Easy Homemade Pizza
- 1 ¾ cups warmish water not too hot or it will kill the yeast
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 4 ½ cups flour bread flour works best, but you can use all purpose if that’s what you have
- 16 ounces mozzarella cheese
- Assorted toppings – see further down for ideas
- Pour the water into a large bowl and sprinkle the yeast over the top.
- Allow yeast mixture to sit for about 5 minutes until it starts to bubble and smell like a brewery.
- Stir in 4 cups of flour and all of the salt, turn out onto a floured countertop and knead.
- Add in remaining flour in small increments until the dough forms a ball that holds its shape and is only slightly sticky.
- Knead for 10 minutes either by hand or with an electric stand mixer fitted with a dough hook.
- Cover, and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 1-2 hours.
- Once the dough is risen, turn it out onto a floured countertop again and knead until thick and elastic.
- Allow the dough to rest for 5-10 minutes before rolling it out.
- Separate dough into 4 or 5 equal pieces and roll each piece out to about 1/4 inch thickness.
- Transfer crust to an unlined baking sheet (sprinkle sheet with a little coarse cornmeal to keep from sticking).
- Top as you please – I would also recommend adding a sprinkle of garlic powder and oregano – and bake at 425 °F for 13-15 minutes or until the crust is brown and the cheese is bubbly!
Of course you have your basics – cheese, pepperoni, Italian sausage, mushrooms, black olives, green peppers, etc. Here are some more “specialty” ideas to make your pizza pop!
Buffalo chicken pizza
Use ranch dressing for the sauce, top with mozzarella and cut-up cooked popcorn chicken then drizzle with buffalo sauce. Sounds weird but it’s DELICIOUS!
Tomato sauce base, a sprinkle of shredded mozzarella, a few slices of fresh mozzarella, diced tomatoes and fresh basil
Spinach Artichoke pizza
Alfredo sauce base, shredded mozzarella, fresh spinach and diced canned artichoke hearts
Chicken Alfredo pizza
Alfredo sauce base, shredded mozzarella, cut-up cooked chicken breast, roasted garlic
Specialty Garlic pizza
Drizzle good quality olive oil for the “sauce”, shredded mozzarella, LOTS of roasted garlic
Dessert pizza – two ways
- Spread cream cheese on the dough and top with fruit. You can either bake the crust first or bake with the toppings if you like the flavor of cooked fruit.
- Spread softened butter over the dough, top with cinnamon sugar and bake. Drizzle finished product with this easy icing.
The benefit of making your own pizzas is that everyone can top them how they like. It’s SO much less expensive than ordering 4 different pizzas, and it tastes better too!
Obligatory Fictional Backstory
It was fall, and I, a wide-eyed college student, was studying in Rome. Being a college student, I determined that I would do a Tour de Italy, pizza style (because what college student doesn’t LIVE off of pizza??). I ate at every authentic pizzeria I could find (which wasn’t that many but hey). I ate at every pizza chain I could find (which was rather more and not quite as good but still pizza).
All in all I think I ate 490 pounds of pizza in a span of about 4 months. At that point, I went broke (both from college debt and the sheer amount of takeout I was eating), but I couldn’t kick the pizza habit. I just had to have more of that chewy crust covered in acidic sauce and cheesy goodness. So I decided that I would start making my own pizza.
The first couple of tries were not very successful…think bagel bites.
I figured it out. The perfect ratio of flour, water, salt and yeast to re-create the soft but chewy crust of my travels. And the best part? I could make FOUR pizzas for less than the cost of ONE takeout pizza.
I have since joined a gym to keep my weight in check since pretty much all I eat is pizza. I do throw a variety of vegetables onto each one so overall I think I’m getting a fairly balanced diet.
I am now going to write a short essay on why you should never put pineapple on pizza.
First of all, it’s a fruit. Fruit does not belong on pizza unless it’s dessert pizza.
Second of all, who mixes pineapple with cheese? Heathens, that’s who.
Third, the enzymes in the pineapple break down the cheese and make it a weird texture. Heck pineapples have so many enzymes they would digest you if given the chance, you just happen to be able to digest them first.
Fourth, pineapple is really difficult to work with and prep and it’s just not worth the time to do it just for a pizza.
Fifth, I am allergic to pineapple, and it makes my arms and hands burn when the juice touches them. I do not like having it anywhere near me for this reason.
Sixth, okay I hear you there in the back saying “well don’t people eat apples and grapes with cheese?” Yes. Yes they do. I do too, in fact. But NOT ON MY PIZZA! Can you IMAGINE a pizza with apple or grape slices on it? Who would do such a thing? Heathens. Godless heathens, that’s who.
Seventh, I also hear you on the other side of the auditorium saying “well a tomato is a fruit and we use it as a sauce”. Agriculturally speaking, you are correct; however, culinarily speaking, the tomato is classed as a vegetable, not a fruit. Since we are a culinary blog and not an agricultural blog, your point is moot. Good day sir. I said GOOD DAY.
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