Every time I get too hung up on my crust-making pride, I fail. There are days when I can roll out a perfect pie crust without breaking a sweat, and others when my hands seem capable only of forming a pile of dusty crumbs. I have ended up with great pizzas, perfect for a get together or dinner party and other times my oven releases a yeasty and tasteless cracker.
Lucky for us all, tonight was one of those on nights. I left the dough on the back burner, out of which escapes the oven’s excess heat. I set the oven for 200 and left to buy basil and parmesan. Don’t try this at home, folks. When I returned the mixing bowl the bread baby was rising in was literally OVERFLOWING with dough. I was too terrified even to take pictures, so I have no proof, but you’ll have to take my word. I immediately punched it down and stretched it, convinced some crazy yeast process had been exploited and exploded.
1 package active dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup warm water (not tepid, not scalding- you want almost-but-not-quite-hot)
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups flour, give or take
1 head garlic
handful shredded sundried tomatoes
cheese- I’m not very adventurous, so I used mozzarella (8 oz), parmesan (2-3 oz), gruyere (1-2 oz), but I think anything from goat cheese to ricotta to feta would work great
2-3 ripe plum tomatoes
fresh basil, thyme
1 red onion
While dough is rising, preheat oven to 350. Cut off the very top of your head of garlic- the stem end, not the root end. This will expose the tips of most of the cloves. Place in a bed of tinfoil, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with fresh herbs. Thyme, rosemary, and basil are all good options. They will infuse the garlic with a lovely rustic aroma. Place tin ball on middle rack in oven and ignore for 50 or 60 minutes. Once you remove it, you can increase the heat of your oven to 400. Layer ingredients on stretched and prepared pizza crusts. I tend to go- shmear of roasted garlic, bits of sundried tomato, hefty loads of cheese, followed by tomatoes. Don’t put on any fresh herbs or greens- they will shrivel and burn and you will be sad. Place in oven (for anywhere from 12 to 15 minutes).
While baking, saute red onion in a bit of olive oil if desired. If you prefer, you can also caramelize them, starting them over low heat at the same time you put your garlic in the oven. To do this you’ll need 2 to 3 times more onion than you otherwise would.