Homemade pizza, fresh out of the oven, ready in the same time it would take for a pizza to be delivered to your door.
Homemade pizza is tastier and less expensive than most commercially made pizzas, and once you have the details down, it’s simpler than you might expect. If you make the crust ahead of time, you can have homemade pizza in the same amount of time it takes the delivery guy to get to your door.
Makes two 12" pies
For a whole wheat crust, substitute 1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour for half of the all-purpose flour.
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. instant yeast
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. sugar
2 Tblsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 cup lukewarm water
Instructions for dough:
Food Processor Method: Mix the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar together in the food processor. Add the water and oil and process for about 30 seconds, then turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead just until it comes together in a smooth ball.
Stand Mixer Method: (Don’t try this unless you have a heavy-duty mixer.) Mix half of the flour and all of the yeast, salt, and sugar in your mixer bowl. Add the water and oil and beat for about three minutes. Stir in the remaining flour and then knead the dough on a floured surface for about 5 minutes.
By-Hand Method: Mix half of the flour and all of the yeast, salt, and sugar in a large bowl. Add the water and oil and beat for about three minutes with a wooden spatula. Stir in the remaining flour and then knead the dough on a floured surface for about 10 minutes.
The dough should be slightly tacky to the touch but it shouldn’t stick to you or your work surface. If you need to add more water or flour, add it one tablespoon at a time. You will not need much.
Instructions for rising:
Countertop Rising: If you will be using the dough right away, place it in an oiled bowl, cover with a damp cloth or plastic wrap, and allow to rise in a warm spot for 1 to 2 hours.
Refrigerator Rising: If you will be using the pizza dough in the next 6 to 36 hours, place it in an oiled bowl, cover tightly, and refrigerate. Let the dough warm up on the counter for half an hour before using.
Freezer Dough: If you have leftover dough or you want to store the dough for longer than a couple of days, wrap the dough tightly in plastic wrap or a freezer bag and store in the freezer for up to two weeks. Thaw in the fridge for 4 to 8 hours and then let it rise on the counter for about an hour before using.
Assembling and Baking:
Place your top oven rack in the highest position. If you’re using a pizza stone, place it on the rack. If you’re using baking sheets, oil them and set them aside. Twenty minutes before baking (or 40 minutes if you’re using a pizza stone), preheat your oven to 500 degrees F.
Divide the dough into two balls. Press each one into a four-inch disk. Cover and let rest while you prepare your toppings.
Roll one disk into a 12" round. If you are having trouble with the dough contracting after you have rolled it out, try rolling the dough out partway, letting it rest for five minutes and then rolling it out completely. This allows the gluten to relax enough so that the dough will hold its shape.
Just before baking, place the dough on the oiled baking sheet or a pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal.
Brush the dough with olive oil, and then add sauce, cheese, salt and pepper, and toppings. Limit yourself to three toppings and use them lightly to avoid ending up with a soggy crust.
Bake until the crust is nicely browned and the cheese is melted, about 8–12 minutes. Roll out the next crust while the first pizza is baking, but do not place it on the peel or top it until the first pizza is out of the oven.
• Sauté, grill, or lightly steam veggies before using them as toppings.
• Place leafy green veggies and fresh herbs under the cheese to prevent them from drying out during baking.
• Pre-cook meat toppings.
• Don’t be afraid to experiment with different toppings and sauces.
Winter Parsley Pesto
Traditional tomato-based pizza sauce is deeply satisfying, but if you haven’t tried pesto on your pizza—well, it’s a revelation. If fresh basil isn’t available, parsley is a delicious stand-in.
4 cups parsley leaves, loosely packed
1 cup walnuts
1/3 cup olive oil
2–3 Tbsp. lime juice (from 1 lime)
1 Tbsp. minced or crushed garlic
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. salt or to taste
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
Chop the parsley and walnuts fine.
Heat the oil on medium low in a small frying pan. Add the garlic and heat until it starts to brown.
Combine the parsley, oil, garlic, and lime juice in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
Store in the fridge, covered with a tight fitting lid, for up to a week.
A Note About Pizza Stones
If you find yourself baking pizza on a regular basis or if you bake a lot of bread, you may want to invest in a pizza stone and peel. Pizza stones turn out crusts that are the perfect combination of chewy and tender, while the peel functions as a giant spatula that makes getting the pizza on and off the stone as easy as pie.