When I taught English as a Second Language, my students always knew that I’d draw a pizza on the board whenever they were feeling overwhelmed or frustrated with their new language.
“How many pieces can you eat at one time?” I’d ask.
The answers varied, but generally most people agreed that they could only eat at most a few pieces in one sitting.
‘And so it is with learning’ was how that message went. You have to pace yourself and be patient. You can’t eat the whole pizza at once.
Pizza is just such a rich source of metaphor.
And pretty much everyone (with the possible exception of my 87-year-old father who had a bad pizza experience in the 1940s) likes it.
It can be as simple as you want it to be, or as deluxe. You can serve it with wine or Koolaid.
It’s infinitely variable, and easy (and cheap) to make at home using this recipe for Fast and Easy DIY Pizza Dough.
You don’t need to build a brick wood-fired oven in your backyard for a ‘perfect’ crust. Your kitchen oven will work just fine.
Use rapid-rise yeast and you can preheat your oven while you mix up the dough and grate the cheese. Pop it in the oven when everything is ready and it’s faster than delivery. (Especially when delivery isn’t actually available in your rural community and take-out means driving into town and driving back while your pizza loses heat.)
You can save even more time by stirring up your dry ingredients in advance and just dumping them into your mixing bowl when you’re ready to cook.
If you have grated cheese in the freezer or fridge, you’re laughing.
If you have a mixer with a dough hook, you can just dump everything in your mixing bowl and power on. If you don’t have a mixer, this dough still take only a few minutes to make.
If you are used to using regular yeast, you’ll notice a couple of key differences when working the with rapid-rise version.
First, you don’t need to dissolve the yeast first: simply mix it as is to your dry ingredients.
Second, you will use hotter water than the lukewarm liquid you use with regular yeast. With rapid-rise yeast, you can use tap water than feels hot to the touch. But don’t worry- you won’t kill the yeast.
So give this pizza dough a try – the whole wheat and flax give good texture without making the dough heavy (and will add some fiber and vitamins in case that sort of thing matters to you).
- 1-1/2 cups / 375 ml all-purpose flour
- 1-1/2 cups / 375 ml whole wheat flour
- 1/4 cup / 60 ml ground flax
- 1 tablespoon / 15 ml sugar
- 1 teaspoon / 5 ml salt
- 1 tablespoon / 15 ml rapid-rise yeast or 1 envelope
- 1 cup / 250 ml hot water
- 2 tablespoons / 30 ml olive oil
- Cornmeal or extra flour for kneading
- Toppings of choice
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Sprinkle a 12 or 14-inch pizza pan with cornmeal.
Place all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, flax, sugar, salt and yeast in mixing bowl. Stir to blend.
Add oil to hot water and add to flour. Stir until dough starts to form a ball.
Sprinkle a clean, flat surface with cornmeal or flour, and dump dough onto the surface. Knead until dough forms a smooth ball (about 5 minutes).
(You can also use the dough hook on a stand mixer. Mix until the dough forms a smooth ball. This will only take a few minutes.)
Flatten dough and roll or stretch it to fit the prepared pan.
Let dough rise for 10 minutes, or while you prepare toppings.
Top your pizza and place it in preheated oven.
Bake for 20-25 iminutes, or until cheese is lightly browned and crust is puffy and browned.
Slide pizza from pan and let cool 5 minutes before cutting and serving.
If needed because the dough seems dry and is not forming a ball, add an extra tablespoon or two of water.