Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Spinster in the Kitchen: Pizza - sometimes size matters

I love pizza.  If I had to pick a perfect food I think pizza comes pretty close.  It comes in an infinite variety of flavors, it can be paired with nearly any adult beverage, for the cost of a tip, it will be delivered to your door nearly any time of day or night and it is completely acceptable to answer the door in your pajamas! What isn’t there to like about pizza?

The fact is that sometimes, there is such a thing as too big.  Even a 12 inch pizza can leave me facing the prospect of eating pepperoni pie for more than two breakfasts, and while I do let my spinster flag fly high, eating cold pizza after three days brings me just that much closer to changing the name of this blog to Jane the Dude, My Transformation from Spinster to Maiden-Bachelor.

So where does this leave a solo living pizza loving woman?  You could buy those pizzas for one in the grocery store with their skimpy amounts of cheese and pea sized bits of vegetables or you can be a self sufficient super spinster and make your own. 

Breathe now.  Really homemade pizza is not difficult.  The only thing you are making from scratch is the crust and not only that but you won’t just be making one pizza crust, you will be making enough dough for FOUR spinster sized pizzas.  And better yet, you get to top them with whatever you like....pepperoni, hot peppers, extra-extra cheese, artichoke hearts, cat food (just making sure you are paying attention). So get ready!

This recipe is my favorite pizza dough recipe.  I have been using it for years and it is loosely based on a recipe originally meant to make two twelve inch crusts.  You will be quartering the dough, likely cooking one pizza right away and saving the rest for later.  It will result in four 8 – 9 inch pizzas. To store the dough in the freezer you will need quart size and/or gallon sized zipper storage bags depending upon if you will be freezing the dough or preparing and freezing mini-pizzas.

Optional: Cyndi Lauper’s “12 Deadly Cyns…and Then Some,” a bottle of your favorite wine and an approximately 90 minute spinster appropriate flick (i.e. lots of things get blown up or it’s black and white and stars Humphrey Bogart).

Spinster Jane’s Favorite Pizza Dough

Mix together:

2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/3 cup warm milk
1 tablespoon honey

Allow this mixture to sit until the yeast is dissolved.  Depending up on the temperature of the milk and your kitchen this will be about 5 – 10 minutes.


2 tablespoons olive oil
3 ½ cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sea salt

(If you’d like to make an herbed crust you can add 1 tablespoon of your preferred dried herb – oregano, garlic powder or basil all make great additions)

Mix by hand until the ingredients are blended.  If the dough is too wet you can add a bit more flour (about ¼ cup).  The dough should be well blended after just a few minutes.  When the dough becomes smooth and elastic turn it out of the bowl onto a floured surface. 

With floured hands knead the dough for approximately 10 minutes (this is the about as long as the first three songs of Cyndi Lauper’s “12 Deadly Cyns…and Then Some”). 

When the kneading (and kitchen booty shaking) is done, find a large bowl and pour in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil.  Plop in your beautiful ball of dough, flip it once to make sure it is well coated with olive oil, cover the bowl with a towel and then leave for about 1 ½ hours.  That’s about enough time for your average action movie so pour a glass of wine and relax. 

By the time the end credits begin to roll across the screen the dough should be about doubled in size.  Remove the towel covering the bowl, make a fist and punch the dough down a few times.  Turn it back out onto a floured surface and give a bit of kneading love.  Then with a sharp knife cut the dough into four equal pieces.

At this point you have the following options. 

A) After all of this dough making, the glass of wine and the adrenaline rush from my favorite explosion filled, aliens attacking action film, I’m generally in need of food so I roll out one quarter of the dough into about an 8 – 9 inch approximation of a circle, top it with my favorite pizza toppings and bake it in 425 degree oven for about 12 – 15 minutes until the crust is golden brown. 

B) Now as for the remainder of the dough I usually take at least one of the quarters, shape it into a ball, spray the inside of a zipper storage baggie with a bit of olive oil and freeze it as is.  When I want pizza I take it out, let it thaw and proceed with option A.

C) The rest I roll out into 8-9 inch pizza crusts which I then carefully slide them into a one gallon zipper baggie.  While in the baggie I top it with sauce, cheese and whatever else I might like on a future pizza (yes, you will have plenty of room to do this in the bag).  Then I zip it shut and place it on a plate (this helps it keep its shape in the freezer), put it in the freezer and wait an hour or so after which I remove the plate.  When, on some night after a day of classes or a Saturday morning when I’m just too tired to cook, I put my frozen pizza delight on a cookie sheet, put it into a cold oven, turn the temp to 425 and cook for about 15 – 20 minutes until the crust is golden brown.  The crust will rise while cooking. 

And there you have it folks.  Pizza, the perfect spinster food.  Yes, I know it comes minus the possibility of flirting with the cute pizza delivery driver while wearing your best flannel PJs, but hey, with this you don't even need to wear pants!!


1 comment:

  1. so I like the recipe, for the milk sometime try subbing a half bottle of pumpkin head. trust me .