arthur Flour and Red Star Yeast.  I'm not much of a baker, so I knew I wasn't going to do any crazy breads (though I would like to experiment one day).  Instead I thought I'd make a pizza.  And not just any pizza, but a very simple yet delicious margherita pizza.  In my book, a margherita pizza should basically have three toppings: great tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and chopped basil.  After that, you're risking ruining the simplicity of the dish.  That being said, I thought I'd try something, just because it seemed right.  I also included an optional balsamic reduction with the recipe.  Use it to taste, if at all.  But tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, and balsamic does work really well together, so I thought it couldn't hurt!

Basic pizza dough, rolled out for 2 (12-inch) pizzas:
2 1/4 tsp Red Star Active Dry Yeast (1 package)
1 cup warm water (110-115 degrees F)
2 cups white whole wheat King Arthur flour plus more if necessary
1/2 cup semolina flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Pizza dough from above
1 can (28oz) San Marzano Italian tomatoes, drained of juices, sliced lengthwise several times
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, chiffonade cut
2/3 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced roughly 1/4 to 1/8-inch thick

Optional: Balsamic Reduction Drizzle

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cayenne pepper
(combine ingredients in a small sauce pan, simmer and stir until reduced by half and you have a syrupy consistency)

In a large bowl, combine yeast with water, olive oil, salt and stir well to proof. After 5 minutes, add half of the flour and mix well to thoroughly incorporate. Add all remaining flour and mix well with your hands. Transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead dough for at least 5 and up to 7 minutes, adding enough additional flour as necessary to form a smooth and elastic dough. Dough should not be sticky. Transfer dough to a lightly oiled 2 or 3 quart bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with a damp towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, usually at least 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees F and if you have one, place a pizza stone on the bottom rack of the oven.
Divide dough into 2 portions (for 2 (12-inch) pizzas) and form into balls. Place on a lightly oiled baking sheet and cover with a damp towel. Let rest for 15 minutes, then transfer to a lightly floured surface, shape as desired and roll out to a thickness of 1/4-inch.

Arrange the slices of tomato around the pizza dough, covering over half of it but leaving space in between each slice.  Place the slices of fresh mozzarella in between the tomato slices.  Bake at 500 degrees F for roughly 12 minutes, waiting for the outside of the crust to turn golden brown and for the cheese to bubble.  Remove from oven.  Sprinkle chopped basil on top of the pizza.  Allow the pizza to cool slightly, slice, and serve.  Drizzle the optional balsamic reduction over the pizza slices to taste.

Yield: 2 (12-inch) pizzas, serves 4

Margherita Pizza with homemade dough using King Arthur Flour and Red Star Yeast

Interested in winning some products from King Arthur Flour and Red Star Yeast??
I'll be giving away all of this to one lucky winner:
From KA flour: a dough whisk, a coupon for a bag of flour in the supermarket, and a special item!
From Red Star: 3 strips of yeast, a bread pan, apron and bread knife.

Want to win?  Make sure to like both King Arthur Flour on Facebook or Twitter as well as Red Star Yeast on Facebook or Twitter.  Then leave a comment about something you learn from visiting each company's website.  Bonus points if you learn something about the social responsibility of each company!