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Wednesday, May 15, 2013

New York Style Pizza: Cheese Stuffed Crust Bratwurst Onions Pizza and Spinach Anchovies Pizza

Making pizza from scratch has always intimidated me. Thanks to Baking Partners, now I know that it's not that difficult!

New York Style Pizza is the chosen theme for this month's Baking Partners Challenge. Honestly, I was hesitant at first and was planning to just skip this one. But after giving it a serious thought, I decided to give it a try. There's nothing to lose anyway.

So what's New York Style Pizza? Well it is a type of pizza which originated in New York City in the early 1900's. It is large, about 14-18 inches in diameter and is characterized by having a puffy, bread-like, outer crust which quickly tapers down to a very thin, crisp middle. No pans are used in baking this kind of pizza. Instead, it is assembled on a pizza peel and then placed directly on the oven deck to cook. For commercial pizza, a pizza stone is used which draws moisture out of the crust and allows it to become crisp on the outside while remaining bread-like on the inside. I don't have a pizza peel nor a pizza stone, and I didn't want to buy those pizza making accessories just for this, so I simply used a parchment paper lined disposable aluminum pan. So how did it turn out? Great actually!
I was able to make two 16" pizzas with different toppings, one with Bratwurst, Onions and Jalapeño...and the other one with Anchovies and Spinach. I made the crust of the bratwurst one cheese stuffed like that of Pizza Hut. The hubs and the girls were totally amazed with how good both the pizzas turned out! 

I used the recipe from as suggested by Archana of Tangy Minds for both the crust and the sauce...and I tell you, it's awesome and so easy to follow. The only difficult part is waiting for the dough to proof...and that is 24 hrs! But it's really worth the wait! And besides, you can always prepare the dough ahead of time. By the way, I followed the exact procedure  except for the part where I pre-baked the pizza crust for a few minutes before putting the toppings. I've read that this can help ensure that the pizza crust won't be too soft. And oh, I used fresh tomatoes for the sauce instead of canned ones as suggested in the recipe.

Making pizza at home is something you should try! Why buy pizza when the best can come from your own kitchen?  Not only can you choose the exact toppings you want, you also won't have to worry about someone else's hairy knuckles kneading that dough! :)

To Swathi of Zesty South Indian Kitchen, thank you for another wonderful challenge! This gave me the confidence I need to make pizza from scratch!

For the dough:
Makes two 16" pizza
  • 4½ cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1½ Tbsp sugar
  • 3 tsp kosher salt 
  • 2 tsp instant yeast
  • 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (I didn't have EVOO when I was about to make the dough so I used Pure Olive Oil instead)
  • 15 oz. lukewarm water
For the sauce:
  • 6 medium fresh Roma tomatoes, seeds removed and chopped
  • 1/8 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • a pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 six-inch sprigs fresh basil with leaves attached (I didn't have fresh basil so I just used 1 tsp dried basil)
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and minced
  • 1 tsp sugar
For the cheese filling:
  • 8 pcs. string cheese per pizza
Pizza #1 (Spinach Anchovies):
  • 1 cup grated Mozarella Cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 9 oz. bag fresh spinach
  • 14 pcs. anchovies in oil (drained)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp minced fresh rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste
Pizza # 2 (Bratwurst & Onions):
  • 1 cup grated Mozarella Cheese
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 4 pcs. Bratwurst, cooked accdg. to package directions and sliced
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced into rings
  • ¼ cup pickled jalapeño, drained
For the dough:
1. Combine flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in bowl of food processor. Pulse 3 to 4 times until incorporated. Add olive oil and water. Run food processor until mixture forms ball that rides around the bowl above the blade, about 15 seconds. Continue processing 15 seconds longer.
2.Transfer dough ball to lightly floured surface and knead once or twice by hand until smooth ball is formed. Divide dough into two even parts and place each in a covered container or in a ziplock freezer bag. Place in refrigerator and allow to rise at least one day.
3. At least two hours before baking, remove dough from refrigerator and shape into balls by gathering dough towards bottom and pinching shut. Flour well and place each one in a separate medium mixing bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and allow to rise at warm room temperature until roughly doubled in volume.
4. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 425F. Turn each dough ball out onto lightly floured surface. 
For the cheese stuff crust: Gently stretch dough by draping over knuckles into an 18-inch circle about 1/4-inch thick. Transfer to a lightly greased pizza pan, letting dough drape 2 in. over the edge. Place string cheese around edge of pan; fold dough over cheese and pinch to seal. Prick dough thoroughly with a fork. Bake in preheated oven for about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool down for about 5 minutes before putting toppings. 
For regular crust: Gently stretch dough by draping over knuckles into an 16-inch circle about 1/4-inch thick. Transfer to a lightly greased pizza pan. Prick dough thoroughly with a fork. Bake in preheated oven for about 8 minutes. Allow to cool down for about 5 minutes before putting toppings.
For the sauce:
1. Mix the tomatoes and water in a blender and puree. Puree doesn't have be completely smooth, but should have no chunks larger than 1/16 of an inch. Set tomatoes aside.
2. Combine butter and oil in medium saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until butter is melted. Add garlic, oregano, pepper flakes and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant but not browned, about 3 minutes. Add tomatoes, basil, onions, and sugar. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to lowest setting (bubbles should barely be breaking the surface) and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by 1/2, about 1 hour. Season to taste with salt. Allow to cool and store in covered container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
For Spinach Anchovies Topping:
In a skillet over medium heat, saute garlic in olive oil until light brown. Add spinach and saute for a minute. Sprinkle with basil and rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Remove from heat. 
To assemble:
Spread approximately 1/2 cup of sauce evenly over surface of crust, leaving 1/2 to 1-inch border along edge. Evenly spread toppings over sauce. 
For the Spinach Anchovies Pizza: spread 2/3 of the cheese then the cooked spinach and the anchovies then the remaining cheese. 
For the Bratwurst Onion Pizza: Spread 2/3 of the cheese then the Bratwurst slices, onions and the pickled Jalapeño then the remaining cheese. (Do this step quickly so that the dough will not have time to stick to the pan).
Put the pizza in the oven and bake until the crust is dark brown and somewhat charred, 12 to 15 minutes total. Transfer to cutting board, slice, and serve immediately.

Check out what other Baking Partners members have shared this month! I'm sure you'll love all the pizzas they made!!!

If you want to either share or enhance your baking skills, join us for a monthly baking adventure at Baking Partners!