Pizza Party

One of our favorite family dinners is pizza. I think everyone loves pizza, it is so versatile, it's fairly easy to make, and the topping combinations are endless. When I heard Bread Baking Day was having a Pizza Party for their 2nd anniversary, I just had to bake along :)

BreadBakingDay #21 - Pizza Party and giveaways for 2 years anniversary - last day of sumbission July 1st

Lately I've been trying lots of new crust recipes, some with semolina flour, all purpose, bread flour, etc. but I'm still having the best of luck with this recipe, which is super easy to start in the bread machine and easily doubled. I recently bought a pizza stone and have been using that for an extra crispy and crusty crust, we have a double wall oven and the smaller bottom oven is not used that often so the stone stays down there, which works out great.

I have a pizza baking 'system' that I've come up with -- I usually bake my pizza on a pan (cookie sheet) and then slide it off of the sheet right on to the oven rack for the last couple of minutes and turn on the broiler to brown the topping. That has worked out the best. The first couple of times I used the pizza stone the top was underdone in my opinion, while the crust was a little too crusty. So I've gotten to the point where to get pizzas just perfect I start on the pan, bake almost completely, broil for a minute to get the top "well done" -- then slide the pizza into the lower oven on the pizza stone for a couple of minutes to crisp up that bottom. It sounds like a lot of work, but really it's not that bad, and it makes the absolute best homemade pizza I've been able to come up with. I'm always getting compliments, and even my super picky husband loves my pizza, although we of course disagree on toppings :)

My old basic pizza sauce started with tomato paste, but lately I've fallen for San Marzano tomatoes, and am experimenting with different brands to find my favorite. My last order of San Marzanos were DeLallo Organic, with the controversial DOP stamps on the label.

These tomatoes are wonderful, they do contain basil, which some San Marzano fans say masks true flavor, but I like basil and don't mind the extra big leaf packed with my tomatoes. Below is a photo of exactly what you get in a can of DeLallo San Marzanos. Yum! I would order this brand again.

To make a simple sauce with the San Marzanos, I just mash they gently with a potato masher, add a touch of sea salt and a touch of sugar. Sometimes I add some minced fresh basil, as well as roasted garlic for a deeper sauce flavor.

I'm also a fan of white pizzas, which I've heard refer to both pizzas with an alfredo sauce or pizzas with no sauce or just olive oil. This one is a Greek inspired white pizza...

topped with Halloumi -- one of my favorite cheeses, thanks to many trips to Greektown when I was younger -- and also crumbled feta and sliced jumbo black olives, drizzled with olive oil and baked. So delicious!

My husband doesn't like black olives or tomatoes, but prefers a more traditional American pizza with lots of cheese and pepperoni. The kids love pizza nights and making their own creations, and are getting more adventurous with their toppings, which is always nice for me to see. Pizza night is fun night around here!