Pizza has become such a staple in our society. From street food, to delivery, to the Italian eatery around the corner all the way to gourmet pizza, it's everywhere. Who can truly say they don't like pizza (I recently read in US Weekly that Jessica Simpson is allergic to pizza. I'm still vexed by this. Are you allergic to the sauce, flour, yeast? No, just the whole thing.) There are so many varieties, from thin crust to deep dish, everyone has their favorite style and their favorite place to get pizza. My favorite place is my own kitchen. No, seriously. I make some good pizza.
My mother used to make homemade pizza when I was a child. My job was to shred the cheese. We didn't have a food processor back then, so I took the hunk of cheese and shredded it all. (Oh, poor me, as I sneak in bites of mozzarella). I always thought it was so difficult to make pizza. I vividly remember the yellow package of yeast, I used to think of it as the magical ingredient and it wasn't something you would normally have in your kitchen or could easily buy in your grocery store. (Nowadays, I have a huge jar in my freezer at all times.)
Last year I had an urge to take on the challenge of making pizza dough from scratch. I had made pizza using the Pillsbury Dough pizza dough many a times, but I wanted to make the dough from scratch. So off I was again, searching for a somewhat easy recipe to make pizza dough.
I'm not going to lie, it isn't the easiest thing to do. I mean, adding the ingredients are very easy, but dough can be very temperamental. You have to follow the ingredients to a tee, or you can end up with dough that doesn't rise, is too dry or too wet. I've made this recipe numerous times and 90% of the time it's been a success (I just have to pay close attention to the measurements.)
I'm not going to list out the ingredients for the toppings because I think that's the most fun of making the pizza, picking out your own ingredients!
Click here for the original recipe
1 1/2 cups warm water (I warm the water in the microwave for 1 minute)
1 package active dry yeast (the yellow package) or 2 1/4 teaspoons (if you have a jar of it)
3 1/2 cup bread flour (You can use all purpose flour or wheat flour, but bread flour will give you a crispier crust)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1. In a large bowl add the water and yeast and let sit for 5 minutes until the yeast is dissolved. Stir to dissolve completely at the end of 5 minutes.
Before the 5 minutes
Stirred and dissolved after 5 minutes.
2. Mix in the olive oil, flour, salt and sugar. Initially I mix with a spatula and then I get in there with my hands. Continue mixing until dough forms and then knead with hands. If the dough appears too wet add in extra flour.
3. Place dough in a bowl that has been lightly greased with olive oil. Turn the dough around in the bowl so the dough gets coated with oil.
3. Cover and let sit in a warm place (pantry is perfect) until it doubles in size. (I usually let it sit 3 1/2- 4 hours). Additionally, I put it in a pot so I can stick the top on it and it is tightly covered.
Chillin' in the pantry
3 1/2 hours later
4. Take out the dough and divide. According to the directions, you are to divide into two pieces. I prefer thin crust pizza so I divide it into four pieces of dough. Then, using hands, stretch out dough to fit your pizza pan. (You can use circular or rectangular, whatever you prefer. Think of the pan as a guide, don't feel the dough has to make it to the edge of the pan.)
You can also get the little ones to help you out!
5. Preheat oven to 450 degrees and let sit for thirty minutes before inserting pizza. Now get your toppings and get to work! Be careful with the sauce and cheese. You don't want to weigh down the dough too much. So be stingy!
I made two veggie pizzas (green peppers, tomato, fresh corn off the cob, mushrooms and onion) and two meat (turkey pepperoni, green peppers and corn). Get me into the oven, please!
6. Bake in oven 10-15 minutes. I like my pizza extra crispy, so I bake it pretty long, to the point that the edges are dark. So just keep an eye on it and bake to desirability.
Warm pizza, ready to eat!
Amateur Cooking Difficulty Scale: 7
This is a dish that takes time. You have to make it on a day that you are not going to be away from home for more than 3 to 4 hours because you don't want the dough sitting too long because then it will be out of control! I was always intimidated by dough in the past. But even when the pizza dough doesn't come out quite as I like it, usually after I bake it it comes out well.
I make this often. One time Hubby and I baked the pizza on the outside grill. It came out so good! Similar to a pizza oven. It's much too hot to do it in the summertime (I'm in the south, we can't grill when it's 100 degrees outside. I attempted to earlier this summer and it was miserable) to do it, but in the winter we'll be out there making pizza!