Last weekend, Bethany and I took the kids on the Whatcom Farm Tour. One of our stops was Cloud Mountain Farm, where I bought several bags of early apples. I can't think of anything more satisfying than biting into the first apples of the season. I love summer berries, melons, and stone fruits. But crisp fall apples with the leaves still on? I get giddy with all the possibilities. I made applesauce with Loretta's preschool class, open-faced sandwiches with apples, fig jam, and sharp cheddar, and have been stashing them in my purse. There's only one left in the produce drawer, so tomorrow is being planned around finding more.
But this pizza was the star. It's predictable by now that I say, "Yancey, this is the best pizza we've ever made." But I am serious this time. I am loathe to count all the squares I ate. At least six.
I continue to depend on this pizza crust, but have been adding more olive oil to the pan and on the crust before topping it. I'll try not to gloat too much, but my future oven will be able to fit a commercial full-sized baking sheet. The pizza mania will be unstoppable.
Best Pizza Dough
3-3/4 cups bread flour (or all-purpose)
2-1/2 tablespoons fast-acting yeast (2 packets)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1-1/3 cup water, room temperature (about 72 degrees F.)
Olive oil for the pans and stretched dough
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar. Add the water and, using a wooden spoon, mix until blended, about a minute. The dough might be a bit stiffer than other pizza doughs you’ve made. Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead for about 2 minutes, until it's smooth. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the dough has doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
Oil one 13"×18" baking sheet and one half that size. Use a bowl scraper or rubber spatula to scrape 2/3 the dough onto an oiled pan in one piece. Starting at one end, gently pull and stretch dough across the surface of the pan, and use your hands to press it evenly out to the edges.
If the dough sticks to your fingers, lightly dust it with flour or coat your hands with oil. Pinch any holes together. Repeat with the second smaller piece.
Proscuitto and Apple Pizza
It makes a regular baking sheet plus another half-size.
2 cups grated whole milk mozzarella
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
Several slices of proscuitto, shredded
Several handfuls of fresh spinach, chopped
2 cups thinly sliced apples, more if needed
Fresh thyme, chopped
Liberally oil your sheet before pressing the dough in, and liberally oil the dough before topping it. Spread mozzarella, crumbled blue cheese over crust. Top with proscuitto and fresh spinach. Arrange apple slices over everything, and sprinkle with fresh thyme. Bake till edges of crust are crisp and everything is bubbly, about 15 minutes.
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