Last night I was in the mood for a bacon cheeseburger pizza. I had half a pound of thawed ground beef that I couldn't do anything with because it just wasn't enough for a family of three to have burgers. I could have created a stir fry, but with several strips of bacon left over from BLTs earlier in the week, this was a natural solution. Click through for the full post, including my recipe.
The Dough Recipe
1 1/4 C lukewarm water (use more or less, depending on humidity in your area... I start with 1C and add from there)
3 C All-purpose flour (I used 1C whole wheat, 2C white unbleached, but whatever you have is fine)
1 tsp Instant Yeast
1 Tbsp Sugar (for the yeast to feed on)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp italian seasoning blend (optional)
1/4 tsp salt, or to taste (my seasoning blend has salt in it, so you may have to adjust)
Put all ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer, if using, or a mixing bowl if doing this by hand. Mix until all ingredients come away from the sides of the bowl (a few sticky bits are fine). Knead with bread hook (in mixer) or by hand for five to seven minutes. Dough should be elastic, soft, and only slightly sticky. Let rise for one hour. Punch down and let rest for fifteen minutes. Shape into pan. Preheat your oven to 425°F.
I have a 14 inch cast iron pizza pan by Lodge. I put a thin layer of oil and the dough slides easily into shape on this. If the dough is fighting and snapping back after you stretch it, let it rest another fifteen minutes and try again. I have not tried this amount of dough in a half-sheet pan (the size of a standard cookie sheet), but I would imagine it would fit, it would just make for a thinner crust. If you try a half-sheet pan, let me know your results!
For a bacon cheeseburger pizza, you will need the following toppings:
8oz can tomato sauce
1/2 pound ground beef, browned and drained
6 slices bacon, cooked (still a bit fatty is best, otherwise it will burn)
2 C shredded cheddar/monterey jack cheese blend
1/2 C diced white or yellow onion
Top pizza as follows:
Spread sauce on raw crust. You will probably not need the entire 8oz. can. You should see streaks of crust through the spread sauce, like if you were fingerpainting... that's how thin it should be. Any more than that and the crust might not get done all the way in the middle. If you like a saucier pizza, I recommend reserving the rest of the can of sauce for dipping. I'd warm it a bit.
Sprinkle the cheese on top of the sauce, then sprinkle the cooked ground beef and onions. Then tear the bacon strips into one inch chunks and distribute evenly.
Notice my dough fought back a little and pulled away from the front of the pan.
Bake in your preheated 425°F oven for fifteen minutes, then turn the oven to "broil". Watch the pizza carefully. When cheese around the edges starts to brown, remove immediately. For me, it took five minutes... It may take yours more or less time, depending on your oven and how fast the broiler heats up, and how far you have the rack set from the top element. Mine was eight inches away, with the rack at the middle position. I don't get temp settings for my broiler, either, it's "high" or "low". I did this on the high setting. There are so many variations, it's important to keep an eye on this! You want to make sure the bacon gets fully rendered, and the cheese is browned around the edges of the pie. I also like brown edges on my onions. My crust in the back of the oven got a touch browner than I would have allowed normally because I didn't turn on my oven light. But here it is in all its ooey-gooey wonder:
You can top with the restaurant standard lettuce, tomato, etc. at this point, but I don't bother. It's fabulous the way it is. Cool slightly, then slice and serve!