Let me just start off by saying I LOVE pizza. I always have. It is one of my major comfort foods. Within the list of my reigning all-time favorites (ice cream, chocolate, grilled cheese, salt and vinegar chips, tacos…i could go on) pizza is always in the top 5.
Pizza is always in my rotation of dinners. Even though it is not a traditional “housewife” food, it is always a crowd-pleaser. Though there will always be a special place in my heart for takeout, I will honestly say I am firmly planted on the DIY pizza bandwagon. It began when I was growing up. My mom often bought ready-to-bake dough from the refrigerated section of the grocery store and implored my help in topping the pie with sauce and cheese. It was an easy treat that I always enjoyed, so it seemed natural to continue making pizza when I moved out on my own. Somewhere in that time my housewifely tendencies led me to trying my hand at making my own dough. I had no idea it was so easy. There are very few ingredients and once combined they are almost fool proof. As long as you follow the recipe, the dough always comes out the same.
There are a few things to remember when it comes to making any kind of bread dough to help make the process go smoothly.
1. Make sure you are using decent flour. I use an unbleached unbromated white flour regularly. Bread flour works even better, though I don’t always have enough on hand. You can absolutely combine the two if you don’t have enough of either.
2. Measure the flour exactly. If the dough is too sticky, you can always dust it with more.
3. Don’t be afraid to “get in there” with your hands. Getting messy is half the fun!
NOW on to the good stuff! Here is my favorite recipe. I personalized this version from Jamie Oliver’s recipe (found here) This recipe makes one 15 inch thick crust pizza. This dough is very versatile so you may flatten to your desired thickness. The thinner your crusts, the more pizzas you will be able to make. It can also be doubled to make two (or more) pizzas, or wrap up half to save for next time!
3 and ½ cups flour-Bread flour is best, but all-purpose flour or whole wheat flour will also work.
1 and ½ teaspoon sea salt
1 packet dry active yeast
1 and ½ teaspoon sugar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 and ¼ cup lukewarm water
Sift flour and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the center. In a large measuring cup, mix the yeast, olive oil, sugar and water. Let sit for a few minutes-you will see the yeast activate as it bubbles and foams, then pour into the well. Mix slowly with a fork, scraping the sides. As the dough begins to form, work the remainder of the four in with your hands. Knead until the dough forms a smooth ball in the bowl.
Cover the bowl and let the dough rest in a warm place for about an hour. The dough will double in size.
Drop the dough ball onto a floured countertop or pastry board and gently push the air bubbles out. At this point, you may either use the dough right away, or freeze or refrigerate for another day. (Dough will stay fresh in the fridge for about 3 days. If you are making your pizza in 4 or more days, stick it in the freezer and just move it to the fridge about a day ahead of making your pizza.)
If you are making your pizza right away, press it flat onto the counter, then lift up with two fists to stretch the dough using a punching motion. Then lay the dough on a well greased pizza pan or baking sheet and press into the edges. If you are having difficulty, a floured tumbler works great for rolling out the dough. Once your dough is at the edges of your pan, top with sauce (jarred sauce is great. I use smooth marinara spaghetti sauce because I like the taste. Feel free to use your favorite), Italian seasoning and garlic powder to taste, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese and your favorite toppings.
Slide your pizza into a 425 degree oven and let it bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden on the edges. I recommend checking your pizza often to make sure it comes out to your liking. We like our pizza “well done” at our house 🙂 How do you like your pizza?
Well, there you have it. My go-to for pizza cravings. I hope you all enjoy. If you decide to try making your own pizza dough, let me know how it turns out!