We have pizza every Friday night that the weather permits. (Without A/C, I won't bake during the day unless the temperature is under 80).
Here is my simple recipe, based in large part on the recipe for the homemade pizza I enjoyed as a kid.
4.5 cups flour
2 t kosher salt
1 T yeast
2 cups water
2 cups water
For flour I use 2 cups white whole wheat and 2.5 cups unbleached white flour. Combine flour, salt and yeast with a whisk, then pour in 2 cups warm water (I microwave tap water in pyrex cup for 90 seconds). Stir with wooden spoon. Pour onto floured pastry cloth. Knead in more flour until like pizza dough: smooth and not-too-sticky. Return to (dirty) bowl. Allow to rise until double -- about an hour or two depending on the warmth of your kitchen.
|Before (5 qt. bowl - you can use a smaller one)|
|After -- bubbles on top means it's ready!|
Preheat oven to 415. Divide into 2 or 3 pizza doughs, depending on how thick you like your crust. I make three 12" pizzas as I like a thinner crispy crust. Roll your pizza dough into a circle using a rolling pin and place on a greased pizza pan. I use a small amount of oil on my stainless steel pizza pans. If you are a true gourmet with a pizza peel and pizza stone you probably should not be reading this post. Put your dough in the oven for 10-15 minutes until it starts to get golden some places on top. You may have to rotate your pizza pans depending on the size of your oven. While the crust alone is baking, use your dirty bowl from the dough to make the sauce.
Last-minute Crust Option
Oh no! You forgot to make the pizza dough and now it's 6 pm. Here's a little trick from my mother's recipe. Place dough in greased microwave-safe bowl and cover. Microwave on lowest power level for 10 minutes. Remove immediately, divide dough and roll out for pans. This really does work, but ONLY with all white flour. If you use whole wheat the dough falls apart too easily, probably because the whole wheat doesn't have enough time to absorb the liquid (my amateur baker guess). Of course you can also make your dough ahead of time and refrigerate. I'm not that forward-thinking.
1 can tomato sauce
1/2 t oregano
1/2 t rosemary
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
I used Trader Joe's organic tomato sauce -- my last canned food product. Someday perhaps I'll get around to canning my own pizza sauce. Not this year. I could also try to switch to a product like pasta sauce packaged in glass, but I haven't found one I like for my pizza yet. I use a mortar and pestle to crush up the oregano and rosemary together. I grind in fresh pepper, just eyeballing the amount.
Divide sauce evenly among your par-baked pizza crusts.
Add Toppings and Bake
I just use pepperoni and mozzarella cheese. Occasionally fresh tomatoes under the cheese as pictured. We keep it simple. Bake for 5 to 10 more minutes until cheese is fully melted. I like to bake pizzas on the lowest rack for a crispier crust. If you love a crispy crust and really want to go the extra mile, after 5 minutes use tongs to drag your pizza off the pan directly onto the oven rack and remove pan from the oven. Of course if you are swanky enough for a pizza stone, you don't have to make all this effort, although you do have to preheat your oven forever. My crispy crust method works best if you've been careful not to let the sauce, cheese and toppings extend beyond the edge of the crust -- thus preventing messes dripping onto the bottom of your oven. Allow to bake directly on rack for 3 to 4 minutes, then use tongs to pull off rack back onto pan and remove from oven. Once I managed to drop an entire pizza on the oven door while doing this, so, you know, don't multi-task too much while performing these tong maneuvers.
Place pizza on wooden cutting board to cool and slice.
My 3yo and 5yo both requested homemade pizza for their birthday dinners. The 5yo likes cheese, the 3yo likes pepperoni.
Makes excellent, excellent leftovers. I prefer mine reheated in the toaster oven.
Note: We are doing a bit of remodeling, getting ready to move, and my eldest just started Kindergarten. Posting may be sporadic for a while, but I am alive.