Every four weeks, I get my hair cut at Salon Mia in Hellertown, PA. Hey…it takes a lot to maintain my short, spiky do! Okay, not really, but it does have to regularly trimmed. It’s amazing how fast my hair grows. If I go any longer than four weeks, I start looking like a Chia pet. Not a pretty sight.
I must say, that since I’ve gone short and spiky, with blatant red and blonde highlights, I get the most interesting comments from others. It’s gotten to the point that Inge and I will take bets on how many and how long it will be before someone says something when we go out. It inevitably happens. I’ve had a butcher yell across the farmer’s market, “I love your hair! You rock!” An older woman who had buzz cut grey hair shouted “Girl Power!” at the perfume counter at Macy’s. A delivery man in an elevator told me to “keep doin’ what you’re doin’ cause it’s hot.” Of course, the hot pink shirt and leopard print shoes may have had something to do with that one.
But I digress. This post isn’t about my hair. It’s actually about pizza. Really? Yes, really. Down the street from Salon Mia is a small restaurant called Matey’s Crossroads Hotel. Whenever I get my hair done, I try to make it a point to eat here. While I can’t seem to find much history about the place, it is considered a historical landmark. The Matey’s family has owned and operated the Crossroads for over 60 years. Reflecting their origins, they specialize in Hungarian pizza with a signature sourdough crust and a secret cheese blend. My take? The best friggin’ pizza you will ever eat (at least around here, anyways).
Their crust is thin and crispy, but with a satisfying chew. Many will debate the merits of a thick or thin crust, but I prefer thin. I can’t stand when dough overwhelms my pizza. Pan pizza? Don’t even think about it. What’s the point of eating pizza if all it is puffy dough with toppings squished in it? I want the crust to be a vehicle, albeit tasty, for the delectable toppings. Pillsbury refrigerated dough from a can doesn’t cut it either, folks, if you want real taste and pleasure (but it is super quick, so for that, half a thumb up).
I’ve never been a fan of homemade pizzas because there was just too much dough and bland. It wasn’t worth it to go through all that work for a pizza that was mediocre. At that rate, I’ll buy a pizza from the place down the street and suffer through it. But since the stress of financial difficulties calls for eating more at home, I decided to give it another shot. I must confess, though, that this pizza was born out of the fact that I somehow forgot to buy half the ingredients I needed to make the enchiladas that I had been planning for a week. Don’t ask, because I have no idea what happened. Brain fart, I suppose.
For thin, crispy, but chewy crust lovers, this dough is for you. It’s slightly sweet and nutty and the perfect canvas for adding spices, garlic, olive oil, oats, or what-have-you that you prefer in a crust. For me? I like it just the way it is. Simple perfection. And a sublime vehicle for the Chorizo Vodka Sauce Pizza I made with this crust (recipe coming soon!).
I used my Kitchenaid mixer with the dough hook to mix and knead the dough for the most part. You do have to knead the dough for 2-3 minutes by hand to get the silky texture. If you don’t know how to knead dough by hand, the Fleischmann Yeast company has an excellent video on YouTube. Check it out here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qn5lKmYIOh0
This recipe will make enough dough for two 12” pizzas or four 8” pizzas. The dough freezes beautifully for about 3 months. Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap, then wrap it in foil, then place it in a Ziploc freezer bag or a freezable container.
- 1 package active dry or fresh yeast
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 cup warm water, 105 to 115 degrees
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for brushing
- Toppings of your choice
- In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and honey in ¼-cup warm water.
- In a mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the flour and the salt. Add the oil, the yeast mixture, and the remaining ¾ cup of water and mix on low speed until the dough comes cleanly away from the sides of the bowl and clusters around the dough hook, about 5 minutes.
- Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead by hand 2 or 3 minutes longer. The dough should be smooth and firm. Cover the dough with a clean, damp towel and let it rise in a warm spot for about 30 minutes. I like to heat my oven to 200 degrees, then shut it off and put the covered dough in the oven. It becomes a homemade bread proofer! (When ready, the dough will stretch as it is lightly pulled).
- Divide the dough into 2 balls, about 12 ounces each. Work each ball by pulling down the sides and tucking under the bottom of the ball. Repeat 4 or 5 times. Then on a smooth, unfloured surface, roll the ball under the palm of your hand until the top of the dough is smooth and firm, about 1 minute. Cover the dough with a damp towel and let rest 15 to 20 minutes. At this point, the balls can be wrapped in plastic and refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen up to 3 months.
- Place a pizza stone on the middle rack of the oven and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.To prepare each pizza, dip the ball of dough into flour, shake off the excess flour, place the dough on a clean, lightly floured surface, and start to stretch the dough. Press down on the center, spreading the dough into an 12-inch circle, with the outer border a little thicker than the inner circle. If you find this difficult to do, use a small rolling pin to roll out the dough. Lightly brush the inner circle of the dough with oil and arrange the topping of your choice over the inner circle.
- Using a lightly floured baker’s peel or a rimless flat baking tray, slide the pizza onto the baking stone and bake until the pizza crust is nicely browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Remember that the oven is very hot and be careful as you place the pizza into and out of the oven. Transfer the pizza to a firm surface and cut into slices with a pizza cutter or very sharp knife. Serve immediately.
*Recipe adapted from Wolfgang Puck/Food Network