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Life with Food

Tetzlaff Pizza Crust

When I first met Aaron’s family (and by Aaron’s family, I mean immediate + extended all at the same time – it was a wonderful 4th of July weekend!), we made what I later learned was a cabin and family staple: homemade pizza.  I acquired the Tetzlaff family recipe for the pizza crust that day, and I’ve never looked back.

This crust is great as your obvious pizza crust, but it also makes amazing bread sticks.  Just take this recipe, roll the dough out much thicker, cut into long bread-stick-like pieces, and sprinkle a shredded Parmesan cheese on top before baking.  Then dip in leftover pizza sauce and enjoy while your mouth waters at the freshly made pizza baking in the oven.

Ingredients:
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon yeast
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 cup lukewarm water
1 teaspoon olive oil

Preparation:
Mix 1/4 cup lukewarm water and yeast together.  Let rest for 5-10 minutes. In a food processor (not vital, but trust me, it saves a TON of time.  I think a mixer with a dough hook would also speed things up.  Let’s be honest, any kitchen appliance would be faster than mixing this by hand.) mix together: flour, salt, sugar, Parmesan cheese, and garlic powder.  Add the yeast/water mixture, then add the rest of the lukewarm water.  Knead the dough into a nice ball.  Take a bowl and coat sides of bowl with olive oil, then place the kneaded dough into the bowl.  Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about one hour. After the dough is much bigger than what you started with, take a rolling-pin and roll out the dough to a size fitting of whatever pan you have on hand along with your taste buds desire for thick, thin, or somewhere in the middle crust.  Top with whatever sauce and topping you like. Bake at 425 degrees for 8-10 minutes depending on how many toppings you use.  A good indicator of “done” is when the toppings and cheese in the middle are bubbling and the cheese is getting nice and golden.

Tips:

  1. This recipe makes about 6-8 bread sticks and a 16″ pizza with not-too-thick and not-too-thin crust for Aaron and I.  Feel free to adjust the amount of dough you make if those quantities need to go up or down.
  2. When you cut the bread stick dough out, use your pizza cutter.  It saves a lot of time and is far more accurate!
  3. The amount of water you add to the flour/water-yeast mixture won’t always be that 1-cup amount.  You will need to add water until the dough is wet (no dry flour or cracked-looking/feeling dough remains) but not soup-y.
  4. When you place plastic wrap over the top of the bowl, it is a great idea to first spray the plastic wrap with cooking spray.  Because your dough needs to double in size, it’s possible the dough will end up touching that plastic wrap.  This step will save time and forthcoming headaches.  Trust me.
  5. Here’s a tip I use while letting dough of any kind rise, because when it comes to food I love, patience goes right out the window.  I can’t guarantee this method will work for everyone and I need to warn you, the fast method sometimes makes the yeast freak out, but at least for me, 99 times out of 100, it works beautifully.  So in my book, is totally worth it!  After I put the plastic wrap on the bowl and am ready for the dough to rise, I also place a kitchen hand towel over the top to help seal in the warmth that will be created from the yeast reactions.  Then I place the bowl on the backside of my stove-top where there is a vent for the oven that lets out nice warm air.  This allows the dough to get nice and warm which will help speed up the yeast reaction so the dough will be nice and fluffy.  As you pick your heat source to put the bowl near, don’t get too hot or the dough will start to do a weird bake in the bowl without actually baking.  Not only does your dough look and feel weird, but the yeast will have lost its activation.  This you don’t want.  So place the bowl near but not in or on actual heat.  At the cabin, this bowl is placed a few feet away from a big wood-burning fireplace, and at home, on top of the oven while it pre-heats.
  6. Don’t be scared by yeast!  Sometimes I wish it weren’t so picky and needed such perfect conditions to work well, but after working with it long enough, you will be able to create beautiful and delicious things much cheaper than just buying crust/bread/etc from the store.

There’s my two-cents on pizza crust.  Enjoy the process and always know there’s pizza easily delivered if the crust flops.  Next time we make pizza, I’ll post pictures.

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