Desperate for Dough

by Andie Mitchell on July 27, 2010

Lately all I’ve been craving is donuts. Funny that the pictures above and below these words are of pizza. Not quite fried, sugar glazed, dough, but as my mom likes to tell me “You can’t always get what you want.” Or was that The Rolling Stones?

Krispy Kreme won’t do. Neither will any other chain of yeast cakes. I’m looking for a small, hometown-type, owned-by-that family-down-the-street spot. A real nook of a shop where old men go in the six o’clock a.m. hour for a cup o’ joe and an old fashioned dough round.

Maybe it’s this current dough fascination that led me to bake pizza recently. Not something I typically do. I much prefer to go out for pizza- to leave the pie making to the masters and the brick ovens. Let the chef  mound mozzarella on my olive oil drizzled crust without looking, or thinking twice about what my arteries are saying as they meet sausage, pepperoni, and ricotta. All good things I imagine.

Inevitably, though, I’ll find myself at the market faced with fresh handmade mozzarella and basil. Sister isn’t going anywhere without the two. So I buy it and swear I’ll make a homemade pie. Only the leaves wilt and the mozzarella…well that gets eaten. But not on pizza.

But this past weekend, when I saw what seemed to be the perfect little package of whole wheat pizza dough at my local market, I knew it was time to crank up the heat of my oven to ungodly temperatures. I divided the pound of sticky dough into four balls, stretched them out into small circles and made individual pies. Two classic margherita and two topped with peppers, onions, and mushrooms. Both featuring a simply spiced tomato sauce, slices of whole milk mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil.

Delicious. Crisp, gooey, fresh, and satisfying. But the donut craving? It’s still there. I’m envisioning a deep fryer in my future.

There’s not much of recipe to write, but here is the procedure I use to make individual pizza pies:

Stretch out your dough into small rounds on a lightly floured surface. I like to use a large cookie sheet to do this part because the lips of the pan keep the flour contained- less mess. I made four circles from a 1 pound ball of whole wheat dough. All in the name of portion control.

Preheat your oven to 450°. If you don’t have a pizza stone, place a wire cooling rack on top of a roasting pan (I lined it with foil and poked holes through the foil for ventilation). This will allow your pizza to crisp on all sides.

Bake the dough for about 8 minutes so that the crust can crisp up a bit and you can prevent sogginess when the toppings are plopped on top.

Pull your par-baked dough out of the oven and spread with tomato sauce (canned crushed tomatoes or jarred sauce is fine), followed by a generous sprinkling of dried oregano and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Now pile on your toppings. I used sliced peppers, onions, and mushrooms on two of the pizzettas. Top with cheese- I used a ball of fresh whole milk mozzarella that I sliced into thin disks.

For the margherita pizzettas, I used only sauce, halved sugar plum tomatoes (outrageously sweet and delicious), and slices of fresh mozzarella.

Bake two of the pizzas simultaneously (side by side) for about 10-12 minutes, until the crust is golden brown and the cheese is melted. Do not bake pizzas on both the top and bottom oven racks. They will not crisp as well.

Remove your pizzas from the oven and garnish with fresh basil. I also like to brush my crust lightly with a touch of olive oil and then sprinkle it with garlic powder and salt for flavor.

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman July 27, 2010 at 10:55 am

You’re my hero. The only time I tried making pizza it was a massive fail because the dough was so gooey on top. Ick. It tasted doughy too. Genius–cook the dough first so it’s crispy, then top and cook.

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Lisa @ Endeavorous July 27, 2010 at 11:00 am

That looks amaaaazing. Great tip to pre-bake the dough for a bit before adding the toppings — I always seem to have a problem with the cheese starting to burn before the dough is cooked.

Re: donuts, I saw some deliciously airy ones on Food Network this weekend, served with homemade cranberry jam. I think I’m craving donuts now too!

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Can You Stay for Dinner July 27, 2010 at 11:06 am

Good Lord- cranberry jam on the donuts?!? Amazing! Let’s make some

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Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday July 27, 2010 at 11:06 am

I love making dough, but never make pizza. My husband actually makes a mean pizza pie.

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Amanda- The Nutritionist Reviews July 27, 2010 at 11:07 am

That looks so good! When you use fresh mozzerella like that, does it melt/taste the same as the regular shredded kind?

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Can You Stay for Dinner July 27, 2010 at 11:09 am

Yes, it’s creamier actually. But press the fresh stuff a bit with paper towels because it’s much moister and you don’t want wetness on the crust or you’ll end up with sog city.

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Kelly July 27, 2010 at 11:10 am

Wow your homemade pizzas blow mine out of the water. Yum.

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Brittany July 27, 2010 at 11:17 am

MMM! I’ve always wanted to make pizza, but it intimidates the crud out of me! I think I’m starting to build up some courage ;)

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Shanna, like Banana July 27, 2010 at 11:27 am

Oh I loved donuts growing up. My family would tell me I’d turn into one and be doughy and round. That didn’t give me a body complex ;)

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Leah @ Why Deprive? July 27, 2010 at 11:29 am

Those look so good!! Ive been craving pizza for a couple days and now I think its pretty clear what I need to make! :)

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Erica July 27, 2010 at 11:29 am

I love homemade pizza :) Grilled especially. And fresh mozzarella is a must. Looks fantastic. I’m not much for doughnuts, but I am all for pizza!

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Cindy July 27, 2010 at 12:21 pm

and now I know how to handle my dough next time I make pizzas.

THAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANK you queen of all things amazing in the kitchen!

you have officially single handedly helped improve my cooking (and baking) this past year!

can’t wait now for pizza night!
MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM
xo

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Christine @ Grub, Sweat and Cheers July 27, 2010 at 12:32 pm

ahhhh good tip…I definitely should have pre-baked my dough when I made pizza last week…was way too ‘bready’

now go get yourself a donut!

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Jessie (Bites and Pieces) July 27, 2010 at 1:13 pm

A good pizza is all about the crust, everything else comes second. I’m definitely in a pizza mood after seeing this! :)

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Can You Stay for Dinner July 27, 2010 at 2:06 pm

I agree with you! Crust is the foundation- if that’s not right, we might as well scrap the whole thing. Ok, we can eat the cheese off first…

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Tina July 27, 2010 at 1:17 pm

After having Dutch Monkey Doughnuts (which is exactly like the shop you described) I will never go back to a mainstream donut. So much better when it is made so fresh and with such care.

I’m only craving a Dutch Monkey after this post. And that says a lot since normally I see pizza and drool.

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Can You Stay for Dinner July 27, 2010 at 2:04 pm

Tina, can you believe that I’m still thinking about your Dutch Monkey that you featured so long ago?!? I’ll never forget it. I blame you for this current obsession!

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Lu July 27, 2010 at 1:28 pm

What a fabulous idea on how to cook the dough. I love it. I had a craving for pizza the other day and I whipped some up, the crust left much to be desired and now I’m sure it’s because I didn’t cook it the right way. However, I did manage to sneak in some spinach so I still get brownie points. Your food, as always, looks amazing.

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Can You Stay for Dinner July 27, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Thanks, Lu! The spinach on your pizza sounds like a great idea- I love the way it wilts. And you know I’m bananas and love it for the green color it adds in the presentation.

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Devaki @ weavethousandflavors July 27, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Oh Lordy, Andrea that looks amazing! I think on my last legs, my hubby will have to push me down to the pearly gates in a wheel barrow eating a pie just like this one.

BTW, I have given you a shout out on my latest post so I hope you will stop by for a peekaboo :)

Ciao, Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

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Can You Stay for Dinner July 27, 2010 at 5:48 pm

You are a miracle,Devaki. Your bars look divine! I’m so happy that you made them, and they’re delicious with real chocolate chips- good call!

Thanks for always making me feel good!

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Anne Marie@New Weigh of Life July 28, 2010 at 7:36 am

The pizza looks delicious! I’ve been in the mood for some dough myself!

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Kelly July 28, 2010 at 8:21 am

YUM! Fresh mozarella on pizza is BEST!!!

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