"Pizza's the kind of food that draws everyone to the kitchen. Everyone can take part." - Deborah Madison
"The beauty of pizza democracy is its simplicity" - Pete-za Pete-za
I'm on a journey. A journey to the perfect pizza. To me, the perfect pizza is cheap and easy to make at home. All of its ingredients are easily found in your neighborhood. And compared to all chain pizzas, its healthier and tastes better.
Tonight, I begin by establishing a standard pizza dough.
2 tsp active dry yeast 3-4 cups flour 2 tbsp olive oil 1.5 cups warm water salt A warm place Patience Pizza stone - To form the crispy and chewy crust Pizza peel - To slide pizzas safely in and out of the oven Pizza party
Combine 1/2 cup of warm water with yeast in a mixing bowl. Stir to prevent yeast from clumping. Let stand for 10 minutes. It should be foamy and cloudy.
Add olive oil, 1 cup of warm water, some salt, and beat in 2 cups of flour with a wisk.
Add flour 1/2 cup at a time and mix with wooden spoon. Keep adding flour until dough forms a ball, but is still moist and shaggy.
Turn dough onto lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth, adding flour to keep from sticking to your fingers. The dough should still be moist.
Put the dough in a bowl that has been coated with olive oil. Turn the dough over to make sure all sides are coated with olive oil (this prevents the dough from drying while it rises).
Put the bowl in a warm place and let it rise for an hour. It should double in size.
Return the dough to the floured surface. This recipe makes enough dough for 2 or 3 pizzas. IF you're only making one pizza, cut your dough in half or thirds, place the left-over dough in a freezer bag for use later.
Knead the dough on the floured surface, adding flour as needed. You need to "feel out" the proper even consistency and texture. When the dough feels ready, begin forming a circle. I never use a rolling pin to flatten the dough. Rolling pins pop the tiny air bubbles that are important for texture.
Stretch the dough by holding the edges of the dough circle and rotate swiftly. Let gravity stretch the dough. I also use my fists to stretch out any thick dough spots in the middle.
Return the dough to the floured surface and smooth out any thick spots and form the circle. Put cornmeal and flour on the peel and place the dough on the peel. Brush olive oil over the dough.
Add your sauce, toppings, and cheese. and slide carefully onto the stone. I've screwed this step up many times, ruining hours worth of work. With enough corn meal on the peel, the pizza should slide off easily. A soggy pizza will stick to the peel and slide on to the stone in a mess.
Over the past several weeks, I've been reviewing the presidential candidates' stance on corporate pizza reform. I was disappointed by how guarded the candidates were with this issue.
I believe all of the Democratic candidates understand the problems with corporate pizza lobbyists. These lobbyists work to keep Americans bloated with high calorie, low flavor pizza that is frozen from a factory or delivered to your door from some chain pizza restaurant that can't provide any nutritional value.
The situation continues to worsen each day the pizza lobby has a friendly face in the white house. "Supermarket sales have increased more than 60 percent during the past five years, with 2006 sales topping $3.3 billion, officials from the National Frozen Pizza Institute said." (Washington Times March '07). We truly need a candidate whose loyalties are with the Grassroots Pizza Movement.
Hillary claims to have a 3 point plan to get healthier pizza to Americans, I'm still yet to see such a plan. Before Edwards dropped out, he proclaimed the urgent need to keep pizza factories open and their workers employed, however we have a firm stance against factory pizza. My search for a candidate ended last week when I learned that the Junior Senator from Illinois, Barack Obama hosted a pizza party at his campaign offices in May 2007.
Apparently Barack eats his slices two at a time, starting with the crust (seepicture above). This clear dedication to pizza is why I am officially endorsing Barack Obama for president. In standard Barack fashion, he eloquently explained the importance of the Grassroots Pizza Movement, “If you had a whole pizza, and your friend had no pizza, would you give him a slice?”. Yes we would Barack, yes we would.
It is my firm belief that the current economic crisis in America can be attributed to the low-quality, high-price, corporate lobbyist pizza crooks who prevent millions of Americans from eating high quality, affordable, healthy pizzas every day. Frozen pizzas in supermarkets, and chain pizza restaurants are ruining America. Enough is enough.
Control your own pizza destiny.
It is our duty as loyal, honorable American citizens to take power away from the corporate pizza crooks and put it in the hands of everyday Americans who are more than capable of making their own delicious pizzas.
Stand with me to restore the pizza democracy in America our forefathers wrote about a long time ago.
This blog is intended to restore our faith in democracy through the teachings of homemade pizza and all things politically and culturally related to pizza.