Homemade Pizza

19 Feb

Homemade Pizza

I like pizza. A lot. There’s something about freshly baked dough covered with melted cheese that makes my heart happy. A few years ago, I started experimenting with making my own pizza. I started simple — with the prepared dough that you can buy from Trader Joe’s. And after many frustrating attempts at rolling out sticky, gooey dough — I was eventually able to create a circle-ish shaped dish that pretty closely resembled pizza. Once I mastered handling TJ’s dough, I started thinking that maybe I should try making my own. So I did. And the pizza got better. Then, I realized that pizza sauce wasn’t much more than tomatoes and spices/herbs, so I looked around and found a recipe for homemade pizza sauce that I liked. And then the pizza started to get really, really good.

I’ve included my favorite recipes for pizza crust and sauce below. Obviously, there are numerous combinations of toppings that you can add to a pizza. Our favorite kind to make is a simple Margherita Pizza, which includes chopped basil, tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese. Feel free to experiment with the toppings of your choice, but if you ask me — mozzarella is a must! Also, be careful not to overload the pizza with toppings or your crust will be soggy.

Notes about the crust:
In our household, we like our pizza crust somewhat thin, so the recipe makes two 12-inch pizzas. However, if you like a thicker, more doughy crust, feel free to combine the dough to make one large pizza crust.

Also, if you have the time (aka you’re not like me and you plan your meals more than just 2 hours before you want to eat), I’ve found that I like the crust even better when the dough has a chance to rest in the refrigerator for 24 hours. When you remove the dough from the fridge, separate it into two balls, cover with greased plastic wrap, and let it come to room temperature (about 30 minutes) before rolling it out.

INGREDIENTS

Dough
1 cup warm water
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups bread flour
2 teaspoons minced garlic

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil

Sauce
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and liquid discarded
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
2 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
1 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
DIRECTIONS

  1. Prepare the dough: Add dough ingredients to bread machine in the order recommended by manufacturer. Select dough cycle, and press start.  (The rising time will vary depending on your machine. Be sure your dough rests for at least 30 minutes to allow it to rise fully.) After cycle is completed you can place dough in an airtight container and refrigerate it overnight (see notes above).
  2. Prepare the sauce: Process all ingredients for the sauce in a food processor until smooth, about 30 seconds. Transfer to medium bowl or container and refrigerate until ready to use.
  3. Bake the pizza: About 30 minutes before baking, adjust oven rack to second-highest position, about 4-5 inches from heating element, place pizza stone on rack, and heat oven to 500 degrees F. Separate dough into two balls. On a well-floured surface, roll out one ball into a 13-inch round. Top the pizza with sauce, cheese, and desired toppings. Transfer pizza to pizza stone heating in the oven and bake until crust is well browned and cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown, 10 to 12 minutes (rotating pizza halfway through).  Remove pizza from oven and let it cool on a wire rack for about 5 minutes. Repeat steps for second ball of dough.

Recipes adapted from America’s Test Kitchen and Allrecipes

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