Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Italian Sausage Pizza Braid

It seems composers making pizzas are all the rage right now. It almost feels like if I can't make a pizza (homemade pizza crust is mandatory), I can't be considered a 'real' composer, whatever that means. Off the top of my head, I can name at least five composers (real composers, not just friends or colleagues) who have recently posted homemade pizza pictures on Facebook.

Ingredients for dough (makes 2 braids, approximately 4 to 6 servings)
  • 3 cups flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • pinch of salt

Toppings (really, anything you want)
  • 1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage
  • 2 teaspoons cooking oil
  • 1 cup cheese (any kind)
  • 2/3 cup pizza sauce (I like mine saucy, and you could use less)
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

  • Combine sugar, warm water and yeast in a mixing bowl.
  • Let proof for ten minutes, or until yeast mixture is frothy.
  • Add oil and flour and knead for about 7 minutes.
  • Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 minutes to an hour.

  • Remove the casing for the Italian sausage and chop into small pieces.
  • In a hot pain, add some oil and fry the sausage pieces until cooked.
  • After proofing, punch down the dough and knead for a few minutes.
  • Divide the dough into two portions, and roll each portion into a longish oval (about a foot in length.)

  • Spread about 1/3 cup of pizza sauce in the middle of the dough (see picture above.)
  • Add half the cooked Italian sausage pierce and cheese on top of the pizza sauce.
  • Using a knife, cut the dough on the sides into strips.

  • Fold the top flap down and the bottom flap up, then pull a left strip over the front of the braid, over the toppings.
  • Pull a right strip over the left strip, and continue braiding until the all the strips are used.
  • Do the same for the other portion of dough.

  • Place both braids on a cookie sheet and bake in the oven at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes.
  • Serve!

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