Every few months I make a trip to Findlay Market and Jungle Jim's in Cincinnati to restock my freezer with meats and restock the pantry with pure cane sugar grape soda. Why in the world would I drive a little over an hour to buy meat and soft drinks? It honestly is not that far for me, considering it takes me 30 minutes just to get to the grocery store from my house and I drive about 45 minutes one way to work. The justifying reasons are as follows: the meat I purchase comes from fabulous butchers and is always better quality/better prices; the Market is a fun place to hang out at and nosh on yummy nibbles; Jungle Jim's is an adventure in itself; and I go with friends so it is social time as well.
This past weekend was a Findlay run weekend. We shopped, made a trip back to the car to unload into coolers, then walked back for some more shopping and lunch. My friend and I shared a brick oven cooked white pizza. The pizza planets were in alignment and the taste bud tempters hit a home run. It is oh so good! Tuesday night I set out to replicate it at home, minus the brick oven (darn it) and by George, I think I've got it!!
I made a half batch of my go-to pizza dough (below is the full recipe):
1-1/4 cups warm water (100 to 110 degrees)
2 packages dry yeast
1to 1-1/2 tablespoon honey
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cups flour
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Combine the water, yeast, honey and olive oil in bowl of mixer fitted with dough hook. Let it sit for at least 5 minutes, or until very frothy/foamy. Add 3 cups flour and the salt. Mix on low speed. While mixing, add up to 1 more cup of flour to make a soft dough. Knead with dough hook and mixer set on low for 10 minutes. Sprinkle dough with flour as needed to keep it from sticking to the bowl. Place dough in a well oiled bowl, turning to coat the dough with oil. Cover the bowl with a towel and allow it to rise at room temperature for 30 minutes.
While dough is rising, preheat oven to 500 degrees. Place pizza stones in oven to preheat.
I wanted to have a thin, crispier crust, so even though I only used a half recipe, I split the dough again to make 2 pizzas. Being very careful with the smoking hot pizza stones, stretch the dough on each stone. I use a small pastry roller to help (and so my fingers stay unscorched).
Drizzle a small amount of olive oil on the stretched dough, spreading with a pastry brush. Crack fresh pepper on the dough and lightly sprinkle with kosher salt. Fresh herbs would be better, but none were in the kitchen, so dried it was. For each pizza, crush about a teaspoon of dried rosemary and sprinkle, then lightly sprinkle with dried thyme and garlic powder (fresh minced garlic would be better, but I was feeling lazy). Top with roughly 1/2 to 3/4 cup each of fresh grated parmesan and mozzarella. (be sure to allow the fresh mozzarella to drain well before using to avoid weeping of liquid). Bake for 7 minutes or until crust is golden and cheese is bubbly.
I dare you to try to stop yourself from eating the whole darn thing yourself!
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