I'm not sure when the tradition started, but I am assuming sometime once we moved to Georgia. After Christmas Eve service, at a different local church each year, we would come home, eat home made pizza and Christmas cookies and watch a Christmas movie. It is a tradition that I hold close to my heart. What memories and the fun we had! It was a very precious family tradition and probably one of the reasons why I try to make our own Christmas Eve's extra special!
Kim asked me for my Mom's pizza recipe, so here it is! It is very yummy! A definite winner! One day when I don't have 3 little boys, I will return to making this recipe. For now, I'll continue to make this one.
2 tsp. active dry yeast
3.5 cups flour
2 tbsp olive oil
1.5 cups warm water
1/2 cup whole wheat bread flour
1 tsp salt
Stir the yeast into 1/4 cup of water. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Meanwhile. mix the flours together in a bowl, mixer with bread hook or food processor.
To mix the dough by hand, make a well in the flour. Stir the yeasty water into the well, then gradually add the remaining water while incorporating the flour. Add the olive oil and salt. Stir the dough vigorously to incorporate as much flour as possible, then turn the dough onto a board. Gather and knead it, adding a little more flour if necessary, for 5 minutes or until it is smooth and lively.
If using the mixer, stir the flour in the mixing bowl. Turn the mixer to the lowest setting and gradually add the yeasty water. With the mixer running, add the remaining water, olive oil and salt. After 2 minutes, the dough will be clinging together in a rough mass. Stop the mixer and fit it with the dough hook. Knead the dough at the lowest setting for 5-7 minutes. All the flour should be incorporated and the dough should be smooth and lively.
At this stage, I always turn the dough out on a floured board and knead it by hand for at least 30 seconds to feel how responsive it is. The texture, strength and resiliency of your dough affect the time needed for rising, punching down, resting and baking. If it is sticky, I knead in more flour, a tablespoon at a time.
Cover the dough and let rise until doubled in bulk,, preferably over night in the refrigerator. In the morning, remove the dough from the refrigerator and punch it down. Return it to the bowl, cover again, and let it stand in a cool place for as little as 3 hours or as long as all day. About a hour before you are ready to serve the pizza, punch the dough down and divide it into portions and roll out and place on a well oiled pizza pan. Cover with your favorite toppings and cook for about 20 mins, depending on the thickness of the dough. One recipe makes 1 large thick crust pizza or 2 medium thin crust pizzas.
Thanks to my Mom for including this in a recipe book my Aunt made me as a wedding gift!