Pizza has always been a treat in my life. From way back, when the place to go in town after a concert or a football game was Kitty’s Pizza. That restaurant has gone through many changes, but is still around and still a favorite for anyone considering North Reading, Massachusetts, their hometown.
Do you have Friday night Pizza Night at your house?
These days we enjoy pizza at least 3 or 4 times a month. Over the past 10 years or so, my sister and I have shared a virtual pizza night. She lives in Buffalo and I’m still in MA, but most Friday nights, we call, toast to a new weekend starting, and share what we’re making for Pizza Night. She usually makes her own dough and collects all the family’s favorite toppings (mostly vegetables and vegan cheese cause that’s how they roll at her house) and then we’re on the phone or zooming to check in, share our dinner menu, and catch up on the week’s events. In our house, pizza “night” can come on a Wednesday for lunch, or a Friday afternoon or a Saturday night after an early morning at the beach and a day filled with errands, like yesterday. We knew, when we headed out before 7 am, for Plum Island and some time in the sun before the crowds started arriving, that we’d be making pizza later that day.
Homemade dough vs. store bought (but rarely frozen pizza)
We usually buy pizza dough from Portland Pie rather than make it. They carry a multiple delicious varieties, our favorites being Shipyard Ale, Garlic, or Basil. And the dough itself can be frozen, so we always keep a couple bags of dough in the freezer. You never know when the urge for pizza night will strike. Thankfully, our local grocery store has an actual “pizza department.” Come to find out, pizza is a big enough thing here to have an entire section of the grocery dedicated to creating your own. Last night, Beth wanted to make her signature pizza, The Reuben. While we have frozen dough I offered to make rye dough to really expand on the inspiration of a true Reuben Sandwich.
What’s a Reuben Sandwich?
A classic Reuben is made with corned beef, sauerkraut, swiss cheese, and Thousand Island dressing. While you may get it at a good deli, it is not a kosher sandwich due to the meat and cheese being combined. We also add dill pickles to our version. Not that they’re a necessity in a Reuben, but in our mind they are! What’s a deli sandwich without a pickle?
Making the Rye Dough
I was really looking to get the flavor of a good dark rye bread without making a dark crusted pizza that might be a bit too chewy. So I compromised. Following is my dough recipe, which comes out puffy, chewy, and amazingly light, with that spirit of rye bread coming through.
- 2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup rye flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1TB molasses
- 1 TB caraway seeds
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 2 ¼ tsp active dry yeast (I used bread machine yeast)
- 2 TB olive oil
- ½ cup all-purpose flour for kneading
- Mix flours, salt and caraway seeds in a medium bowl in your stand mixer with a wooden spoon
- Pour ½ cup of hot tap water into a small warmed bowl, add brown sugar and mix until the sugar has melted
- Add yeast and stir. Allow to sit for 10 minutes, until foamy
- Pour yeast mixture into the flour mixture and mix with a dough hook (see photo below)
- To remaining 1 cup of hot tap water add olive oil, pour over dough and mix, then knead until the dough is smooth, adding additional flour as necessary to keep the dough from sticking to your board and your hands.
- Form dough into a ball, and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with a damp dishtowel and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour. (see 2nd photo below)
- Punch dough down and transfer to a floured work surface to shape into your desired shape. We made a square to fit our cookie sheet!
My dough increased in size by more than double, and came out very light, chewy, and a perfect base for the Reuben Pizza toppings!
Constructing your Reuben Pizza
- Thousand Island Dressing (enough to cover your crust to your desired thickness)
- 1 small can of sauerkraut
- ½ pound sliced corned beef
- Sliced dill pickles (enough to cover the corned beef)
- ¼ lb Baby Swish Cheese, sliced
- Preheat the oven to 425 F.
- Flatten and stretch your dough until it is the size and thickness you want. We did ours to about a ¼”. The dough recipe makes enough dough for a 28” round pizza.
- Cover the dough to within ½” of the edge with Thousand Island Dressing
- With a spoon spread sauerkraut over the dressing
- Layer slices of corned beef over the sauerkraut
- Layer sliced pickles over the corned beef
- Cover it all with sliced cheese
- Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and starting to brown at the edges.
- Cut into slices and enjoy immediately!