Baking is one of those luxurious activities I said goodbye to after my baby. I feel like I never have time to bake, and when I do have sprinkled minutes of free time, I tend to fill it with the more practical needs of living. Baking is not a practical need of living, at least not anymore. But there is something satisfying about baking–the slow process of the task, the kneading, the time waiting for it to rise, the smell of it baking in the oven.
And of course eating your goods, a hot piece of bread slathered with butter, an afternoon cookie packed in a picnic, or homemade pizza, best enjoyed with the best parmesan you can find and cheap wine.
Friday night pizza night is a lapsed tradition for my husband and I. Every Friday we used to make homemade pizza–a marker for the end of the week and beginning of the weekend. Sometimes it would just be the two of us, but often we would invite people over– close friends or new acquaintances. We’d pull out every possible topping from our fridge and pantry and get creative–diced pineapples, shredded beets, fresh mint, drizzled olive oil, leftover sausage and cheese–piles and piles of cheese.
An informal carousel of a dinner–one pizza in the oven, one being sliced & shared, another one being rolled out on the counter ready to be topped.
By the end, hours have passed, and the kitchen is a pile of dishes all dusted in flour like a light snow.
This past weekend I decided to make my homemade pizza dough again. The motivation came from a recent conversation with some other tired mamas of infants and toddlers. One woman remarked that what we need to regain energy is not physical rest but creative stimulation.
Do the things you enjoyed before children, or even when you yourself were a child–painting, or walking, or writing, or perhaps baking.
So here is my first weekend bake, a series I hope the continue and document, starting with the easiest and most delicious pizza dough. Enjoy.
RECIPE // from River Cottage Every Day
Makes 4-5 individual pizzas
1 2/3 cups all purpose flour
1 2/3 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 1/2 instant yeast
2 tablespoons olive oil
Combine flours, salt and instant yeast. Add 1 1/3 cups of warm water plus oil to the flour mixture. Mix to form a rough dough then turn out onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until dough is silky and elastic. Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl and let rise till doubled in size–about an hour.
Punch dough down on a floured surface and tear into 4 or 5 pieces. Roll and stretch each piece to 1/4 inch thickness.
Sprinkle baking sheet with flour or cornmeal and lay dough on top. Add topping and bake for 10-12 minutes at 475 degrees until edges are golden brown & crispy.