For the last seven years we have had the privilege of knowing the Blauch family. Andy and Debbie Blauch (pronounced bl"ow"k (ow as in wow)) are another homeschooling family with whom we attend church. They are also the founders of our local, bi-annual "Heritage Ball" that we enjoy so much. Our kids have grown up together and we love them dearly.
The Blauch family
A tradition we adopted from the Blauchs is their "Pizza Friday". We have devoured the Blauch pizza on more than one occasion, and quite frankly, it is some of the best pizza we've ever had. Debbie has the technique down to a science and somehow manages to pull off this weekly event without it looking as though a bag of flour exploded in her kitchen. Even though we had attempted homemade pizza in the past, I had avoided it because it was such a messy project. The Blauch pizza was so delicious, however, that I had to rethink my avoidance. In addition to their more traditional recipe, Debbie also makes an additional batch of a gluten-free variety for one of her six children as well. I hope to be able to share that recipe soon.
Since my husband has Mondays off from work, our pizza day is different. We indulge on Mondays rather than Fridays. We also only do this every two weeks, rather than weekly. The Blauchs also use more consistent toppings. They usually stick with cheese and pepperoni (although once Debbie made a fabulous broccoli and chicken combo too!) We Wands can't seem to do anything the same way twice. Yesterday, we made a double batch for lunch leftovers (that is why there are two bowls in some of the pictures). Here is our adventure.
One batch makes three standard-sized pizzas or four thin-crust pizzas.
They bake at 400 degrees. Counting "wait time", it will take a little over an hour for dough to be completely ready for toppings.
6 tsp. yeast (2 tablespoons)
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
6 cups flour
1 1/2 tablespoons oil (plus a little more to coat dough)
Assorted pizza toppings of your choice
Combine 2 tablespoons of yeast with 2 cups of water. Smile for the camera.
Stir. Let sit for 5 minutes.
Go find boy again. Review the difference between teaspoons and tablespoons and compare with half teaspoons and half tablespoons. Review with boy too. :)
Add 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar.
Add 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
Add 1 1/2 cups of flour.
Stir. Let sit 10-20 minutes.
After 10-20 minutes, it will look like this.
Find boy again. Put apron on boy. Add 4 1/2 cups flour.
At this point, we transferred our mixture to a larger bowl. Then we added 1 1/2 tablespoons oil.
Work together into a soft dough. If it seems a little dry, wet hands as needed. Try to remember if boy washed hands.
Gently rub ball of dough with oil and let rise for 45 minutes.
Start preparing those toppings.
Emily dices the peppers and the onions.
After Sammy chops the bacon and Italian sausage, Harrison fries the bacon.
We also had spinach, mushrooms, ground venison, Italian sausage, and pepperoni.
Our dough after 45 minutes.
Ask husband with part-time Pizza Hut experience from twenty years ago to roll out dough and press onto pizza pans. Admire him as he throws the dough high into the air. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Debbie uses spaghetti sauce to coat the dough. I was able to stock up when it was on sale. She also sprinkles a generous amount of Parmesan cheese underneath the mozzarella which gives the pizza a more intense flavor.
One of the benefits of making your own pizza is having control of your ingredients and their quality. The guys love the Italian sausage. The girls - not so much. Emmie and I like spinach and Sammy and I like mushrooms. We were able to make everyone happy. My daughter, Hayden is a bacon monster.
Some "before" pictures.
Place a couple of pizzas in the oven for ten minutes at 400 degrees. After ten minutes, switch positions of pizza onto opposite racks to ensure more even baking and bake another ten minutes. You may need to bake up to an additional 5 minutes if you use a lot of toppings like us!
Some "after" pictures. We eat our pizza on paper plates for easier clean up. After all, there are pizza pans and bowls to wash!
Plenty of leftovers to refrigerate or freeze
Some other yummy pizza ideas:
- Enchilada pizza (We used leftover enchilada filling and topped finished pizza with lettuce and a dollop of sour cream)
- Use alfredo sauce instead of red sauce and top with chicken and veggies.
- Make a dessert pizza . We baked a plain pizza crust for ten minutes to give the crust a head start. After ten minutes, we removed pizza and topped with mini chocolate chips and marshmallows. We baked it for another ten minutes and then drizzled caramel (in the ice cream section) over the top when it finished baking. It was AMAZING. You could also top one with pie filling!
- Use dough for calzones. I also saw Anne Burrell on Food Network run her pizza dough through a pasta machine to get it super thin, cut it into triangles, season with spices and cheese, and bake as crackers for dipping into a homemade garlic dip. The choices are endless!
But we urge you, Brethren, that you increase more and more; that you aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.
1 Thessalonians 4:10-12