Really good pizza crust

Pizza with red wine sauce, eggplant and basil.

I love pizza, but it used to be a rare treat. Cracker-crust is popular in the part of Wisconsin where G. lives, and I don’t really like that style. It’s exactly like what it sounds like _ a crust as thin as a cracker.

Chicago is the opposite, with its deep dish and stuffed pizzas. I love those, but they are like a heart attack in a box. The crusts are usually pastry layered with butter. You can’t eat that often without a big weight gain.

I started making my own crust last year when we inherited mom’s bread machine. This summer, I started doing it by hand, using any easy recipe from Michael Ruhlman’s Ratio.

I’ve adapted it just a bit, adding oregano and substituting whole wheat flour for a portion of the bread flour. But that’s why “Ratio” is great: It’s aimed at allowing you to adapt recipes and create ones of your own.

Now, G. and I often have pizza for lunch. It’s relatively quick, and it’s a good way to make use of our tomato sauces and any vegetables we have on hand.

When G. texted me on Wednesday that he was coming home for lunch, I texted back, “I’ll make pizza.”

His response was, “With eggplant?”

So that’s what we had, pizza with eggplant, red wine sauce and some fresh basil.

We give Biggie B. some of our crust. He loves it. He’s also a terrible beggar. He’ll sit and stare at us, and when he wants more, he’ll start snorting and sneezing indignantly. We might be more inclined to discipline him if he wasn’t so old. Or maybe we wouldn’t. He’s so cute, even when he’s a brat.

Pizza Crust with Oregano

15 ounces bread flour

5 ounces whole wheat flour

1 ounce olive oil

12 ounces warm water

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon yeast

1 teaspoon dried oregano

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and work into a soft dough. Place on a floured surface and knead for 5 to 10 minutes. Put back in bowl, which should now be fairly clean, and cover with a clean cloth.

Let dough rise for a couple of hours.

Punch dough down and tear into two halves. Roll out one half at a time on a floured surface.

Place each crust on an ungreased cookie sheet and top with sauce, vegetables, cheese and so on. Bake at 425 degrees until done (about 25 minutes).


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