We love pizza here at my house and I’m sure most of you do as well. I decided recently to start making my own pizza at home because the local place I normally order from has changed their recipe and it’s a bit gross. The other place I used as my number 2, I don’t like the way their crust tastes usually. It always tastes stale to me for some reason. It really isn’t hard to make pizza. It’s just a lot easier to dial a phone number and pay versus making it on your own. The convenience of it is the only reason I used to order it. Normally, I save my homemade pizza for Christmas Eve and have my son help me through the process. It’s our fun tradition I started a few years ago because I’m sentimental like that. I figured I would pull this out through the year because even though it may take some extra time to make, it’s well worth it in the end.
Dough: The hardest part about making pizza dough is working with the yeast. Everything else the mixer will do for you in the bowl. When activating the yeast, follow the directions on the pack very closely. If your water is too hot it will kill the yeast. If it’s too cold, it won’t activate the yeast properly or at all. If you are unsure about proper temperature you can always rely on a thermometer until you get to know which temperature is right. What’s warm to me may not be warm to you, but the water should be warm enough that you can stick your finger in without feeling like you are burning yourself – between 105°F and 110°F. Throw in the olive oil (2 tablespoons) , a pinch of good quality salt (Italian pinch = 1 tablespoon), and 3 cups unbleached flour, then mix everything together on the slow/stir setting with the dough hook. Don’t add too much air to this either, and if possible, the kitchen should be cool. If the room is too warm the dough won’t form properly. I let my mixer do the hard work and in about 10 minutes you will have proper dough. Pull it out and use a bit more olive oil to help roll the dough into a tight ball then place in a container with plastic tightly secured on top and sit out for an hour where it won’t be disturbed. Sometimes I will place a towel on top of the bowl too for extra pizza security. When you are ready to form the dough into a pizza shape, do not be upset if you can’t master the pizza toss. Feel free to use your rolling pin ( and a small amount of extra flour) and make it a rectangle or whatever shape you are comfortable with. It will still taste amazing. This specific recipe will make a 12 inch round pizza.
Sauce: Start with tomato paste and add your preferred seasonings. I use dried seasonings because they are more flavorful. Do not be scared to use a lot of garlic. It is delicious. When spreading the sauce, start in the middle and circle out to the edge. This is the most efficient way to add sauce without it spilling over when it’s cooking.
Toppings: You can add almost anything really. If you are using meats remember to cook them properly before adding to the pizza. Whether you like a lot of cheese or a little, you can not mess this up. My only advice is the more toppings you use, the longer you may have to cook the pizza in the oven.
Cooking: Bring your oven to 400°F and cook the pizza on either a pizza stone or a baking sheet for 20 minutes or until you notice it browning. Let it cool and enjoy!