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Homemade Pizza

Homemade Pizza

Meryl Downing
Friday night is Homemade Pizza Night, and this is more than just a recipe, it's my pizza system! These are the tips and tricks I use to easily make delicious homemade pizza every week!
Course Dinner
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

For the Crust (Makes 8 pizzas, Freeze extras)

  • 5⅓ c flour
  • 1 t kosher salt
  • 2 c lukewarm water
  • 1 t instant yeast
  • 2 t honey or sugar
  • 1 T olive oil

For the Sauce (Makes 5 pint jars, Freeze extras)

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced (optional - add extra hidden veggies like bell pepper, zucchini, carrot, celery, and a few leaves of spinach or kale, ground in a food processor)
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ t kosher salt
  • 8 grinds fresh black pepper
  • 2 t Italian seasoning
  • 2 28oz cans crushed tomato
  • 1 12oz can tomato paste

For the Toppings

  • 1 to 3 t cornmeal IMPORTANT! DO NOT SKIP (use as you go)
  • white cheese Any combination of shredded provolone, mozzarella, white cheddar, muenster, havarti or parmesan, or a ball of fresh mozzarella.
  • Optional Topping Ideas - sliced bell pepper, onion, tomato, mushroom, zucchini, a few cloves of minced garlic, olives, artichokes, fresh or frozen herbs or greens like spinach, kale, parsley, basil, oregano or rosemary
  • Pepperoni, cooked sausage or prosciutto (optional - buy a 1 or 2 pound bag of pepperoni from the deli counter and store in the freezer, add to pizza, no need to thaw)
  • Variations - Pesto or Bbq sauce with leftover or rotisserie chicken

Instructions
 

For the Crust

  • Make the dough the morning of, or 1 to 2 days before pizza night. Add flour and salt to a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer. Add all other ingredients to a glass measuring cup or bowl and mix with a fork, let sit 5 minutes. Add the liquid into the flour and mix with a spoon or the paddle attachment of the mixer to form a rugged ball.
  • Knead the dough for 5 minutes using the dough hook on medium-low speed, or by hand on a floured cutting board. Lift and turn with your left hand and push down with the heel of your right hand, over and over for 5 minutes. A few times, pull and stretch the dough and then tuck it back into a ball.
  • Once you have kneaded the dough, tuck it into a ball by tucking the ends under itself to look like a mushroom top. Cut the dough in half with a knife, then in quarters, then in 8 equal pieces. Take each piece and form again into the little mushroom ball. Oil a large bowl, and a container with a lid for the freezer and set 4 dough balls in each. Choose containers that are larger than the dough is now, it will expand to be bigger in size. Adjust this for your family size. These are thin and not very large pizzas, a hungry adult would eat 1 pizza or more and a hungry kid maybe a half. Freeze whatever amount you don't plan to use. For a family of 4, this is 2 nights worth of pizza dough.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, or reuse an old produce bag to be ecofriendly. Leave it on the counter if pizza night is tonight, or set it in your fridge overnight and pull out the morning of pizza night. Frozen dough can be thawed in the fridge overnight. On the morning of pizza night, take the dough out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter all day.

For the Sauce

  • I don't recommend making homemade sauce on pizza night, see the above sauce section for easy pasta sauce ideas.
  • To make homemade sauce, in a large saucepan over medium heat, add oil, onion and any extra hidden veggies from the food processor. Saute until starting to brown and soften.
  • Add garlic, salt, pepper, and seasoning.
  • Add canned tomato. Reduce heat to low and simmer at least 1 hour. Freeze extra sauce in pint size jars (1 jars, about 2 cups, is the right amount of sauce for 4 pizzas). Only fill jars ¾ full so they don't crack when freezing, cool in the refrigerator before freezing.

Making the Pizza

  • Place a large baking sheet or pizza stone on the top rack of your oven and preheat to 450° convection bake.
  • On a cutting board, prepare and slice all toppings, including veggies, cheese and pepperoni.
  • Prepare a pizza peel or another cutting board with a generous sprinkling of cornmeal.
  • On another floured cutting board, roll out the first ball of dough with a rolling pin (don't worry that they have expanded and grown together, just pull or cut back apart). Add flour as needed. Get it as thin as you can, about the size of the pizza peel.
  • Transfer dough to the cornmeal covered peel. Top with sauce, cheese and toppings.
  • Making sure the pizza slides around on the cornmeal, transfer the pizza to the hot pan in the oven. You can take the pan out and set it on the stovetop if that is easier. If any part sticks, carefully release it with a spatuala.
  • When pizza #1 is in the oven, make pizza #2. When pizza #2 is ready to go into the oven, pizza #1 probably won't be quite done, but the crust will be firm enough to transfer to the oven rack. With two spatulas, carefully pick the whole pizza up and put it directly on the oven rack below. This will finish cooking, giving you a nice crispy crust. Now your pan is free to slide in pizza #2.
  • While those two are cooking, make pizza #3. By the time you are ready to add #3, pizza #1 is probably done. Remember your oven is really hot, so check on it and don't let it burn. Take it out, slice and serve on a cutting board. Now transfer pizza #2 to the bottom oven rack and pizza #3 to the sheet pan. Make pizza #4 and transfer them all through the oven using this same method.
  • You did it! And it all gets easier with practice! Enjoy!
Keyword homemade pizza, pizza, scratch pizza