Rugged Dude Pizza

Rugged Dude Pizza

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t LOVE pizza… but, many people (me included) are tired of all the national pizza chains.  After a while, they all seem to be the same.

I really love the homemade “ma & pa” places that make pizza the way it should be, the old way; rustic and delicious.  Sadly, the private, family run pizza shops are dying off for one reason or another.  This is such a shame.

Where I live, there are no pizza shops anywhere near my house.  I live so far back in the bush, that there’s no delivery service anywhere that would bring me a pizza for less than $100!  So, if I’m ever in the mood for a pizza, I either have to drive all the way into town or simply make it myself.  And, if you think I’m driving 45 minutes each way for a pizza… well, I don’t love pizza quite that much!

A few years ago I started to experiment with various pizza dough recipes and I came up with one that is very simple and at least for me, always works.  I go a little over board on the yeast compared to some recipes I’ve seen, but I like a light crust.

This recipe is more about tips to make your life simpler when you make a pizza, rather than precise ingredients.  Follow the ingredients for the dough, but for the sauce and toppings – have at ‘er and don’t be afraid to experiment a little bit.

Dough

This recipe will make enough for two 15 inch thin crust pizzas.  I like a bit more “meat” on my dough, so I use about 2/3 of it on one pizza and use the rest for twisty breads or bread sticks.

Ingredients : 

  • 3 tsp dried yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 3 1/2 all purpose flour

Get ready to get messy!

In a small bowl, add the yeast and sugar to the warm water.  Mix it up a little and let it sit for about ten minutes.  You’ll see the mixture begin to bubble and froth up a little on the surface.

While you’re waiting for the yeast to work its magic, put the flour and salt in a large bowl.  Mix the ingredients.

In a small bowl, mix one egg and the olive oil.

After the yeast has sit for eight – ten minutes, make a well in the centre of your bowl that contains the flour and salt.  Slowly add the liquids, eggs and oil included, and mix with a wooden spoon or your hands until the liquid is basically mixed with the flour.  This shouldn’t take more than a minute or so.

Dump the dough out onto a floured counter top and begin to knead the dough.  Continue for 8 – 10 minutes until you have a smooth elastic-like dough.  Some pastry chefs say, “smooth as a baby’s bottom.”

Wipe olive oil on the inside of a medium bowl and place the dough in it.  Cover it with a clean cloth.  A dish towel works well, just make sure it’s big enough to cover the bowl.  Turn on your oven just until the light comes on.  This should be around 120 – 130 F or so.  Or, if you’re like me and don’t have an electric oven, place the dough somewhere warm.

Place the dough in the oven (or any warm place) and let it rise for one hour.  It should be doubled in size when you check it after an hour.

Sauce

This recipe will make enough for two pizzas.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 – 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 – 5 1/2 ounce can tomato paste
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp dry basil
  • 1 tbsp dry oregano
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 3 cloves of minced garlic
  • A dash of hot sauce or a pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

Do it…

In a medium saucepan, heat the ingredients slowly and mix with a hand blender or heavy whisk.  Tomato sauce has a tendency to splatter, even at low heat, so keep the heat down and use a lid.  Just heat the sauce up for about ten minutes or so.  This will help the flavours blend.

While you’re waiting for the dough to rise, get your toppings cut up and grate your cheese.  Mozzarella works great, but if you have another favourite, like provolone, go ahead and use it.

If you’re going to use things like pepperoni or bacon (my faves!), I recommend that you slice the pepperoni quite thin and fry it up a little bit.  This will get rid of some of the fat, plus, crispy pepperoni is SO good!  Definitely fry your bacon otherwise it’ll be half raw when you take the pizza out of the oven.

Whatever toppings you decide on, get them ready now.  Keep slices of veggies thin.

After the dough has risen for an hour, remove it, punch it down and place it on the floured counter top.  Cut it in half if you like a thin crust, or use your discretion on how thick you like your crust to be.

Use a rolling pin to form the dough… then fold it half, then in half again.  You should now have a piece of dough that resembles one quarter the size of the round pizza pan.  This will help you to get the dough onto the pizza pan without falling apart.

I like to bake my pizza on a pizza stone.  They are inexpensive and they work great!  Brush the stone with a little bit of olive oil and sprinkle just a bit of corn meal on it.  This prevents the pizza from sticking, but it also helps the crust to cook to a nice crispy texture.

Using a fork, poke a bunch of holes all over the dough to help steam escape during the cooking process.  Pizza shops use one of those roller things that poke holes in the dough, but I forget what they hell they call them.

Assemble your pizza, starting with the sauce, the cheese and last, the toppings, keeping the bacon or any other meat for the top.  This way, it’ll crisp up nicely for you.

Bake your ‘zza at 450 – 500 F for about 15 – 20 minutes.  Keep an eye on it… If you like, just near the end, you can turn on the broiler and crisp up the top.  Careful not to burn it.  note – Pizza shops often bake their pizzas at 750 F, so don’t be afraid to crank your oven… high!

I normally slide the pizza onto a large wooden board.  Let it sit for a few minutes otherwise it’ll fall apart and make a mess when you cut it.

“Pound ‘er Down!”

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Comments

  1. Rugged Daughter says:

    This looks amazing! I will have to pick up the ingredients needed and give it a go. And I know, the tip on frying the pepperoni first may sound pretty simple, but I never would have thought of doing that!

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