Pizza. I’ve never been a big fan of a slice of pizza, dripping with tomato sauce and tons of melted cheese on top. Not to talk about the toppings you can have on a pizza that some are too bizarre for me. The oily fingers and the never ending amount of napkins you need have never been my thing.
That is until I started making my own pizza. Then a whole new world of opportunities opened up and pizza became a fun, fast and truly delicious option.
We have had friends over for pizza dinners and had fresh, hot pizza come out of the oven one after the other with the tastiest toppings.
When Roy, my husband, found out a couple of years ago he was dairy allergic, pizza was one of the things we took off the menu. Again, until we started making our own and discovered that making a dairy free pizza is just as easy, tasty and juicy as a dairy one.
Experimenting with pizza dough recipes is fun and hard because most recipes are pretty good. Some are better for thick crust and some for thin crust (my personal favorite), but most are good.
There is one recipe that is my true favorite and that is King Arthur’s Pizza Recipe. It’s very easy to make, works perfectly even if you don’t have time to let it rise and is a winner every time- the pizza will be crispy and full of flavor.
In our house pizza is a big hit. The kids love it because they tell us everything they want on it and how and where to put everything and enjoy every bite. Most of the times they help roll out the dough, spread the tomato paste and make the pizzas. They even love taking the leftovers for lunch the next day.
You can make a pizza dinner in literally no time. Preparation of the dough takes about 10 minutes, if you have time let it rest and rise half an hour (or however long it takes you to get the things you’d like on it ready….), rolling out and spreading everything another 5-8 minutes and baking in a very hot oven 15-20 minutes, while you set up the table.
2 teaspoons active dry yeast or instant yeast
About 1 cup of lukewarm water
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cups flour
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
We actually just had pizza last night but we did not get around to take pictures so I will add pictures next pizza night…
A word about Yeast– there are many different ways of using yeast. When using fresh yeast, some like to dissolve them first in a bit of the water to get them started and to wait until they start to bubble before adding to the flour. In sugary doughs, I find that this helps especially if you add water and a tablespoon of sugar. But, in doughs like pizza dough, I see no need for it. Use the fresh yeast like you use active dry yeast and you get the same final outcome.
The dough: Mix yeast, oil, flour and salt together, add water as needed while kneading the dough. I like to knead by hand but you can use a mixer as well. Once you get a nice smooth dough let it rest. I have to admit that MANY times, I just skip the resting and roll the dough out and if you like thin crust pizzas…. it will be a fabulous one. Even if you like thick soft crusted pizzas, it will work- just roll it thicker.
Before starting to make the pizza make sure your oven is on on at least 450F, 220C.
Making the pizza: Roll out the dough on a floured surface to the size you like. Pick up the pizza, turn it around, don’t be afraid- it will help it stretch. I personally don’t flip them in the air but…. it’s worth trying….
Once your pizza is rolled out (we usually make 1 big pizza and one medium pizza from this dough) it’s time to get creative.
Ideas for pizza:
* Tomato paste, Sliced fresh Mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, olives, basil leaves, oregano and kosher salt.
* Prepare a mix of ground beef, celery and spices (salt, pepper, garlic) in a pan and cool it, spread over the pizza with or without Parmesan cheese.
* Tomato paste, tuna, corn, sliced onions, sliced mushrooms, spices-oregano, basil, pepper. Usually we don’t add cheese.
* Brush a thin layer of olive oil on the pizza, place thin sliced sirloin beef, basil leaves, thin sliced onions, crushed garlic and spices-pepper and kosher salt.
* Brush a thin layer of olive oil or tomato paste, place tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, olives, mushrooms and onions, with or without cheese.
And as I said be either creative and put what you like, or what you have available in your fridge/cabinets.
Place the pizza in a very hot oven. If you use a pizza stone, place it on the bottom of the oven before turning it on. It needs to be very hot. Sprinkle corn flour on the stone to prevent the dough from sticking.
If using a pan you can either place baking paper or brush it with olive oil to prevent it from sticking.
Place the pizza on a low rack to get a crispy crust.
If you have a broiler, I recommend placing the pizza in the broiler for another minute or two (watch it carefully!) before taking it out to get both top and bottom of the pizza well done.
After you take the pizza out, put some slices of fresh tomatoes and or fresh avocado on top. The hot and cold are a great combination.
Try it and you will love your home made pizza and go back and make it again and again!
No industrial pizza will be better than a homemade one. Ever.
Let me hear from you!