Bacon, Basil & Tomato Pizza
Homemade pizza is one of my favorite ways to feed a crowd—especially a crew of hungry movers. (We’re in the process of relocating The Mouse House this week! More on that to come soon!) This particular pizza combines two of my favorite things: bacon and cheese. Think of it as a mouthwatering take on a BLT in pizza form.
Ribbons of fresh basil and paper-thin slices of ripe tomato provide a ton of fresh flavor—without making the pizza too wet. A few handfuls of shredded mozzarella and grated Parmesan give the pie all the cheesy goodness you expect in a pizza.
And then, of course, there’s the bacon. I used Black Forest bacon from Whole Foods, but you can certainly use your favorite kind. (If you’ve been following The Hungry Mouse, you know I can’t get enough of this stuff. It’s deeply smokey and slightly sweet.)
Black Forest Bacon, crisp as can be
How to make the pizza dough
I used the basic dough recipe from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice: Mastering the Art of Extraordinary Bread, by Peter Reinhart.
I first made this dough for the Daring Baker’s October Challenge last year, and it remains one of my favorite pizza doughs. The dough needs to rest overnight, so start it the day before you want to make your pizzas.
Or, use your favorite dough. As much as I love a good crust, this one is more about the toppings for me.
The dough recipe below makes three fairly large pizzas (maybe 16 inches or so in diameter). I used 2 of the balls for this Bacon, Basil & Tomato Pizza. I used the last to make a slightly smaller, thicker white cheese pizza.
Bacon, Basil & Tomato Pizza
Pizza Dough (Click here for step-by-step instructions for how to make the dough)
4 1/2 cups unbleached high-gluten (%14) bread flour or all purpose flour
1 3/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. yeast
1/4 cup olive oil
1 3/4 cups water, ice cold
1 Tb sugar
Yields: Enough dough for 6 small pizzas or 3 large ones
1-2 large, ripe tomatoes
1/2 – 3/4 lb. Black Forest bacon (or any bacon you like), cooked and crumbled
Fresh basil, cut into ribbons
The night before, make the pizza dough according to these instructions. Divide the dough into 3 balls and refrigerate overnight.
When you’re ready to make your pizzas, take the dough out of the fridge and bring it up to room temperature. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Sprinkle your pizza pans with coarse cornmeal.
Roll out the pizza dough
Flatten each ball of dough out with a rolling pin or by stretching it across the backs of your hands. Put the dough on top of your prepared pans.
Add the toppings to the pizza dough
Sprinkle lightly with shredded mozzarella. This is to give your tomatoes a base to stick to.
Slice your tomato as thin as you can.
Spread the tomato slices out on top of the cheese. Cover the pizza without overlapping the tomatoes.
Sprinkle with crumbled bacon.
And another thin layer of mozzarella. (It may seem fussy, but I’ve found that layering the ingredients like this helps the all the toppings stick together better, and avoids pizza snafus…like when you take one bite and ALL the cheese comes off in one piece.)
Toss on the cut basil. Spread it out fairly evenly.
Sprinkle with a layer of Parmesan cheese. Then sprinkle on a light layer of garlic powder. Toss on a little salt if you like (there will already be a fair amount from the Parmesan).
Bake the pizza in a really hot oven
Slide your pizzas (pan and all) into your preheated 500-degree oven. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until your crust and toppings are nicely browned.
Cool your pizza for a few minutes on the pan, then slide it off onto a board and cut into wedges with a sharp butcher knife or pizza cutter.