The thing about being retired is you don’t get a day off. There are no long weekends or vacation days. So, I decided I would make my own holiday to celebrate and do what I want. I called my first day off work Retirement Day and I celebrate it every year.
Every special occasion deserves a traditional meal. I decided on homemade pizza and I go to a little extra effort to make the crust just the way I like it and get topping I wouldn’t normally buy. I call it my Celebration Pizza.
I make a crust with a mixture of whole wheat and all purpose flour and use a longer rise than I do with my regular quick pizza crust. It takes a bit longer but gives a better result.
I put the warm water in the bowl of my stand mixer and add the yeast. I let it sit for 5 minutes.
I add the rest of the ingredients and put the dough hook on. I mix with the dough hook until a ball forms on the dough hook and then continue to knead with the dough hook for 7 minutes.
I took the dough out of the bowl and greased the bowl with olive oil. I put the dough back in the bowl and turned it to coat it with the olive oil. I covered it and let is sit until doubled in size, about one hour.
You can tell the dough has doubled by pushing two fingers into it. If the indentations stay, it has doubled. If the indentations slowly fill, it hasn’t doubled yet.
Knead the dough on a counter a couple of times to get any large bubbles out. If you are using the dough right away, cover it with a towel and let it sit for 20 minutes.
I you will be using the dough later, wrap it in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge or up to 24 hours.
When you are ready to cook the pizza, preheat the oven to 475 F for 30 minutes. It is important that all surfaces in the oven are preheated to get a good texture.
Press the dough into a disc and then stretch or roll it to the size of a 14 inch pizza pan. Spray the pizza pan with baking spray and put the dough on it. Pinch up the edge of the dough to make a raised rim. Brush the dough with olive oil.
Spread the pizza sauce around the crust and add your favourite toppings. You can put different toppings on each half of the pizza to suit differing tastes.
We put capicola on both sides. I put a high quality Italian pepperoni on my side. She Who Must Be Obeyed likes lots of mushrooms and we both like green peppers.
Cover the toppings with shredded mozzarella cheese. If you have fresh tomatoes, they make a great topping on a pizza. Put them on top of the cheese and the heat makes them dry out a bit and gives them an intense tomato taste.
Bake the pizza on the lowest rack of the oven until the crust is golden. Slice and serve.
The Quick Pizza I posted earlier is great for a weeknight or when you are in a hurry. This pizza crust is a little more bother and takes longer to make but I believe it has a superior texture and taste. I really like this home made version and it is the official meal of Retirement Day!
The Old Fat Guy
- 7 ml (1 1/4) teaspoon quick rise yeast
- 150 ml (2/3 cup) warm water
- 140 grams (5 ounces) all purpose flour (285 ml (1 1/4 cups))
- 70 grams (2.5 ounces) whole wheat flour (140 ml (1/2 cup))
- 15 ml (1 tablespoon) olive oil
- 3 ml (1/2 teaspoon) salt
- 8 ml (1 1/2 teaspoon) granulated sugar
- 15 ml olive oil
- baking spray
- 15 ml olive oil
- 250 ml (1 cup) pizza sauce
- your choice of pizza toppings
- 375 ml (1 1/2 cup) grated mozzarella cheese
- 1 medium tomato, sliced thinly
- Put the warm water and the yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Let it sit for 10 minutes and stir the mixture.
- Add the flour, whole wheat flour, 15 ml (1 tablespoon) olive oil, salt and sugar.
- Attach the dough hook to the mixer and turn it on low until the dough starts to ball on the dough hook.
- Scrape the bowl and turn the mixer on low and knead for 7 minutes.
- Take the dough out of the bowl and grease the bowl with 15 ml (1 tablespoon) olive oil.
- Put the dough back in the bowl and turn it to coat it with olive oil
- Cover the bowl and let the dough rise in a warm place for about 1 1/2 hours, until the dough is doubled in size.
- Put the dough on the counter and knead several times to take out any large air bubbles.
- If you are using the dough right away, cover it with a towel and let it rest for 10 minutes.
- If you will be making the pizza later, wrap the dough in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 475 F for at least 30 minutes.
- Spray a 14 inch pizza pan with baking spray.
- Form the dough into a disc and roll or stretch it to fit on a 14 inch pizza pan.
- Put the dough on the pan and pinch up the edges to make a raised rim around the pizza.
- Brush the dough with 15 ml (1 tablespoon) olive oil.
- Spread the pizza sauce over the dough.
- Arrange your favourite toppings on the dough.
- Sprinkle the cheese over the toppings.
- Put the sliced tomatoes on top of the cheese.
- Bake on the lowest rack of the oven for 12 to 14 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.
- Slice into 8 pieces and serve.