Homemade Pizza

This recipe makes two pizzas.

1 cup warm water
2 teaspoons yeast
1 pinch sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup pizza sauce
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
Meat and/or vegetable toppings of choice

Combine water, yeast and sugar in a small bowl or measuring cup. Stir to dissolve yeast, then let sit a few minutes until foamy. Add olive oil to yeast mixture. In a large bowl, combine flour and salt.

If using a heavy duty mixer, attach dough hook and set to slow speed. Add liquid in a slow steady stream and mix until dough is smooth and elastic, but still soft. If dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour.

If mixing by hand, make a well in the flour mixture. Add all the liquid at once and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, but still soft.

Divide in half, shape into balls and place into greased bowls, turning to coat and messy side up. Cover and let rise in warm place 30 minutes. Any longer and the dough gets a very un-pizza-like texture!

Lightly grease two pizza pans. Without punching down, turn bowls over onto pans so dough falls out pretty side up. Using the heel of your hand, press dough into a circle, starting from the center and leaving a raised edge. Spread 1/3 cup pizza sauce onto each pizza, then top each with 1 cup mozzarella. Add desired toppings.

Bake in a 450° oven for 15 minutes, till crust is golden and cheese is bubbly. If the bottom is still a bit softer than you like, slip it off the pan and let it cook directly over the heat for a couple of minutes to crisp.

Notes:  If you’d like to make unfilled crusts for later, bake them at a lower temperature for about fifteen minutes. I’m still experimenting with this, but I’m thinking 250 ought to be about right. Then cool and place into large ziplock bags. (You can reuse these bags, which are a bit expensive, next time.)

I usually sprinkle my pizzas with oregano and garlic powder before baking. Polly-O mozzarella is my favorite; it’s made with whole milk, which is more flavorful than the part-skim varieties, but it is softer and therefore harder to grate. Try partially freezing it before grating.

As for toppings, we like the usual things, like pepperoni or sausage with peppers and onions, or even plain cheese. One of my all time favorites is chopped artichoke hearts, halved cherry tomatoes, and onion slivers. It’s pretty and delicious, and extremely nutritious! You can put nearly anything on a pizza, so experiment with different sauces, cheeses and toppings, and have fun!

2015 UPDATE: We now double the crust recipe and make three big pizzas on <a href=”http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000E2V3X/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B0000E2V3X&linkCode=as2&tag=booksworth09c-20&linkId=MLPCDISJ5LATHSBT”>these Lodge cast iron pizza pans</a><img src=”http://ir-na.amazon-adsystem.com/e/ir?t=booksworth09c-20&l=as2&o=1&a=B0000E2V3X” width=”1″ height=”1″ border=”0″ alt=”” style=”border:none !important; margin:0px !important;” />.  (I have four!)  We also grill them in the summer time.  My grill is big enough for two pans at a time!  🙂

(Originally posted in 2006.)