Back in July, I took my annual trip to Frankenmuth, Michigan. Frakenmuth is a small little town dubbed as “Little Bavaria”. It’s German themed and famous for its chicken dinners. It happens to be between home and my in-law’s cottage so during the week of the fourth of July, I leave my wonderful family behind with Grandma and Grandpa and spend the night — all by myself — in this quaint touristy town.
I have a very established routine. I stop at the local pharmacy to buy magazines. Then I go try to check into my hotel but I’m usually too early so I walk up one side of the street and down the other, stopping at any of the little shops that strike my fancy. My favorite shop is an old mill that has a small balcony that overlooks the Cass River. I like sitting out there and watching the river. I didn’t make it to that shop this year because the new hotel I tried was right on the river and I had my own private balcony.
It was on this very balcony, overlooking the peaceful river, that I came across the recipe for Bruschetta Pizza in A Taste of Home magazine. It looked delicious so I tucked it away for future reference.
I have two 3-ring binders full of recipes tucked away for “future reference” but there are always those that really stick out. This was one of those and I finally had the chance to make it. The original recipe called for a prebaked pizza crust, but I just couldn’t do that. If you’ve ever had homemade pizza crust, you’ll know why. There’s just no comparison.
Unfortunately, my memory is not always good and it was about 3:00 before I realized that I needed to make pizza dough. My usual recipe needs to rest for several hours or overnight in the refrigerator and it’s always a bit of a production so I decided to try to find something different and hopefully easier. After a quick search of my references, I decided to make up my own recipe.
I have to say, it turned out really good. It rose well and the crust turned out chewy but crisp on the bottom. As with my other recipe, the flavor would have developed more after resting a few hours but I think for such short notice it turned out very nicely. The recipe was based on one I found in Brother Juniper’s Bread Book and I’ll share it below.
As for the actual pizza…
I am a very traditional person. I like things pretty much the same way. I like my burgers with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, ketchup, and miracle whip. I like my chicken fingers with honey mustard, not ranch. I like my pizza with sauce, cheese, ham, and mushrooms. I like knowing what I’m going to get. I like knowing that I’m going to like it, so I rarely stray from these formulas. However, for this particular variation, I’m glad I did. The recipe calls for sausage and turkey pepperoni but since I hate pepperoni in turkey or any other form, I left that out. I used hot turkey sausage and that was just enough spice to make it interesting but not too hot that Ella wouldn’t eat it (I made a cheese pizza for Melanie and Norah). I liked the amount of cheese. It was a good balance. Like I said earlier, the crust was very nice too.
If you like the flavor of tomato and basil, you will love this pizza. The fresh flavors of Bruscetta with the undertones of the sausage was a great pairing. We all agreed. For future reference, this one is a keeper
Amy’s Own Pizza Dough
This is actually enough to make 3 or 4 good-sized pizzas. I divided it up into 3 parts, one for the Bruschetta Pizza, one for the cheese, and one part I put in the fridge to make pizza cups with for lunch tomorrow. See my previous post on pretzels to see what I’m talking about.
1 1/2 plus 1/8 cups warm water
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
a pinch of sugar
2 1/4 cups bread flour
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon honey
Mix together yeast, water (about the temperature of a baby’s bath), and sugar. Let sit while you gather the other ingredients.
Measure the rest of the ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the dough hook, mix together on low speed. Once the ingredients are well mixed, add in the yeast water while the mixer is still running. Pour in enough to make the dough smooth. Continue to mix but turn up the speed or knead by hand until the dough is smooth and elastic. Clean out bowl and oil bottom and sides. Return dough to bowl. Turn dough over to coat with oil and cover with a wet towel or plastic wrap. Allow to rise at least an hour or until double in size.
Once double, punch down and divide into how ever many pieces your are going to use. Roll each into a ball and set out on the counter to double in size again, about an hour.
Preparing the Pizza
for a pizza the same size as a large prebaked shell
1/2 pound hot turkey sausage (I used more, 2/3 to 3/4, probably)
2 cups mozzarella
2-3 roma tomatoes, chopped
1/2 cup basil, chopped
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
If you have a pizza stone, put it in the oven on the lowest shelf and preheat to 500 degrees.
Take the sausage out of the casing. Cook in a skillet until completely done. Set aside. Set aside mozzarella cheese as well.
Mix remaining ingredients (begining with the tomatoes). Set aside.
When dough has doubled a second time, spread dry polenta or cornmeal down on your work surface. Roll out dough to make pizza shape. Top with sausage and cover with cheese. If you have a pizza peel, put your pizza on the peel and using that place it on the preheated pizza stone. Let cook for any where from 7-10 minutes, depending on the size of the pizza. Look for a golden brown crust and melted cheese.
Remove from oven and top with the tomato mixture. Garnish with more basil, if you like.
Cut and serve. Yum!