If you read my 2 Amy’s post, you know that pizza is my absolute favorite food. Growing up, pizza was our Friday night treat, and more often than not, it was homemade. We always looked forward to Pizza Friday’s, and my mom always made the perfect pizza having the perfect crust! I’ve had many unsuccessful attempts at a homemade crust, but I finally perfected it after a lesson from my pastry arts chef, Brian Ross. Without getting into the scientific details, it’s the flour, yeast, and kneading that make all the difference. A high gluten flour gives pizza dough a chewier texture and gives the dough the ability to stretch and capture more air bubbles. Most grocery stores don’t sell “high” gluten flour. The closest I’ve found (and recommended by Chef Ross), is King Arthur’s Bread Flour. This has worked out great for me. As for the kneading, he explained to us (in much more scientific terms) that before the kneading process, your yeast is “straggly” in all directions. When you knead correctly (which I’ll try to explain in the recipe), you force the yeast into straight horizontal and vertical lines. In short, this greatly improves the texture of your crust as it rises. He also recommends using rapid rise yeast as opposed to regular, indicating that the only difference between the two, is that the rapid rise has a higher proportion of living yeast to dead yeast.
As for toppings, anything goes! Recently, I had a really fun pizza at Liberty Tavern, the “Vermont”, topped with caramelized onions, sharp white cheddar, sage, prosciutto, and granny smith apples. So, I recreated it at home with great results, as seen above. But, your toppings won’t really matter if you don’t have a solid crust. The crust makes the pizza! Although, my crust is nothing in comparison to 2 Amys (wish I could get my hands on that recipe), I still think it’s a hell of a good homemade version.