Pizza from Scratch

baked pizza on top of black surface near filled glass tankard

This is the first homemade bread I learned how to make and the spark that ignited my passion for making these spectacular breads from scratch.  It’s an art, really, and its’ fun.

I remember being in the car and my husband was talking about ordering a pizza for dinner.  I wasn’t fully into all the health stuff I am now but the prospect of eating another one of those delivery pizzas and spending the next 3-4 hours with indigestion was just not at all appealing.  So, I told him to let me try to find a recipe and see what I couldn’t pull off.

Nailed it.

The pizza was so much better.  It’s delicious and comes without the heartburn.  I loved getting to see all that went into it and knowing that I was only feeding my family simple foods without the fillers, preservatives and other junk additives.

Since then, I have tried and tweaked different recipes.  The one below is the one I use most often.

It may seem like a lot but once you do it the frist time, you’ll realize there’s really nothing to it.

Pizza Dough

Ingredients

4 cups Organic UNBLEACHED All-Purpose Flour (I like to sub half of the flour for Whole Wheat Bread Flour, just note that you may need a touch more water but only add it by the table spoon as needed to achieve desired consistency)

1 tablespoon Organic Evaporated Cane Sugar

1 teaspoon Sea Salt

3 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 ½ cup warm Water

¾ Tablespoon Instant (Bread Machine) Yeast (1- ¼ ounce package of dry yeast)

Instructions

If you’re making this by hand, Combine flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a large mixing bowl.  Stir to throughly combine.

Stir in Olive oil to incorporate.  Add water and stir until dough starts to come together to form a supple ball.

Knead, adding the remaining flour a little at a time until the dough becomes a smooth, elastic ball, about 5-8 minutes.

If you prefer to use an electric mixer, combine the ingredients with the paddle attachment and then change to the dough hook. Add the flour a little at a time until the dough is smooth and comes away from the sides of the bowl, about 2-4 minutes.

Turn the dough into a lightly greased bowl and cover with a dry towel or plastic wrap. Let rise for 30 minutes before stretching or rolling into the desired shape.


Pizza

Ingredients

1 recipe Homemade Pizza Dough (above)

Shredded Mozzarella, Italian blend or dairy-free substitute (call me weird but I just leave the cheese off altogether and top it with a drizzle of EVOO to finish after it’s been removed from the oven.

Toppings of choice

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Semolina Flour, for dusting, optional

For the Sauce (you can use this recipe or grab an organic pizza sauce, such as Muir Glen’s):

1 can Tomato Sauce

2 tsp dried basil

1 tsp dried oregano

Fresh Cracked Black Pepper, to taste

Crushed Red Pepper, to desired heat (optional)

Instructions

The key to making a great pizza (on top of starting with a great dough) is cooking it hot & fast.  Still, times and temps may vary based on size and density of pizza.  Thin crust pizza cooks very fast at a high heat (typically 500-550 degrees F, 4-6 minutes), while a deep dish would need to cook lower and slower (425-450 for 15-25 minutes, depending on diameter and depth.)

Preheat oven.  For thin crust pizzas, preheat oven to 550 degrees F.  Standard crust, set it to 500 degrees.  For deep dish pizzas, drop it to 450.

Make your sauce by mixing all ingredients to consistency.  Taste and adjust to liking.

Prepare pan by misting it with spray oil or covering it with parchment paper and dusting it with semolina flour.  (The semolina will help it just slide and glide off your pan.)

Stretch dough to desired diameter and depth.  Mist or brush with olive oil (this helps to keep the sauce on top instead of it just soaking into the dough..

Spread sauce over pizza dough.  and add toppings.

Sprinkle with cheese of choice and pop it in the oven on the middle rack.

For thin crust pizzas, check after 4 minutes and add cook time by the minute until cheese melts and just starts to brown.

For standard crust pizzas, check after 8 minutes and add cook time until cheese melts and just starts to brown to desired consistency.  Note, the cheese will darken more right after you pull it out so don’t leave it go too long.

For thick crust pizzas, place on a lower rack and check after 12 minutes.  Add cook time as needed.  I like to make my husband’s in my cast iron skillet which has to be pre-heated prior to adding the dough to the pan.  Deep dish pizzas can also be made in a cake pan without having to preheat the pan prior.  If it’s a really deep dish, you may add your toppings but hold the cheese until you’ve let the dough cook up for a good 10-12 minutes.  Add your cheese and continue to cook an additional 5-7 minutes.

Once your pizza is done, remove from oven and allow to cool 5 minutes before cutting (3 for thin crust).

Enjoy!  Enjoy!  Enjoy!