I know there are as many recipes for pizza and pizza crust as there are cooks. And I am in no way saying that I am anything like an authentic Italian cook. I just know what I like and what my family likes and we happen to really like this pizza. You may be thinking, “why would I want to go to all the trouble to make a pizza crust from scratch when I can just pick up the phone and order.” Well, for me, it’s just one of those I-want-to-know-I-can-do-it things.
Also, I love working with yeast doughs. Years ago I used to make all our bread from scratch. There’s something just so satisfying about working that dough until it becomes a smooth, beautiful ball under your hands. Then the whole rising process, and the absolutely wonderful yeasty smell while it’s cooking. There’s not much better in the world than a slice of still warm bread with butter. Sorry I wandered away a bit there. Got lost in homemade bread territory, but I’m back on the pizza track now. If you’d like to try making a from-scratch pizza for your family, then here’s what you need:
2 tsp. honey
1 pkg. active dry yeast
¾ cup warm water (100-110 degrees)
2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour, divided
½ tsp. salt
1 tblsp. olive oil
Pizza sauce (I use Ragu, but if you want to make your own please do!)
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
4 oz. shredded sharp Provolone cheese
2 oz. grated Parmesan cheese
Fresh or dried Italian seasonings (basil, oregano, etc.)
Here’s what you do:
Dissolve the honey and yeast in ¾ cup warm water in a large bowl. Let stand 5 minutes or until slightly bubbly. Spoon flour into dry measuring cup and level with a knife. Add 2 cups flour and salt to yeast mixture and mix until a soft dough forms.
By the way, if you don’t have one of those little instant read thermometers, run out right now and buy one. You’ll never regret it. I use mine for all kinds of things like testing the temperature of water for dough and checking the doneness of meats. They’re such a help in the kitchen.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 minutes, adding enough of the remaining flour a small amount at a time to prevent dough from sticking to your hands. The dough will feel slightly sticky.
At this point, I let the dough rest for just few minutes while I wash and dry the mixer bowl. Then put the dough in the mixer bowl coated with cooking spray. Turn dough over to coat top with oil. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°) 30 minutes or until doubled in size. I let mine rise in the oven. Test by gently pressing two fingers into dough. If the indentation stays, the dough has risen enough.
Preheat the oven to 450°.
Roll dough into a 12-inch circle about ¼ inch thick on a lightly floured surface. Move dough to a lightly oiled pizza pan and crimp edges to form a rim. Prick dough all over surface with a fork and lightly oil with olive oil. Bake for 5-10 minutes or until dough is “set” but not cooked through. Remove from oven.
Top the pizza dough with a light layer of sauce. A really light layer. I think many a pizza has been ruined by using too much sauce. I think it makes the dough soggy, but that’s just my two cents. Of course, you can top yours any way you like. This is the way we like it around here. Sprinkle with mozzarella and provolone cheese. Sprinkle with Italian seasoning or basil/oregano and arrange pepperoni on top. Add other toppings if desired. In the photo above I added black olives, mushrooms and lightly sauteed onions and bell peppers. Sprinkle parmesan on top.
Bake for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbly.