Saturday, January 22, 2011

Tex-Mex Sheet Pan Pizza

We eat a lot of pizza in this house.  When Hey, Babe and I first got married our apartment was across the street from a delicious pizzeria.  It just so happened that they ran a special on their pizzas the same night we would host game night with my brothers.  While we lived there we had a steady supply of delicious pizza.  Unfortunately, when we moved a few towns over the unthinkable happened.  We couldn't find a consistently good pizzeria near us.  Not only that but the pizzas near us were significantly more expensive.  That meant we would be paying more for pizzas that we liked less.  Not happy with that prospect, I started to make them myself.

Since then I have tried a lot of different recipes for pizza doughs.  Thin crust, thick crust, personal pan (a la Pizza Hut), sheet pan, quick, complicated, etc.  Most of them I have made several times and they will probably all eventually work their way on here, however, when I want to feed a crowd (and in a relatively short time) I nearly always go with my recipe for sheet pan pizza.

One of the things I love so much about pizza is the versatility of the toppings.  For this particular pizza I chose to make it nice and hearty by going Tex-Mex.  With a can or two of black beans along with some cumin, chili powder, veggies and a mix of cheeses it is sure to make each slice more filling, and more tasty.  I personally like to have some salsa, guacamole, or sour cream on the side when I make this pizza, but that is just me.  You can even change it up and still keep it along a Southwestern theme by making it spicy or adding some ground beef.  However you decide to make it, just be sure to make enough.

Sheet Pan Pizza Dough
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 3/4 cups water heated to 110 degrees
1 tablespoon sugar
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 envelopes instant or rapid-rise yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)
2 teaspoons salt

Preheat oven to 200°F and turn it off, this is where we will be allowing the pizza dough to rise.  Lightly grease a large bowl and set it aside.

In your mixing bowl, add your flour, yeast, sugar, and salt.  Give it a quick stir to combine.  Attach your dough hook and then turn mixer speed to medium-low and slowly adding the water and oil until dough, about 3 minutes. Put dough into greased bowl and cover with either a damp towel or plastic and allow to rise in the previously preheated oven until it is double (around 30 minutes).

While dough is finishing rising, liberally grease a 18x13-inch sheet pan (mine is a bit smaller so I use 2) with a few tablespoons of oil.  Once dough has risen to desired size, remove it to a floured work surface and roll it into the correct size for your pan.  Transfer dough to prepared pan and stretch and press the dough until it reaches the sides and corners.  If you are having a tough time getting it to stay stretched out and in the corners, I find that dimpling it seems to help.  Allow dough to rest about 20 minutes while you prepare your pizza toppings. During this time start preheating your oven to 450°F.

When dough has finished resting and rising, spread your selected topping evenly over the surface and bake 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted.

For our Tex-Mex version of this pizza I topped it with the following:

1 rinsed can of black or pinto beans
liberal sprinkle of cumin and chili powder
diced tomatoes
chopped bell peppers
minced onion
frozen corn
cheddar cheese
mozzarella cheese

Pizza is too inexact for me to measure the toppings, it amounts to how much I feel like or what is ready on hand.  Some people might be interested adding cooked meat to this or hot peppers.  Just as a side note, I usually add mozzarella on top of the cheddar because it is less prone to burning  Also, be sure that your beans are covered in other toppings (like cheese) because if they are exposed to the heat of the oven for too long they will end up splitting open and getting dry and crispy.  My pans are a bit smaller than the requested size so rather than end up with very thick crust, I choose to split the dough between two pans for a thinner crust (but still not nearly thin enough for thin crust).  This means I almost never have to pre-bake my crusts.  That call is totally up to you.  Enjoy!

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