Oh, Pizza…. You have my heart! You can pretty much guarantee that I am up for pizza any day of the week and any time of the day!
I was a normal person that enjoyed pizza for many years, but this love affair went to new heights when I was pregnant with my second son. Morning sickness was all day sickness with him. And the ONLY thing I could keep down was pizza. I know. It’s ridiculous. But a hot pepperoni pizza made me so happy and I didn’t feel queasy or hungry. I am not lying when I tell you I ate pizza at least 3-4 times a week for a solid 5 months!
Ordering pizza 3-4 times a week is NOT budget friendly! So, during those months I began experimenting with my homemade dough recipe and process. I discovered it’s not just about the dough, but also the way you bake the pizza that gives it that gourmet pizza taste.
First MUST for homemade pizza:
Make the dough at least 3 hours before baking.
I will be honest and admit that I don’t always follow this rule myself. If I decide to make pizza last minute and only have 15 minutes for the dough to rest before making the pizzas they still turn out totally delicious. However, the more time the dough rests the better the crust will be.
You can make the dough the day before you plan to make pizza and keep it in the fridge. Make sure to put it in a large bowl covered with plastic wrap to allow the dough to continue to expand.
Second MUST for homemade pizza:
Hot, hot, hot oven!
Pizza ovens are freaky hot! This is not the time to do a low and slow approach. You need your oven set at it’s hottest temperature! 500-550˚F is where my oven is normally set when I make our pizzas. You want the dough to get crispy on the bottom and the cheese to be melted and bubbly, but still have a slight doughy-chewiness.
If you have never set your oven that high, trust me. It will be worth it!
Here are some tips for making your homemade pizza experience even better.
I love my Pastry Mat when rolling out pizza dough. It also is helpful for rolling out pies, cookies, & cinnamon rolls. Keeps my counters clean and has measurements on the mats for guides on sizes.
A good Rolling Pin is essential for rolling out this dough. I prefer a wooden rolling pin. But use what you are comfortable with.
Baking your pizza on a hot Pizza Stone gives your pizza that fresh gourmet pizza taste. Place it in the oven when you preheat it to get it nice and hot.
If you are transferring a pizza directly to the hot stone, you need a way to get it there. A Pizza Peel is the best and safest way to transfer your pizza to the oven and remove the baked pizza. Sprinkle a little cornmeal onto the pizza peel before placing the dough on it to help the dough slide off the peel onto the stone.
- 4-4 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/4 cup Olive Oil
- 2 cups warm Water
- 1 1/2 tbsp Dry Active Yeast
- 2 tbsp Sugar
- Cornmeal for dusting
- Tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, pepperoni and other pizza toppings desired
- Dissolve sugar & yeast in warm water. Set aside to proof 5 minutes
- In large mixing bowl or mixing bowl of stand mixer combine 4 cups flour, salt, & olive oil.
- Using a dough hook, turn on mixer and begin slowly pouring in yeast water. Or if mixing by hand, stir in yeast water a little at a time.
- Gradually increase speed of mixer until all flour and dough is combined. If mixing by hand, stir until dough begins to form.
- If dough is sticky add a little flour at a time until it begins to pull away from the walls of the bowl.
- Allow mixer to knead dough for 3-5 minutes. Or knead by hand for 3-5 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic.
- Place dough in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise in a warm place. (Or put in fridge for 24 hrs)
- Divide dough into 4 portions and shape into balls.
- Sprinkle flour on a rolling mat and dust rolling pin with flour. Take a ball of dough, flatten and begin rolling out to desired size.
- Dust pizza peel with cornmeal and carefully transfer pizza dough to pizza peel.
- Add sauce and toppings to pizza. Be careful not to overload the pizza as it will be difficult to slide off of the peel.
- Slide pizza onto pizza stone in 550˚F oven. Bake for 5-8 minutes or until cheese is melted and slightly browned. Use pizza peel to remove pizza from oven.
If you don’t have a pizza stone or peel, don’t worry! You can still make homemade pizza! Just assemble your pizza directly on any baking sheet you desire. (I have used my large baking sheets) Make sure to give them a quick spray with cooking spray before placing the dough on. And bake just like you would on the stone. It may take a few minutes longer for the crust to brown and cheese to melt since you aren’t starting with a hot pan.
I hope this satisfies your pizza craving! Now I am craving pizza again….
Happy Pizza Life,
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