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Italian-style Tomato Pies

500°F Oven
Makes 4 - 9" pies or
2 - 12" pies

The texture of the crust is much improved if you bake on a pizza stone or hot bricks. See note below. Make dough the day before, much better if it has time to age!
Pizza Dough
2 packages active dry yeast
pinch sugar
11/4 cups warm water
31/2 cups bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4cup olive oil
1/2 can Progresso Crushed Tomatoes
pinch black pepper
1 teaspoon basil leaves
1 teaspoon oregano
2/3 pound mozzarella cheese - shredded
1/3 pound mild cheddar cheese - shredded
1 ounce grated Romano cheese
 Turkey sausage - cooked and crumbled
 Pepperoni - sliced
 Green peppers - sliced
 Vidalia (sweet) onions - sliced
 Fresh mushrooms - sliced

  1. Sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of sugar into 1/4 cup of warm water and stir until dissolved. Let stand for 3-5 mins. until mixture foams and doubles in volume.
  2. Put 31/2 cups of bread flour into a large bowl.
  3. Mix 1 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 cup of olive oil into one cup of warm water, and together with yeast mixture add to flour.
  4. Combine all ingredients with fork (or hands or food processor) until a rough ball of dough is formed.
  5. Cover bowl with a plastic sheet and store in a warm place until dough doubles in bulk.(about 1 hour)
  6. Punch down and cover until it doubles in bulk again.
  7. Later, remove dough from bowl and place on a well floured surface & knead into a smooth oval.
  8. Divide into two or four equal parts and knead each into a smooth ball.
  9. Wrap each ball in a plastic bag and store in refrigerator (up to 2 days) until ready for use.

  1. Strain excess water from crushed tomatoes. Mix sauce ingredients together.
  2. Have sauce at room temperature when making pizzas.
  3. Preheat oven to 500° F.
  4. Remove dough from refrigerator and wait until it almost reaches room temperature (about 20 min).
  5. Stretch or flatten dough ball into 9" or 12" round making sure the rim is thicker than the center of the dough. Place dough on perforated pizza pan or prepared wooden peel if you are baking on a pizza stone. (this is important - place the dough on the pan or peel before adding toppings!)
  6. Pour 1/2 to 3/4 cup of sauce on each pizza and swirl it around with a big spoon.
  7. Add cheese and toppings as desired.
  8. Bake on bottom shelf or directly on hot bricks/stone until crust is browned and topping is bubbling.

To do this for real, you've got to bake the pizza on hot bricks or a Pizza Stone -

Specially made pizza baking stones are available in many kitchens stores. Try to get one 12" or larger, depending on the size of your oven. Place stone on the bottom shelf and preheat for at least 20 min. Slide the pizza directly onto the stone from a prepared (a little flour and cornmeal) wooden peel. This technique does take a bit of practice. Try it first with a pizza that is lightly topped. Insert the peel into the oven right above the surface of the stone, almost to the back of the oven. Use a slight jiggle from side to side to loosen the pizza, then pull the peel back with a quick motion.

Another alternative is to bake on bricks. Get 8 unglazed red quarry tiles and place them on a large (16 x 16) cookie sheet. (You can buy this as a kit from gourmet shops for about $40, but the tiles will cost $10 at a building supply store.) Place the sheet with tiles on the bottom shelf and preheat for at least 20 min.

If you must use a pizza pan, get one of the perforated kind so the crust will be crisp.