Pizza a la Jim
Jim Tuttle – Mount Dora Historic Inn
Recipe type: Entree
There is nothing more gratifying than taking a recipe from thought to fruition; and then sharing the final outcome with people you love. Better yet, love to be around.
- 1 package of dry active yeast
- 1 teaspoon raw sugar
- 1 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F.)
- 3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons Sea Salt
- 1 tablespoon Classic olive oil, plus more for brushing
- My toppings today are: Italian sweet sausage—casings removed, cooked and drained, fresh basil (julienned—cut into thin strips), fresh tomatoes, scallions, garlic & mushrooms; and hand-grated provolone & ricotta cheese,.
- Lightly-Sauté your garlic, scallions and mushrooms with a little salt at the very end of the cooking process. Never salt mushrooms until they give off their moisture.
- Method for making the dough:
- • In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and honey in ¼ cup of the warm water—allow this mixture to sit for about 5 minutes to proof. If the mixture does not become bubbly then you have tired yeast and need to start over.
- • In a large bowl combine the flour and the salt.
- • Add the remaining water, oil and yeast mixture then using a wooden spoon mix by hand until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl—about 10 minutes.
- Note: The pizza dough can also be made with a Stand Mixer using the dough-hook attachment. Dissolve the yeast as above. Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of your stand-mixer. Mix for a few minutes then add the remaining ingredients (including yeast) and on low-speed allow the dough to mix until it comes away from the sides and gathers around the dough-hook. Continue as below.
- Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead by hand 2 or 3 minutes longer.
- At this point your dough should be smooth and firm.
- Cover the dough with a clean, damp towel (not terry-cloth).
- Place in the warmest area of your kitchen (I use the top of my fridge) and let it rise for 30 minutes.
- By now the dough will have softened and be very giving to your touch.
- Divide the dough into 2 balls, about 12 ounces each.
- Work each ball by pulling down the sides and tucking under the bottom of the ball. Repeat this process 5 to 6 times.
- Place dough on a smooth clean surface (I use a marble cutting board) and roll the ball under the palm of your hand until the top of the dough is smooth and firm; keep the shape of the ball, though. This should take no longer that 1 minute.
- Cover the dough with a damp towel and let it rest for 20 minutes longer.
- Dip each ball of dough into flour, shake off the excess flour.
- Place the dough on a clean, lightly-floured surface, and begin to stretch the dough from the center outward; while rotating the dough in a clock-wise fashion. Continue this process until the dough balls are roughly 12 inch pies. The outer edge should be a little thicker to contain your toppings.
- Your dough is now ready!
- Method for cooking the dough:
- Take a large pizza stone (30 inches) and place it on the middle oven-rack; then preheat the oven to 500º F.
- Brush the entire surface of the dough with Classic Olive Oil (never use virgin or extra-virgin olive oil for high-temp cooking—Sorry Rachael) then arrange the toppings in the following order: ricotta (toss it on, it’s fun! Or you can spoon it on), sautéed mushrooms/garlic/scallions, fresh tomato, julienned basil leaves, sausage and top with provolone –not too much as you already have ricotta.
- Using a lightly floured rimless flat baking tray or a floured baker’s peel (if you are going to be doing pizzas on a regular basis I recommend this), slide the pizza onto the baking stone and bake until the pizza crust is golden brown and your cheeses are bubbly, about 10 to 12 minutes.
- Transfer the pizza to a firm surface and cut into slices with a pizza cutter or sharp knife—preferably an arched edge, so you can rock the knife to cut. Rock like “rocking a baby” not rock and roll; although that would be cool too.
- Serve immediately and finish the dish with a nice salad—I added my mom’s homemade ranch dressing for the salad; so this one is special!