To give you a little insight to the world of Student Media, there are generally two types of people who work here.
One camp includes the geeked-up folks. They are here all the time. They are the nap-under-your-desk, work-crazy-hours, must-be-told-to-shower students. Free food is part religion for these people because they are usually broke and always hungry.
The other camp is the telecommuters. Even if they stroll through the Lory Student Center, they rarely come through the front door. These are the folks who e-mail their work into editors and who most of us geeks couldn’t pick out of a crowd because they are so rarely around.
Until Friday, I was a geek at Student Media.
While I will continue to write this column, I have moved over to a Northern Colorado professional publication, where I’m working hard to de-geek. I doubt it will work but I must try.
In the two years I worked at Student Media – for the creative services department, the newspaper and magazine – I have come to be friends with the other basement dwellers. Our conversations often revolved around food.
Sometimes, I would wander over to the television station, as I did last week, to poll colleagues on what to cook for the column. Finally, someone said “make pizza!” Clearly, we don’t eat enough of this classic from the joint around the corner from our offices.
CTV Station Manager Todd Valentine, though, challenged me to move beyond cardboard-box creations and make pizza margherita. I had never made pizza from scratch before I decided to tackle the challenge, if only to dispel a bit of my “geekiness.” (I also happen to bathe regularly and occasionally sleep in my own bed).
I knew the hardest part would be making dough. History had taught me that yeast is temperamental; making the water too hot would kill the bacteria that make it rise. On the other hand, using water that isn’t hot enough can result in bacteria that won’t activate.
As with so many dishes, various recipes abound. Some folks will make pizza margherita with a simple red sauce or even some crushed tomatoes from the can. I opted for a drizzle of olive oil on the dough, supplemented with slices of vine-ripened tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and chopped, fresh basil.
To make the dough, I did a little online research and found a lot of different recipes. In mine, I combined flour, yeast, salt and honey. After combining the ingredients, I let the ball of dough rest in my big mixing bowl before kneading it some more on a floured surface.
After assembling two pizzas, I baked them in the oven for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
As a tip: Consider rolling up the edges of the dough to make a slightly thicker crust. My crusts were too thin and crisped up a bit too much.
Justin Sogge, the Collegian photo editor, shot great pictures of the pies before the two of us dug in and watched an episode of “Lost.” I’m a little lost when it comes to “Lost” but I know one thing: Sometimes, cooking with dough is fun.
L’chaim and B’Tay Avon (To Life and Eat Well)!
1 package active dry or fresh yeast
1 tsp honey
1 cup warm water, 105 to 115 degrees F
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus additional for brushing
In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast and honey in warm water.
After yeast is activated (dissolved and “frothy” look) add the salt and oil to the mixture. Start adding flour 1/4 cup at a time until dough is well combined. Not all the flour will necessarily be used.
Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead by hand two or three minutes longer. Place the dough in a mixing bowl coated with olive oil and cover with a clean, damp towel and let it rise in a warm spot for about one to one and a half hours.
Knead on a floured surface until no longer sticky and then roll out and cover with your favorite toppings. For a pizza margherita, start with olive oil, cheese, basil and then tomatoes.
Bake at 350/ for 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown and cheese is melted.
Staff writer Liz Sunshine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions expressed in this column reflect the views of the individual author and not necessarily those of the Collegian.