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Buttermilk Clouds

Pizza Margherita

Years ago I bought a cooking CD from Williams-Sonoma. This pizza recipe from that CD has become a family favorite. It is far better than any pizza you find eating out. I especially love the simplicity of it.

Pizza Margherita
•For the pizza dough•
1 Tbs. (1 package) active dry yeast
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. lukewarm water (105°F)
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1/2 cup for
1 tsp. salt
1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
•For the topping•
7 oz. mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
8 fresh plum tomatoes, peeled and chopped,
or canned plum tomatoes, drained and
1 handful of fresh basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
4 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
•To make the pizza dough, in a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in the lukewarm water and let stand until slightly foamy on top, about 10 minutes.
•In a large bowl, stir together the 2 3/4 cups flour and the salt and form into a mound. Make a well in the center and add the yeast mixture to the well. Using a fork and stirring in a circular motion, gradually pull the flour into the yeast mixture. Continue stirring until a dough forms.
•Lightly flour a work surface with some of the 1/2 cup flour and transfer the dough to it. Using the heel of your hand, knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Form the dough into a ball.
•Brush a large bowl with the olive oil and place the dough in it. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature until doubled in size, 1 to 2 hour
•Preheat an oven to 450°F. If using a baking stone or tiles, place in the oven now.
•Turn the dough out onto a surface dusted with the remaining flour. Punch the dough down and, using your hand, begin to press it out gently into the desired shape. (If you want to make individual pizzas, divide the dough into four equal-size pieces and shape each one.) Place one hand in the center of the dough and, with the other hand, pull, lift and stretch the dough, gradually working your way all around the edge, until it is the desired thickness, about 1/4 inch thick for a crusty pizza base and 1/2 inch thick for a softer one. Flip the dough over from time to time as you work with it. (Or roll out the dough with a rolling pin.) The dough should be slightly thinner in the middle than at the edge. Lift the edge of the pizza to form a slight rim.
•Transfer the dough to a pizza peel or baking sheet, cover with a cotton towel and let rise again until almost doubled in size, about 20 minutes.
•Cover the dough with the cheese and then the tomatoes. Scatter the basil over the top. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle 3 Tbs. of the olive oil over the top. Transfer to the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 400°F and bake until the crust is golden, about 10 minutes more. Drizzle the remaining 1 Tbs. oil over the top and serve immediately. Serves 4.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library Series, Pizza, by Lorenza de' Medici (Time-Life Books, 1993).

I have experimented with different pizza pans, stones or whatever. The type of pan that I seem to have the most luck with is the kind with holes. It is a little heavier than most pizza pans. When baking the bottom of the crust does not get soggy and it bakes more evenly.

Occasionally I don't want two pizzas, and try other things with the extra dough. One option is making Sticky Buns with the other half of the dough.

Sticky Buns
Take half of the pizza dough, and after the 2 1/2 hour rise, roll out int a in a big square. Brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with sugar and cinammon. Roll and cut into 16 pieces. Place in a 9x13 inch baking pan that has 1/2 - 1 stick butter cut up, brown sugar and pecans sprinkled on bottom. Let rise again for 20 minutes to 1 hour. Bake at 400° about 20 minutes or until done.

If, by chance, you don't have the time for the 2 1/2 hour rise, this dough recipe will work nicely. As a matter of fact, this is the dough recipe I followed yesterday.

Rapid Rise Pizza Crust
3 1/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pkg. yeast
1 cup water
2 tablespoons oil
•In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Heat water and oil until very warm (120° to 130° F - can be done by placing in microwave for 1 minute). Gradually stir water into dry ingredients. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a stiff dough. Turn out onto floured board. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes. Cover; let rest 10 minutes. Diveide dough in half. Shape each half into a ball. Roll each into a 12-inch circle. Place on 2 baking sheets. Add toppings and bake in preheated 450° oven for 10 minutes; turn down heat to 400° and bake another 10 minutes.

Let the pizza baking begin!!

UPDATE: 02/07/07 - If the dough seems a little too elastic when trying to roll it into circles, don't fight it. Simply cover the dough balls with a towel and let it rest another 10-20 minutes. That usually does the trick!


By: Sharon Pickering | 1/28/2007 at 8:00 AM | If you want, you can leave a comment by clicking here.


  1. Blogger Janet C. | 1/29/2007 5:57 AM |  

    I have always wanted to make my own pizza this looks like a good recipe.

  2. Blogger burekaboy — | 1/31/2007 12:35 PM |  

    margherita style is my favourite way but i only like the thin crusted style pizzas. doughy = yuck for me. yours looks fantastic :D i have a few of those WS small books i bought several years ago; some pretty good recipes in there.

  3. Blogger annie | 1/31/2007 2:11 PM |  

    @burekaboy, well, you would love this one. Real thin crust. My husband is a fan of the thin crust also.

    I have another WS book too...Healthy Side Dishes. Some nice recipes. I really like their recipes. It seems they lean toward the simple.

  4. Blogger Sissy | 2/08/2007 6:17 AM |  

    Awesome looking pizza!! Have you ever tried grilling it? Soooo good!
    Another good, (not healthy, but good) use for that left over dough is to fry it in an inch of oil and have pesto or maranara to dip them in!

  5. Blogger annie | 2/08/2007 6:40 AM |  

    @sissy, I have never grilled a pizza. Maybe when the grill thaws out, I will try it! The little dipping stick sounds like another great way to use the dough.

    My daughter thought maybe rolling out the dough as if for another pizza, topping with cherry pie filling, and add a crumb topping...bake then drizzle with icing would be nice too.

  6. Anonymous Anonymous | 8/28/2008 12:56 AM |  

    This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  7. Anonymous annie | 8/28/2008 2:41 AM |  

    @missandmisterkinky, Thanks! I would add the inline comment form, but this blog is a classic template, meaning it is not able to use many of the new innovations of blogger.