Homemade Pizza

Has the 11 year-old inside you (or the one in your kitchen) been begging for pizza? 

Yup, mine too. 

Before you shell out $20+ to the local pizza joint, consider this:

  • Homemade pizza dough and sauce does not have any added chemicals or preservatives.
  • Your own version can be made to suit your tastes and diet to a T.
  • Making this meal yourself can save some serious moolah, especially if the tomatoes for the sauce come from your garden.  YUUUUUUUM!
  • Making this meal yourself is some serious fun!
  • You may be given a hero’s welcome to the dinner table if you cut your dough into fun shapes – what pizza place would do THAT for you?
  • If you can get a delicious pizza pie on the table without having to debate over a takeout menu or having to tip a delivery guy, hooray.

I hope you’re salivating.

Obviously you’ll top your pizza with the things you like most.  Cheese (or not!), tomatoes, peppers, onions, olives, bacon, chicken, hamburg, potatoes, garlic, the sky’s the limit!

This recipe will be for the dough and the sauce only.  I consider those to be the foundation and framework of the Pizza House.  Enjoy!

(This will be a longer recipe than usual, with LOTS of pictures.  When you make something like this for the first time, it can be very helpful to hear lots of details and see them in picture form.  If it IS your first time, don’t be intimidated by what seems like a lot of steps.  It’s basically: mix and knead a dough, chop it into pieces, and let it sit around until you’re ready to use it.

If it isn’t your first time, I hope you enjoy viewing the process anyway.  As always, there is a link at the end of this post to a picture-free and easy-to-print version of the recipe.)

Homemade Pizza Dough (Makes 4 doughs)

Credit: Women’s Health Magazine

Ingredients

4 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast

3 C. warm water (77-81°F)

6 1/2 C. all-purpose flour

1 tsp. salt

(Notice any weird, non-pronouncable ingredients up there?  Didn’t think so.)

Method

Proof the yeast…

…in the water…

…by pouring the water into a bowl and sprinkling the yeast on top.

Basically, you’re “looking for proof” that the yeast is still “alive.”  It should look a little frothy and bubbly by about 5 minutes. 

That’s not a ton of evidence, but it was enough.

The amount of bubble and foam will depend on how warm the water is and how old the yeast is.  If absolutely nothing happens, your yeast may be too old.

Before you start making a giant mess, take off your valued jewels and stash them someplace safe.  Pizza dough will gunk up your rings and dry like cement.

Add the flour and salt to the yeasty water and combine it all into a rough dough.

Dump the dough onto a board and knead it by hand for 7-8 minutes.  Or dump it into a stand mixer (you could really do the whole process right up through the kneading part in a stand mixer) and knead it with a dough hook on the lowest setting for several minutes.

If you’ve never kneaded dough by hand, here is what the process looks like:

Pull on the dough off to one side.

Fold the dough over on itself…

If the dough is so wet and sticky that you can’t handle it without most of it sticking to the board or counter, you can sprinkle on a little extra flour.  On very humid or rainy days, this is often the case.

Here’s another shot of the stretching:

and folding over:

If the dough is holding together enough, you should be able to push down and forward with the heel of your hand after each fold.

You can really get into a rhythm with this and get out some aggressions from, say, not getting enough sleep the night before, or having to discipline your child to within a centimeter of the end of your patience, or running out of chocolate right before you really really need some.

Your dough should begin to look like this:

…sort of holding its own shape and coming together into a ball.  Not a perfect one, so don’t freak out if it’s looking rather blobbish.

By the end of 7 or 8 minutes of solid kneading, the dough will have this appearance:

And your hands will be wonderfully messy.  Savor it.  Cuz later you have to clean up.

Let the dough rest at room temp (not too chilly or drafty) for about 2 hours.  You’ll do this by oiling the inside of a bowl and plopping the dough in it.  Turn the dough over to coat the top, and oil or spray the underside of a piece of plastic wrap.  Stretch that over the top of the bowl.

I had to dimple the top of mine with my fingertips halfway through…

…because it rose SO much, it was overflowing the bowl.  The yeast was good.  🙂

(Note: If it’s the dead of winter and your kitchen is impossibly cold, turn the oven on low for a few minutes, just to warm it up a bit, and then shut it off.  Don’t leave it on like I’ve done and bake your bread or pizza dough while it’s still in lump form and covered in plastic.  Place the bowl in the oven and close the door.  If it’s too warm in there, crack the oven door open.)

After 2 hours, divide the dough into 4 pieces of equal size.  A bench scraper or knife will help with this unless you want to go all Hulk and just RIP it apart.

Here’s my bench scraper, ol’ buddy, ol’ pal:

Shape the 4 pieces into 4 balls by repeating the stretching and folding process from earlier.  You’ll want to stretch and fold each piece to the North, South, East, and West – four different directions, and end by pinching together the folds.

Flip each ball over so that the seam is underneath.  Here’s four:

Put the balls of dough into the fridge for another 2 hours.  At this point I usually only put one or two in, depending on what I’m making (one can be a flatbread or garlic breadsticks, etc in addition to a pizza).  The other two are frozen at this stage for later use. 

Do whatever you like with yours.  I thought I’d show you how I store mine during this last resting phase:

Each storage bag is sprayed inside with PAM.  Olive oil would work too.  You just don’t want the dough sticking to the bag.

The one I put in the fridge last time was in a bowl, where it sat for the two hours.  For each dough you’ll be using, flour the board or counter and the top of the dough, and let it rest for 5 minutes.

Stretch the dough onto your choice of baking surface and top with Pizza Sauce.  My favorite is a preheated baking stone.  Second choice: metal pizza sheet with holes, greased with Crisco to keep the dough in place.  That works like a charm!

The Good Sauce

This sauce got its name by being Jon’s favorite!  I have made a few different versions of red sauce since being married, but this one stomps all over the others.  Any time Jon asks “What sauce are you making?”, whether it’s for pizza or pasta or chicken parm, he’s secretly hoping for this one: The GOOD Sauce.

Credit: Rose Levy Beranbaum, “The Bread Bible.”

Ingredients

1 C. peeled, seeded, chopped ripe tomatoes with the juices (I leave the skin on mine)

OR

1 C. canned crushed tomatoes with juices

1 TBS olive oil

1 large clove of garlic, shopped

1/4 tsp. hot pepper flakes

2 tsp chopped fresh oregano or 1/2 tsp. dried (fresh is better!)

1/4 tsp. sugar

1/4 tsp. salt

freshly ground black pepper to taste

Method

In a small saucepan, combine all of the ingredients and simmer, stirring frequently until reduced to about 3/4 C., 10-12 minutes.  Taste for seasoning and cool.  Use chunky or process for a few seconds in a food processor.

How easy is THAT?!

I’ve been picking tomatoes out back and making huge batches of this sauce to freeze for winter.  My amounts become generalizations and I saunter by the stove now and then to slurp some and see how I like it. 

That’s all there is to it.

Result

Gorgeous, flavorFULL ingredients come together to create the building blocks for an unforgettable pizza.

Top with whatever makes your tongue sing!

I like to keep it simple.  The left side of this one is garlic and cheese; the right side is cheese alone.  With a little extra cheese.  Have I mentioned I love cheese?

Bake for 10-14 minutes at 500°F.  The baking stone will give you a nice crispy crust. 

Oh man… 

Chow down!

Note: Dough left in ball form is good in the fridge for 3 days. 

For a picture-free, easy-to-print of these recipes, please click on the following links:

https://thefullvine.wordpress.com/homemade-pizza-dough/

https://thefullvine.wordpress.com/the-good-sauce/

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20 thoughts on “Homemade Pizza

  1. I love making homemade pizza, too. Our favorite topping (all four of us!) is ham and pineapple. I haven’t made it in a while, though, and you just made me really want to make some! =) Yours looks delicious. Thanks for sharing! The recipe I use is about the same as yours. I tried making pizza with wholewheat flour one time and it just wasn’t the same. I’ll never do that again. lol

  2. Mmmm! We also make homemade pizza. I keep my baking stone in the oven permanently and slide the pizza onto the stone with a pizza peel. (Did you know cornmeal can catch on fire if you neglect to CLEAN your oven? Well, it does.) We love the crispy crust! It’s not hard to love this sort of custom made deliciousness and shun the local pizza joint. (well, I may make an exception for Kingston Pizza… BEST pizza joint in the nation, and I know this because I have tried pizzas ALL over the nation.) Sadly, we don’t have Kingston down here in MD. I will definitely try your Good Sauce, because my hubby’s enjoyment of homemade pizzas is largely dependent on the sauce, and since I have been just buying the cheapest thing available… the results are not consistent. I’m excited to try this!

      • You can use the back of a cookie sheet. Just sprinkle it with cornmeal, place your ‘tossed’ dough on the peel, top, and slide onto the hot stone. It will cook in about… 7 minutes. Preheat your oven with the stone inside as hot as you can make it. I’m talking 500 degrees, higher if you can, but be warned that baking stones are generally only warranteed to 400… mine has cracked but I use it anyway and it still works!

  3. I make my own pizza but after looking at your pics I have to confess I “cheat” a bit! I let my bread machine do all the hard work. I put all the ingredients in & set it to dough only(it just mixes it all) & then voila I have pizza dough. After that the process is much the same 🙂 I figure it takes about 15 minutes more than calling in a pizza picking it up & bringing it home takes & it’s a fraction of the cost!

  4. Pingback: Until Next Time | The Full Vine

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