Pizza, Pizza…

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I love pizza. I mean that I really enjoy every calorie and every bite that goes into my mouth. As a kid, I wanted my pizza deep dish and soaked dipped in Ranch, but now as my taste buds and calorie consciousness has matured, I prefer a thinner crust with a few splashes of hot sauce.
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 My personal opinion is that the best everything pizza comes from Italy, but most Greeks would disagree with me. They, of course, prefer Greek pizza, Greek food, Greek music, etc. I guess that the main differences being  the crust and tomato sauce. Don’t get me completely wrong, it is possible to find good pizza here in Greece, even at one time in Lesvos. We used to order pizza as a quick “we are too hungry to cook” dinner, but unfortunately out of the two restaurants that make pizza, one closed and one switched from mozzarella cheese to gouda, no thanks! What other choice did we have but to start making our own.

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Plus, when making pizza at home, you have complete control over every ingredient and are able to even transform a traditionally unhealthy food into one full of fiber and vitamins, somewhat icon smile Pizza, Pizza... I have always preferred using whole wheat flour when possible, it not only benefits your waist, it also gives a slight, attractive nutty flavor to the crust.

Basic Semi-Wholewheat Pizza/Calzone Dough Recipe: (Makes 2 – 8″ medium crusts or 3 – 6″ thinner crusts)

7 g. (2 1/2 tsp.) instant yeast
1/2 tsp sugar or honey (optional)
1 1/2 cups water, temp around 180°-185°F
2 Tbsp. EVOO
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups bread flour (or all purpose)
1/2 -1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic, basil
Handful of yellow flour or cornmeal for bottom of crusts
Extra flour for kneading

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In a large bowl, mix 1 cup of each flour with the yeast, sugar, oil, and water. Stir with a wooden spoon, let rise for 30 minutes in a warm area. Stir in remaining spices and flour using 1/2 cup at a time. Once a ball of dough has formed, turn out onto a floured surface and knead gently for 8-10 minutes; you should be able to feel the dough transform in your hands into a soft, pliable texture. <For a better crust, continue to rise again, but it is possible at this point to skip this step and move onto the dividing and shaping.> Place in clean, slightly oiled bowl, and let double in size in a warm area (if your house is chilly, use your oven with a 5 minute pre-heat and then leave on the oven light). 

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Begin to preheat your oven to high, with a pizza stone if you have one. Turn out  the dough again onto slightly floured surface and shape into an even roll. Divide into either 2 or 3 proportional balls, and shape into desired size and thickness. If you have a pizza stone, shape your dough onto parchment paper with some cornmeal to make it easier to get into the oven; continue to decorate your pizza with desired toppings. If you are not using a pizza stone, shape your dough onto a pizza pan and poke in several holes with a fork. Place your pizza pan into your oven for 5 minutes to set your crust. Remove from oven and decorate your pizza with desired toppings. Bake on high heat for 8-10 minutes or until your pizza is golden brown with bubbly cheese! 
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I made two medium crusts pizzas: on the top I used pesto instead of tomato sauce and topped with mozzarella, feta crumbs, sliced mini tomatoes, parmesan cheese, and cracked pepper. On the bottom, I made a salami/pepperoni, sautéed mushrooms and onions, with tomatoes and mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. They were both delicious, if I do say so myself, and I do!  
Next time you are in the mood for pizza, why not trying to make it yourself. This dough also freezes very well too. You can freeze the dough, or the pizza base after you have set it in the oven. It is perfect for the night that you need a quick, delicious go to meal. 
Seriously, I think the only two things that would have made this pizza even more delicious: 
1. A pizza stone. (I am still trying to find one here)
2. Frank’s hot sauce. 
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Frank is good on everything, but especially pizza! It is times like these that I so long for American supermarkets.    
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Hi! My name is Jacquline. Welcome to my blog. I hope you will find some delicious Greek food recipes and enjoy the read along the way! Kali Orexi :)

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