We love homemade pizza around these parts. It has several fabulous things going for it:
- Better tasting than it's store-bought counterpart.
- Better FOR YOU than the store-bought counterpart.
- The dough can be made ahead of time, frozen, and then thawed on the day you want to bake it.
- The ingredients are simple and frugal!
I started having real success with making homemade pizza after I read this tutorial for making pizzeria quality pizza at home. Prior to that, my crusts had always been slightly dough-y in the center with a lingering taste of yeast. No more, my friends, no more.
I've had some questions from readers about the pizza dough making process, so I'm going to give it to you step-by-step, until we arrive at the finished product. Are you ready?
Here's what you'll need. Flour (I use a combo of unbleached all-purpose with a little bit of wheat thrown in), yeast, sugar, salt, and olive oil.
First, mix your warm water (around 110-115 degrees) with the yeast and sugar. Stir together until yeast is dissolved. ButterYum says to wait 5 minutes to "proof" your yeast (which means you wait to see if it becomes bubbly), but I always skip that part, trusting that my yeast is good. I store my yeast in the freezer, and it really takes quite a while for yeast to go bad! Anyway, that's just me...
Now, I'm going to demonstrate how to make this recipe using a stand-mixer, but if you don't have a stand mixer, you really can do this by hand! I did that for over a year with good results.
Next, throw the dry ingredients together in your mixer, and using the dough hook on your mixer, add in the yeast mixture and the olive oil. Mix on low until the flour is incorporated.
Then increase your speed to 2 and knead for around 5 minutes.
OR, if you're not using a mixer, you can knead it by hand on a floured work surface. The original recipe says to knead by hand for 10-15 minutes, but I've never done that (not even once!). 4-5 minutes of vigorous kneading seems to do the trick. The dough will have a slightly tough feel to it. Very unlike soft biscuit dough, which should never be over-handled!
I do find that I prefer to use the mixer because 1) it's easier and less clean-up and 2) since you don't have to add any extra flour for kneading, the dough is less tough and comes out a bit softer. Here's the dough after kneading (at this point, you can store the dough in a freezer bag and freeze for later use! When you want to use it, pull it out in the morning and let it thaw. As it thaws, it will also rise):
Next, oil a bowl with olive oil and plop the dough into it.
Turn the dough over, so the entire surface is oiled.
Then cover it with a dishtowel and let it rise until it is doubled in size (normally takes around an hour for me).Halfway through the rising time, preheat your oven to 475 degrees and place your (preferably stoneware) pizza pan in the oven to get nice and hot.
Oh look! Lovely risen dough!
At this point I place the risen dough (I reshape it just a bit into a ball) on an oiled plastic mat. If you have parchment paper, that's even better.
Spread the dough out using your fingers, leaving as much crust as you prefer. This time I had doubled the recipe (a doubled recipe makes a LARGE pizza!) and as you can see it didn't quite fit on my mat.
Then poke holes in the dough all over using a fork. This is called "docking" the dough, and it prevents it from bubbling up too much as it cooks.
Next, pull your piping hot pizza pan out of the oven and transfer your crust onto it. If you're using parchment paper, easy-peasy, because you can just set it on top, paper and all. Since my doubled-recipe crust was so big, I simply flipped it upside down onto the pan. You'll hear a nice hissing sound...the beginnings of your soft yet crispy-bottomed crust!
I am using the large pampered chep pizza pan here (a wonderful gift from my mother-in-law!). I LOVE this pan. See the spots that are a bit darker brown? Those are the spots that were very thin in my crust--since the pan is so hot they were already starting to cook!
Place your crust in the oven and cook for 6-7 minutes. While it cooks, get your toppings ready.
We love to put tomato slices and cooked spinach on our pizza!
After 6-7 minutes in the oven, pull your crust out and brush the crust with olive oil. Then pile on your toppings of choice. No matter what our toppings, I typically also add some dried (or FRESH!) oregano.
Then bake for an additional 6-7 minutes. Brush the crust with olive oil again, sprinkle with garlic salt, and this is your result:
Your family will love you forever.
Pizza DoughAdapted from ButterYum's Recipe
Makes one 12-inch crust
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp. dry active yeast
1/2 tsp. salt
1 TBSP sugar
1 TBSP olive oil
1/2 cup plus 1 TBSP warm water (110-115 degrees).
Combine warm water, yeast, and sugar, and mix to dissolve. Mix together with dry ingredients and olive oil until just mixed together. Then knead (by hand on floured work surface or in stand-mixer with dough hook) for approximately 5 minutes. Place in oiled bowl and allow to rise until doubled in size (30-60 minutes). After rising, form crust by spreading it out with your fingers on an oiled mat or parchment paper. Dock the dough using a fork. Transfer to hot pizza pan and bake for 6-7 minutes at 475 degrees. Remove from oven, brush crust with olive oil and add toppings. Return to oven for an additional 6-7 minutes. When done, brush crust with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt.
Linked to Works for Me Wednesday, All Things Inspired, I'm Lovin' It, and Homemaking Link-Up.