Posts Tagged ‘pizza’

Restaurant Review: Homemade Pizza Company

Sunday, June 28th, 2009

We picked up a pizza from Homemade Pizza Company again tonight. There’s one close to our place in Chicago (they have a few storefronts scattered throughout the city), and a couple of weeks ago, after a long Sunday afternoon spent cleaning this place, we decided that we deserved pizza for dinner and tried it out.

And tonight, we went back again.

Homemade Pizza does “Take and Bake” pizzas, a concept that I was never quite sold on before. Basically they roll out a pizza crust, load it with your choice of toppings, and then you take it home and bake it in your own oven. I always wondered why, really, you’d want to bother baking your own pizza. And I thought that your home oven never quite managed to make pizza as well as a big restaurant pizza oven. Homemade Pizza has me convinced though.

I love their ingredients. They use all-natural, high-quality stuff to make their pizzas, and offer a huge variety of toppings while they’re at it. We ordered a pizza with Asiago cheese in addition to the mozzarella that’s traditional, and topped it with sausage and canadian bacon. It was delicious. The Asiago cheese is a little saltier and a little more tangy than the bland mozzarella most pizza places toss on their pizzas. The sausage had a good flavor, and they use whole slices of canadian bacon, which I had never seen before, but approve of completely. The crust wasn’t too thick or too thin and baked up very nicely.

They boast the #1 cheese pizza in town with their Four Cheese special and I’m certainly excited to try it sometime: Asiago, Fontinella, Wisconsin Mozzarella, and Ricotta. Yum!

The menu also includes a several tasty looking salads and even take-and-bake cookie dough, to bake up a hot, fresh cookie at home.

Check out the menu yourself. Most of their combinations sound delicious, actually, even when they contain ingredients that I’m not that crazy about.

Their prices seemed pretty reasonable as well. A large pizza will run you about $18, so it’s more expensive than frozen pizza, but in line with any decent pizza restaurant that will deliver to you. And they don’t charge for delivery (obviously, since you pick it up yourself!). 😉 They seem to make coupons available fairly often, and have a club card program that allows you to earn a free pizza after so many purchases.

Bottom Line: I expect we’ll take advantage of this place being so close fairly often. Since it’s close by, it’s actually faster than getting a deep dish pizza delivered, and will be a nice weeknight option, for those nights when you just don’t want to cook a meal from scratch.

Alton Brown’s Homemade Pizza Dough

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009
I don’t have very exacting pizza tastes. I like frozen pizza and thick crust pizza and thin crust pizza. I like Pizza Hut and Aurelio’s AND Lou Malnati’s. I like pizza from a box.
David on the other hand, is a bit more picky. Though he also likes Aurelio’s and Lou Malnati’s. He’s not that into my pizza from a box, and he’d rather not eat frozen pizzas. Of course, when he wanted us to make pizza from scratch, he went to Alton Brown’s recipe. I have mixed feelings about this recipe. We’ve struggled with the recipe a little bit–once it was way too sticky, another time, the dough didn’t really rise or stretch. (Could be due to the age of the active yeast we used, though). You also have to prepare the dough way in advance…it needs to rise in the fridge for about a day.
Really, there’s nothing wrong with this pizza dough recipe, but I’m holding out for one that’s a little bit easier to work with.
Alton Brown’s Pizza Pizza Dough
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3/4 cup warm water
  • 2 cups bread flour (for bread machines)
  • 1 teaspoon instant yeast
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Olive oil, for the pizza crust
  • Flour, for dusting the pizza peel

Directions

Place the sugar, salt, olive oil, water, 1 cup of flour, yeast, and remaining cup of flour into a standing mixer’s work bowl. Using the paddle attachment, start the mixer on low and mix until the dough just comes together, forming a ball. Lube the hook attachment with cooking spray. Attach the hook to the mixer and knead for 15 minutes on medium speed.

Tear off a small piece of dough and flatten into a disc. Stretch the dough until thin. Hold it up to the light and look to see if the baker’s windowpane, or taut membrane, has formed. If the dough tears before it forms, knead the dough for an additional 5 to 10 minutes.

Roll the pizza dough into a smooth ball on the countertop. Place into a stainless steel or glass bowl. Add 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the bowl and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 18 to 24 hours.

Place the pizza stone or tile onto the bottom of a cold oven and turn the oven to its highest temperature, about 500 degrees F. If the oven has coils on the oven floor, place the tile onto the lowest rack of the oven. Split the pizza dough into 2 equal parts using a knife or a dough scraper. Flatten into a disk onto the countertop and then fold the dough into a ball.

Wet hands barely with water and rub them onto the countertop to dampen the surface. Roll the dough on the surface until it tightens. Cover one ball with a tea towel and rest for 30 minutes.

Repeat the steps with the other piece of dough. If not baking the remaining pizza immediately, spray the inside of a ziptop bag with cooking spray and place the dough ball into the bag. Refrigerate for up to 6 days.

Sprinkle the flour onto the peel and place the dough onto the peel. Using your hands, form a lip around the edges of the pizza. Stretch the dough into a round disc, rotating after each stretch. Toss the dough in the air if you dare. Shake the pizza on the peel to be sure that it will slide onto the pizza stone or tile. (Dress and bake the pizza immediately for a crisp crust or rest the dough for 30 minutes if you want a chewy texture.)

Brush the rim of the pizza with olive oil. Spread the pizza sauce evenly onto the pizza. Sprinkle the herbs onto the pizza and top with the cheese.

Slide the pizza onto the tile and bake for 7 minutes, or until bubbly and golden brown. Rest for 3 minutes before slicing.

Note: As far as toppings go…go nuts. This time, we had some tomato, basil & feta pizza for Leah, while Dave and I stuck with a more traditional tomato sauce-sausage-mozzarella combo. Do what you like. 🙂

We were happy with the pizza stone method described in the recipe, and I do recommennd that you go that route if you’re going to make your own pizzas. Even our inexpensive one has made a vast improvement over pan pizza.