It is a very nerve racking thing for me to make a pizza. I have an Italian sister in-law and I want to do right by her. Growing up my mother wanted to experience American things and eat American food. Pizza, pancakes, round cookies, all felt American to her as a child. To please her children, my Grandmother tried to make foods that were not just Eastern European. My Uncle remembers that my grandmother had a love of anything that involved bread. Since the crust is such a big part of the pizza experience, a true bread baker, like my grandmother, would enjoy the challenge. Since Grandma was Slovak, I understand her need to put potato somewhere in this recipe. The pizza dough she made was rich and smelled like freshly baked bread.
I remember enjoying pizza as a child in the suburbs. My Mom was not a good bread baker and would buy frozen cheese pizzas and beef them up with cooked ground beef, canned mushrooms and yellow American cheese slices. That was one of my favorite dishes growing up and I was so excited when it was on the menu. Later as I became a more confident baker and started understanding my grandmother’s techniques, new variations of my favorite pizza started to emerge and the flavors I enjoyed grew up and become more adult.
Makes 2 Rustic Shaped 6″x12″ Pizzas
For the Pizza Dough
1 Packet Active Dry Yeast (follow instructions on package, note: the addition of sugar is okay to proof the yeast)
1/2 cup of water total (note: use what volume of water is needed for the Active Dry Yeast instructions, reserve the remaining volume of water for the recipe)
2 cups of Bread Flour
4 Tablespoons Cooked Shredded Potato (approximately 1 peeled baked potato)
1 Egg Beaten
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
Preparing the Dough
Follow the Active Dry Yeast Packet Instructions using the water from the recipe. If there is reserve water, it will be used in the dough mixture. Combine the yeast mixture, reserve water, bread flour, shredded cooked potato & beaten egg. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead for 5 to 8 minutes until the dough comes together into a round ball that doesn’t stick to hands. Add more water or flour to the dough if needed to get it to the correct consistency. Line a clean oven proof bowl with the olive oil and cover with a clean cloth. Place the dough in an oven set to proof for 1/2 hour, until it doubles in size.
While the dough is proofing, prepare the toppings. See ingredients under “For the Toppings“
For the Toppings
2 Peeled Whole Italian Tomatoes & 4 Tablespoons of Puree (Both from a can of Peeled Whole Italian Tomatoes In Puree)
1 Pinch (1/16 Teaspoon) of Salt for Tomatoes
1/3 Pound Shredded Provolone
3 Large White Mushrooms Thick Slices
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1/2 Pound Ground Bison
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Granulated Garlic
1/8 Teaspoon Ground Pepper
1/2 Teaspoon Italian Seasoning
1/4 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes for Garnish Optional
Preparing the Toppings
While the Pizza Dough is rising prepare the toppings. Roughly chop 2 canned whole peeled Italian tomatoes and combine with 4 tablespoons of canned puree, add a pinch of salt (1/16 teaspoon) and combine. This will be the pizza sauce. Sauté the thick sliced mushroom in 1 tablespoon of olive oil to cook and brown, reserve to side. Using the remaining three tablespoons of olive oil, cook the ground bison with the salt, granulated garlic, pepper and Italian seasoning. Once cooked through, browned completely and crumbling, reserve to the side for topping. Refrigerate toppings if not using right away.
Preparing the Pizza
When the dough is finished proofing remove from the oven and set the temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Divide the dough into 2 parts and stretch or roll out 2 rustic shaped 6″x12″ pieces. Do not dock the dough. Place each piece side by side on a half sheet pan and top each with half of the prepared toppings. Maintain a 1/2″ border around the pizza while topping.
Bake at 400 degrees Fahrenheit 18 to 20 minutes until completely cooked, dough will have risen and be golden brown on the crust and bottom. Finishing with red pepper flakes is optional before serving.
Note if the pizza is sticking to the bottom of the pan, use an off set metal spatula to dislodge and serve.