I am starting a new series “The Real Wendy” taking a fast food style recipe and making it deliciously homemade. In 2014 Pizza Hut began its line of “Artisanal” pizzas meaning the dough is hand tossed trying to achieve a more authentic pizza. As a child Friday night was always Pizza Hut night, so it was fitting that I made an artisinal pizza for a Friday night in Ohio.
Roasted Tomato Pesto Pizza
Once again I am on the mission to make a great pizza at home. This time I made the dough for the crust which hit the spot. I preheated the oven at 500 degrees with the pizza stone in the oven for an hour before cooking. In this case I did not put enough toppings on the pizza, as the last time I was left with a soggy mess. My toppings included a homemade pesto base, mozzarella, tomatoes, and mushrooms which I perorated and added after cooking. I did not use fresh mozzarella as last time it was too wet. This would have been perfect if I added a bit more pesto and cheese, but worthy of a post.
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
Place a pizza stone inside you oven on the middle rack. Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F. You most definitely need a pizza peel for this – or at least something to easily transfer your dough to your stone ( used a rimless cookie sheet.
In a large bowl, mix together the water, yeast and honey. Let that sit and get foamy, about 10ish minutes. During that time, I like to get out all of my pizza ingredients and measure them out – because this dough doesn’t have to rise! For the above pizza, I used pureed crushed tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, a little crushed garlic and fresh basil leaves. You want everything measured out and ready to top so you can quickly transfer the dough to the stone.
After 10 minutes, stir the flour and salt into the yeast mixture. Stir until the dough comes together, first using a spoon and then using your hands. If the dough is REALLY sticky, use a little more flour until it becomes silky, adding 1 tablespoon of flour as needed. Flour your workspace and knead the dough a few times with your hands. Let it sit for 5 minutes.
Roll the dough out as thin as you possible can – at least 10 inches. If the dough keeps springing back, let it rest another 5 or 10 minutes. Flour your pizza peel VERY well. To transfer the thin dough to your peel, I gently and quickly fold the dough in half and then in half again, pick it up, and unfold it on the floured peel. Quickly add your toppings – your sauce and cheese and what not. Remember, with this thin crust it is best to not do tons of heavy toppings. Work quickly so the dough do not stick to the peel.
Open the oven and gently slice the pizza from the peel to the stone – I use a spatula to help if needed. Bake the pizza for 10 to 15 minutes – just keep and eye on it since the oven is so hot and stones can differ. It will be done when the crust is crispy and cheese is golden.
Remove the pizza by sliding it back onto the pizza peel with the help of a spatula. Let the pizza cool for a few minutes before slicing.