When my bonus kids come to visit one of the dinner items they request is homemade pizza. Since I learned to make my own dough it’s become our favorites over any store or chain bought pizza. Who doesn’t like to make their own pizza? We all love that we can have as many toppings as we want and it’s always different. We take a bunch of leftovers and usually cook up some mushrooms and caramelize some onions because in our house everything is better with onions and mushrooms. The only item we usually end up purchasing is pepperoni for my 10-year-old who would sit and eat an entire package in one sitting. 🙂
Sunday night we had baby spinach, broccoli, caramelized onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, hamburg, turkey pepperoni, black olives for topping choices and the option of typical red sauce or olive oil. Cheese is a whole other story. We always have Mozzarella in the house (usually the bag of shredded but nothing beats fresh in my book). Other great cheeses to use include Goat cheese, Fontina, Gruyère, Smoked Gouda or Parmigiano-Reggiano. The up and down side to any of these thought is their melting point and how their flavor meld with your toppings. I say experiment away and see what combinations you like best.
Now for the crust…..I use my go-to bread recipe typically adding flavors from herbs to garlic to curry. For the pizza dough I stick with just herbs though one of these days I’m going to try garlic in it.
Herbed Pizza Dough
(adapted/adjusted from Anne Mahle’s recipe for Crusty Peasant Bread in At Home, At Sea)
1 1/2 tablespoons dry yeast
1 tablespoon salt
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons of dried herbs (I typically use 1 tbs basil, 1/2 tbs oregano, 1/2 tbs thyme)
2 cup warm water, reserve 1/4 cup and add as needed
2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus a little for the top of the dough
Cornmeal for dusting
Combine the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Add in the oil and 1 1/2 cups of the water – holding back 1/2 a cup of the water.
Mix together until the dough begins to form into a ball. If it needs more water add in a tablespoon at a time until it all comes together and there are no flour bits at the bottom. Knead the bread for 15-20 minutes.
In a bowl put a bit of oil and the dough, swirl around so the sides of the bowl are coated (this is so the dough won’t stick as it rises). Top the dough with a bit of olive oil – I find if I swirl enough the oil from the bowl coats the whole dough ball. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest, in a draft free space, for an hour or until the dough doubles in size.
Preheat your oven to 500 degrees and start getting all your toppings ready. If you are cooking your pizza on a baking sheet sprinkle corn meal on the pan so the dough doesn’t stick. If you are cooking on a pizza stone sprinkle your wooden paddle with the cornmeal.
Take a baseball size hunk of the dough and work from the center out to make a flat circle. Mine usually end up in a square – it’s part of the fun of making your own pizza – fun shapes!
Once your pizza is put together and in the oven I find 10-17 minutes is my average – on a pizza stone. It really depends on how thick you have your crust. Starting a 10 minutes check your crust. It will have puffed up around the edges but may not turn golden brown. I usually check by using the paddle to lift up one side – if it tilts stiffly and doesn’t bend I call it done.
That’s it. This recipe has become a family favorite both for bread and pizza dough. If you give it a try – let me know how it turns out for you. 🙂
Oh and a P.S. – this dough freezes quite nicely so if you don’t use all the dough (or make a double batch like I do sometimes) just triple wrap the dough and plunk it in the freezer. It makes a great quickie dinner for those busy nights. This summer I’m going to try grilled it so I don’t have to heat up the kitchen when those hot and muggy temps hit.