The very best slice of pizza I ever ate was in Pisa, Italy. It was about 25 years ago and I still remember it.
My girlfriend and I were wandering around town after climbing to the top of the leaning tower and we stumbled upon a tiny family style restaurant.
The pizza was being sold by the slice and we both ordered garlic. It was handed to us wrapped up in a napkin and it was thin. It was not loaded with tons of cheese, but it did have plenty of freshly sliced garlic and tomatoes on it.
What I remember most is that it was chewy – a perfectly baked dough, not too thick, crispy on the bottom. Probably baked in a 500-year-old stone oven! We folded it in half and experienced one of life’s best culinary events – PIZZA.
I can’t even begin to count the number of slices I have had since then. Thin, New York style. Stuffed, Chicago style. Pizza from every type of pizza shop - both national chains and local dives. Cottage Inn in Ann Arbor makes an excellent pie.
There’s a place in Mt. Pleasant I used to love when I was in college in the late 70’s – Pisanallos, maybe? My East Lansing days found me eating at Bell’s Greek Pizza. I crave the salty taste of feta cheese on pizza – try it! I love mushroom pizza and I love veggie pizza. I love meat pizza, too. But it’s the crust that has me in love with pizza.
You won’t be surprised to learn that I make pizza all the time at home. But the perfect crust still eludes me- all because of one slice of garlic pizza.
¾ C water warmed to 100 -110 degrees
1 package dry yeast (this equals 2 ¼ t)
1 t sugar
1 T olive oil
Whisk the above ingredients together and allow to sit for a few minutes.
1 ¼ C all-purpose flour
½ wheat flour
1 t salt
Add the liquid mixture to the dry mixture and mix well with a wooden spoon. The mixture will remain wet and sticky. Pour out onto a floured board and knead for a few minutes until smooth and not ‘craggy.’
Place dough in an oiled bowl, turn dough over in the bowl until all sides of the dough ball are covered in oil.
Cover and allow to rest in a warm place for two hours or until doubled in size. I placed mine in the warming drawer of my oven.
When dough is doubled in size, turn out on a floured board and roll out to desired size. Top with your favorite pizza toppings and bake in a hot oven (400 degrees) for about 15 minutes or until golden on the bottom.