Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Homemade Pizza

You've probably heard that bread is the staff of life. At our house it's a little more specific: bread in the form of pizza dough is the staff of life.

I've never spent much money on pre-made snack items. I don't leave Costco with giant boxes of frozen taquitos or burritos or pizza rolls or Bagel Bites or  preservative filled anything. Because of this, our kids have had to learn to cook.

"Mom, there's nothing to eat."

"There's plenty to eat. You just have to make it."

And the specialty around here over the years has become pizza. There is almost always pizza dough ready to use in our fridge. And homemade sauce and shredded mozzarella.

You know the pizza you get in those little Italian restaurants around Europe? With the really thin crust and fresh toppings? That's the kind of pizza you get at our house. We bake it on a pizza stone we keep on the bottom rack of the oven. We just leave it in there all the time. (And you don't have to spend a lot of money on a pizza stone. All you need is unglazed tiles from a home improvement store.)

 This pizza dough recipe is from my neighbor Leah. We've been using it for years.

Pizza Dough

4 cups flour
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 Tablespoon yeast
2 Tablespoons oil

Mix all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer. Knead for fifteen minutes using a dough hook. (You can also mix and knead by hand.) At this point, you can cover it with a clean dish towel, let it rise until doubled, and then use it, or you can save it to use later.  To save it, spray the inside of a plastic grocery bag with non-stick spray. Toss the ball of dough into the bag. Tie the handles closed at the top of the bag and stick it in the fridge. It will rise in there. When you want to use it, cut some off and leave the rest in the bag in the fridge. It will keep for several days.

We make a double batch and use off of it throughout the week.

I roll my crust out really thin with a rolling pin. I think the key to good homemade pizza is a very thin crust. Sprinkle cornmeal on a wooden pizza peel to keep the dough from sticking. Place rolled out crust on the cornmeal. Make sure it slides around easily.

Pizza Sauce

1 large can of crushed tomatoes
maybe a tablespoon of sugar
a little salt

Mix together. Spoon sauce carefully onto dough. Avoid getting it too close to the edge. If sauce gets on the peel, the pizza won't slide. If this happens, add a little more cornmeal under the wet edge.

Top with shredded mozzarella, a little grated Parmesan, and any other cheeses you like. Add your favorite toppings and secure them with a little more cheese. However, don't overdo it with the cheese or you'll get a gooey mess.

Slide the pizza off the peel and onto the pizza stone. Bake at 450 degrees until the crust is golden and the cheese is completely melted. It doesn't take long - maybe six to eight minutes. Remove from oven using the peel. Let pizza sit for five or ten minutes before cutting it.

fresh mozzarella with tomatoes and basil from the garden


  1. This looks so yummy! I have fond memories of eating tortillas with fresh tomatoes and cheese baked on them at your house in the summer :)

  2. how long does the dough take to double and be ready to use? I've never made my own dough, but would like to. I've been experimenting with a bruschetta type pizza that I really love lately, but I need to make my own crust and this might just do the trick!

    1. It only takes about a half an hour to rise.It's pretty quick. Bruschetta pizza - yum! Good luck!

  3. Yum!! I think i remember a progressive mutual activity where we came to your house and you made pizza? Or I'm making that up? Either way that pizza looks delicious!!

    1. We probably did! It was probably a Personal Progress Pizza night!

  4. This may be a dumb question, but what is a pizza peel? I use to make my own pizza. I think it's time to do it again.

    1. A pizza peel is a wooden paddle that you use to slide the pizza in and out of the oven - onto and off of the pizza stone. You should definitely take up pizza making!

  5. Oh, Melinda. I think you wrote this just for me. Thanks. Have you ever made whole wheat dough? I want to try that. I have a pizza peel on my gift list. I, also, remember that activity making pizza at your house. I was impressed...still am!

    1. I have made whole wheat crust. I like it but of course the menfolk don't appreciate it! You can use the same recipe and substitute the wheat flour for the white. Or you can use a mixture (try to trick them!).