Friday, September 30, 2011

Breakfast Pizza

Finished product
A Family Tradition
For a family of five that lives in the country one of our great bonds is joining together for food.  Our breakfast pizza recipe is something we all enjoy and take some pride in.  The recipe has changed somewhat over the years  as it has become more refined but at a minimum it is a great starting point for any level of cook.

There are five main components of the pizza; crust, gravy, meats, eggs and cheese.  If you are looking for something that is going to help you on your diet, you probably should look else where.  This is celebration food!

My choice for crust is to make my own.  Think about stopping by a local bakery that makes whole wheat bread and see if they will hold some dough for you ( if you can think that far ahead ).  I would not hesitate to use whatever whole wheat / honey dough they have.  My local Great Harvest can help you out if you are in Lincoln, Ne.

The basic recipe I follow for a crust is: 2 cups flour (I use whole wheat) 2 tablespoons honey (I am liberal with this), 1 tsp salt, 2 tsp yeast, 3 tsp olive oil, 2 tsp dry basil, 3/4 cup warm water. Mix until the dough is soft but not wet ( you might need to add water or flour to get this to the softness of a fluffy pillow ).

In our house we are gravy snobs.  It isn't hard to make and I guarantee that if you follow these directions you will end up with an amazing gravy.

Take 4 Tbl (table spoons) butter + 4 Tbl flour ( I use whole wheat here ) and heat in a sauce pan for 5-6 minutes or until it starts turning just a little brown, stirring with a whisk.  Reduce heat and quickly add 2 cups of milk and 2 tsp of some sort of bullion. Use the whisk to combine milk, bullion and butter/flour mixture.  Add salt, garlic powder and pepper to taste. It will take more of this than you expect so be bold!  Also I like to add some dry basil, just be careful with other Italian seasonings as they can overwhelm the taste.

Once the mixture is heated up, cover with a top and remove from heat. This should be the consistency of a loose pudding.  If it is not, then you most likely didn't heat the butter and flour enough in the beginning.  This is OK just heat the mixture on a medium heat and whisk (to keep from burning bottom) until you get to that consistency.

First, remember this is a special pizza, not an everyday food. It is time to indulge a bit.  Brown up some sausage and several strips (6 ish) of bacon.  I personally love the uncooked bratwurst that people cook on the bbq.  You want to cube the bacon and chunk up the bratwurst completely cooking both.

Set the meat aside it is OK to let it cool down.  Scramble up 8 eggs.  Remember the trick to good scrambled eggs is to beat the eggs with some milk, preheat the pan, melt some butter in the pan just before you add the eggs.  And one of the most critical items is not to over use your spatchula.  You want the eggs to be able to form some nice hunks.

In our house the only cheese that can survive for any period of time is shredded mozzarella.  It is also the basic cheese of any pizza in the our home.  You will need 2-3 cups of shredded cheese. I like to mix a little colby, or cheddar in as well. You can get crazy here and no harm will be done. I would consider adding a Spanish Mahon, Manchengo, Parmigiano-Reggiano and small amounts of romano, blue, etc.  We buy our  cheese from Sam's club (they have some incredible deals on foreign cheese which is 12$-15$ / lb in most places). In a pinch we will get it from iGormet who has most things but you pay full retail + shipping.

Breakfast pizza ready for the oven.
At this point I will have dirtied a fair number of dishes and am running out of counter space.  So take a minute, turn on your oven to 375 degrees and make some room on your counter top.  The dough will have had some time to rest but honestly we don't need it to rise very much.  Use a rolling pin and roll it out flat and in the shape of whatever pan you are going to use.

Use a non stick spray and then shape your dough onto that pan. You can build up a crust or not.  I like to run the toppings out to the very edge but be creative.  The layers are now easy, gravy  on the dough, meat on the gravy, eggs on the meat, cheese on everything! 
Out of oven ready to eat!
Ovens vary widely but at 375 this should take 16-18 minutes.  If you have convection don't use it initially it will prematurely brown your cheese.  We have a convection and I will switch to the convection for the last 2 minutes to brown the cheese.


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