One thing that Husband and I have been doing over the last several months is attempting to cut back on how much money we’re spending on pre-made foods. Including ordering pizza (we were spending several hundred dollars a month ordering out pizza, for just the two of us). It was pretty sad.
So I set about on a quest to make my own pizza dough. And found this recipe on King Arthur Flour’s site. I’ve modified it a bit, but I recommend reading that page. They include instructions for storage of the dough in the fridge (which I’ve done for up to a couple weeks), AND instructions on how to pre-bake the crusts for even faster and easier pizza later.
2 teaspoons active dry yeast or instant yeast
7/8 to 1 1/8 cups lukewarm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
pepper (fresh ground please!)
red pepper flakes
1) If you’re using active dry yeast, dissolve it, with a pinch of sugar, in 2 tablespoons of the lukewarm water. Let the yeast and water sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, until the mixture has bubbled and expanded. If you’re using instant yeast, you can skip this step. Here is where I add in my spices. A good firm shake of both the garlic and onion powder, don’t skimp! Several grinds of fresh ground pepper, and good sprinkle of red pepper flakes into the water with the yeast.
2) Combine the dissolved yeast (or the instant yeast) with the remainder of the ingredients. Mix and knead everything together—by hand, mixer or bread machine set on the dough cycle—till you’ve made a soft, smooth dough. If you’re kneading in a stand mixer, it should take 4 to 5 minutes at second speed, and the dough should barely clean the sides of the bowl, perhaps sticking a bit at the bottom. Don’t over-knead the dough; it should hold together, but can still look fairly rough on the surface.
3) To make pizza now: Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl, and allow it to rise till it’s very puffy. This will take about an hour using instant yeast, or 90 minutes using active dry. If it takes longer, that’s OK; just give it some extra time.
4) Decide what size, shape, and thickness of pizza you want to make. This recipe will make one of the following choices:
Two 1/2″-thick 14″ round pizzas;
Two 3/4″-thick 12″ round pizzas;
One 3/4″ to 1″-thick 13″ x 18″ rectangular (Sicilian-style) pizza ;
One 1 1/2″-thick 9″ x 13″ rectangular pizza;
One 1″-thick 14″ round pizza.
5) Divide the dough in half, for two pizzas; or leave it whole for one pizza.
6) If you’re making a rectangular pizza, shape the dough into a rough oval. For a round pizza, shape it into a rough circle. In either case, don’t pat it flat; just stretch it briefly into shape. Allow the dough to rest, covered with an overturned bowl or lightly greased plastic wrap, for 15 minutes.
7) Use vegetable oil pan spray to lightly grease the pan(s) of your choice. Drizzle olive oil into the bottom of the pan(s). The pan spray keeps the pizza from sticking; the olive oil gives the crust great flavor and crunch.
8) Place the dough in the prepared pan(s). Press it over the bottom of the pan, stretching it towards the edges. You’ll probably get about two-thirds of the way there before the dough starts shrinking back; walk away for 15 minutes. Cover the dough while you’re away, so it doesn’t dry out.
9) When you come back, you should be able to pat the dough closer to the corners of the pan. Repeat the rest and dough-stretch one more time, if necessary; your goal is to get the dough to fill the pan as fully as possible.
10) Allow the dough to rise, covered, till it’s noticeably puffy, about 90 minutes (if it hasn’t been refrigerated); or 2 to 2 1/2 hours (if it’s been refrigerated). Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 450°F.
11) Bake the pizza on the lower oven rack till it looks and feels set on top, and is just beginning to brown around the edge of the crust, but is still pale on top. This will take about 8 minutes for thinner crust pizza; about 10 to 12 minutes for medium thickness; and 12 to 14 minutes for thick-crust pizza. If you’re baking two pizzas, reverse them in the oven (top to bottom, bottom to top) midway through the baking period.
12) To serve pizza immediately: Remove it from the oven, and arrange your toppings of choice on top. Return to the oven, and bake on the upper oven rack for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until the crust is nicely browned, both top and bottom, and the cheese is melted. Check it midway through, and move it to the bottom rack if the top is browning too much, or the bottom not enough.
We usually get two (kinda) circular pizzas out of a batch of dough, which is enough for the two of us to totally stuff ourselves on. It also divides nicely into 4s for a good sized “personal pizza”.
Also, if you like a thin crust pizza you don’t have to let it rise nearly as much as they say. I generally get it stretched into shape on parchment papper, and then pre-heat the oven. Once the oven is pre-heated (along with the pizza stone) in it goes!
Making my own pizza sauce is next on the list of things I want to do. We’ve been buying a “pizza sauce” sold by Wegmans, its WAY better than any “pizza” or “tomato” sauce I’ve previously tried for home-made pizza, but I’d really like to get this as much home-made as possible….