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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Pizza Four Seasons - a Gutsy Cooks Selection

Homemade pizza is so delicious--the trick is getting a good crust. I have several excellent pizza crust recipes, one from The Bread Bible and one from The Bread-Baker's Apprentice. I was going to use one of these recipes instead of the easier one from The Illustrated Kitchen Bible, but then I decided I might as well try this recipe out. I opened my new bag of King Arthur Italian flour, which I suspect is what made this crust so delectable. Although I don't ordinarily give recipes when I'm cooking my way through an entire book, having an aversion to being sued for copyright violations, I'll give this simple recipe at the end of the post.

You can see that the dough is still quite sticky and recalcitrant as it goes into the bowl for rising.

But a couple of hours of proofing and about 20 minutes more of resting make it docile enough to be shaped.

This "4-Seasons" pizza's ingredients are almost all from cans and tins, so you could keep the ingredients on hand and make it whenever you had a mind to: roasted red peppers, anchovies, capers, artichoke hearts, crushed tomatoes for the sauce. Not always kept on hand (at least at my house): pepperoni, mushrooms (better to omit than use canned), Kalamata olives, and mozzarella, although you probably have some kind of cheese in your refrigerator, and no law says it has to be mozzarella.

Once you get the various ingredients sliced, it's a cinch to put them together.

I just spread plain crushed tomatoes atop the dough and sprinkled with sea salt and oregano. You could add garlic, onion, or other herbs.

The recipe tells you to put the mozzarella on top of the tomatoes, but I forgot, so I put both grated mozzarella ane parmesan on top of everything. If I'd followed the recipe, you'd be able to see the various ingredients on top, which might be more photogenic. On the other hand, you wouldn't have as much browned cheese.

One quarter of the pizza is topped with sliced fresh mushrooms; one quarter with sliced roasted red peppers and anchovies; one quarter with pepperoni and capers, and one quarter with marinated artichoke hearts and Kalamata olives. You're not bound to these ingredients, but they are good. Even the anchovies tasted good.

I put the pizza together over parchment paper, which I slid onto a preheated baking stone in a 450-degree oven. Baking the pizza crust directly on the stone (or as close to directly as possible) gives you the best shot at not having a soggy crust.


Jim: "I give the red pepper and anchovy part a 10. The others get a 9.5." (He loves anchovies. He also said he'd probably never give anything a 10 because something could always be better, so this 10 is quite an honor.)
Me: "I'd say 9 to 9.5. The crust is really amazing and all the sections taste wonderful. With the olives, capers, artichoke hearts and sea salt, it might be too salty for some people, but not for me."


3 2/3 cups bread flour (I used King Arthur Italian flour)
7 grams instant yeast
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups tepid water
2 Tblsp. olive oil, plus more for the bowl.

1. Combine flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl. Add water and oil, and stir to make a soft dough. Knead on a lightlyl floured counter until dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. (The dough is quite sticky).

2. Shape the dougth into a ball. Place in a lightly oiled bgowl and turn so that all dough is coated with oil. Cover with plaswtic wrap and let stand until doubled in size (about 2 to 2 1/2 hours).

This dough makes enough for two 9- to 10-inch round pizzas. I cut the dough in half and froze the half I didn't use.


  1. Jim gave a TEN to the yucky book! LOL... wow, I guess the book is working slowly away towards his heart.. or better yet stomach.

    I had every intention of making this, but something came up and poof, went the opportunity! But it is easy enough. And don't worry the recipe is posted in so you are not being naughty by sharing it.

  2. Monica,
    I was pretty amazed by the 10 myself. But he does love anchovies. Are all the recipes on the net?

  3. Hi Marie.. has a lot of them... I have yet not found a recipe that we have chosen not to be noted there. Pretty amazing, being that we are randomly picking them out.