PizzaIt’s definitely not my favorite food – I can take it or leave it.  And when I tell people that, they tend to look at me as if they’re wondering what it would take to have me legally committed, and if they have the authority to do so.

It’s a tad ironic, really, when you consider the fact that I seem to have moved to the Pizza Capital of the World.  You think I jest, but I do not – there are more pizza joints here in Podunk, Ohio than there are Dunkin’ Donuts shops in Boston.


But don’t get me wrong – I don’t hate pizza, it’s just if we’re going to an Italian restaurant (Podunk also seems to serve as the Italian Restaurant Capital of the World) I’m going to order something else.  Just about anything else, as a matter of fact, and 95% of the time it is not going to include pasta or tomato sauce.

Needless to say, we don’t eat at a lot Italian restaurants, much to the dismay of The Young One, who would eat pizza and pasta every day of his life if it weren’t for his cruel, pizza-and-pasta-disdaining mother.

However, once in a while, I get the urge for a slice of pizza – so I make it.  I like to make pizza myself, because that means I can get it exactly like I want it – a thin, crispy crust with a minimum of tomato sauce, tons of onions, just the right amount of black olives, sausage, mushrooms and cheese, NO pepperoni thankyouverymuch, and pineapple.

Yes, I know – pizza purists around the world are now waving flaming crucifixes and screaming “Heretic!!”  Ask me if I care – I like pineapple on my pizza, damn it.

But I digress.

Making pizza by hand is not hard, although I cursed like a sailor the first time I made it because the recipe I used said the dough was enough for a 10″ pizza, which was utter crap – a 10 centimeter pizza, maybe.  But once I got the crust perfected, I found I can throw a homemade pizza together in the time it takes the rest of the family to decide 1) where they want to get the pizza from 2) the size and quantity of pizza(s) necessary 3) what they want on the pizza(s) and 4) if they want to go out to get it or have it delivered (which in some cases, takes you right back to step 1).

So here is my recipe for pizza crust – what you put on top of it is up to you.  And for the record, I make my pizzas on standard-size cookie sheets, so they’re always square.  I believe this will also make a 12″ – 14″ round pizza if you have round pans.

Pizza Crust

2 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoons dry active yeast)

1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1 cup tepid water (about 90° F)

1/3 – 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

Whisk together the flour, sugar and yeast in a medium-size mixing bowl.  Whisk in the salt next (if the salt comes into direct contact with the yeast, it could kill it).  Make a well in the center and pour in the water.  Using a large spoon, mix the flour into the water until all the flour is moistened and a dough just begins to form, about 20 seconds.  It should come away from the bowl but still be sticky and rough looking.  Do not overmix – you’re not trying to develop the gluten in the flour.

Pour the oil into another medium-size bowl.  With oiled fingers, place the dough in the bowl and turn it to coat all sides.  Cover it tightly with plastic wrap, and let it rise until doubled, about 1 hour.

While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 475° F.  Have an oven shelf at the lowest level and place a baking stone on it, if you have one, before preheating.

When the dough is finished rising, lift the dough out of the bowl and pour a little of the oil onto the pizza pan, spreading it around the pan with your fingers until the pan is lightly coated.  Set the dough on the pan and press it down gently to deflate it.  Shape it into a smooth, round ball by tucking under the edges.  Allow it to sit, covered, for 15 minutes to relax.

Uncover the dough and using your fingertips, press the dough from the center to the outer edges of the pan, leaving the outer 1/2 inch slightly thicker than the rest to form the outer crust.  If the dough resists stretching (which could happen if the gluten was activated by overkneading), cover it with plastic wrap and let it rest for a few more minutes.  (Admittedly, this part takes practice, but once you’ve got it down you can pat out a crust in under 3 minutes).

Brush the surface with the remaining olive oil; cover it with plastic wrap and let it sit for about 45 minutes, until it becomes light and slightly puffy.

Bake the pizza (set the pan directly on the hot baking stone if you have it) for 5 minutes.

Remove from the oven, and add the pizza sauce and toppings of your choice.

Return to the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the crust is crisp and golden.

Again, this does take practice, but once you’ve mastered it, you’ll be amazed at how quickly and easily you can have pizza on the table – I usually double the recipe because The Young One won’t eat anything but sausage, pepperoni and cheese on his pizza and I won’t eat mine without onions and olives.

13 thoughts on “Pizza”

  1. I make homemade pizza quite often actually and you are right that it is easy…it just takes time to get the art of it down. I have taught all 5 of my older kids to make it too and now that they are out on their own, they each make it fairly often Your recipee for the dough is very similar to mine. And I love pineapple on my pizza too!

    Yay! Pineapple pizza lovers unite!

    Loris last blog post..Embracing Your Light

  2. Oh, I love pizza and pasta. I could alternate them daily and be quite happy. I have to say though, that I am too lazy to make my own. Okay, I just don’t have time. Well, really, I hate to cook : ) Luckily we have some decent pizza shops here in Podunk, PA : )

    I totally understand the love of pizza because you don’t have to make it, I really do. And I’ve found that you can get good pizza even in the tiniest of communities in this part of the country; I’m not sure why? Is it geographical? Genetic?

    Lynn K.s last blog post..It’s All Mud

  3. I heart pizza.. just about any kind as long as there are no fish or mushrooms on it. The more stuff they pile on the better. Our favorite Italian restaurant was That’s Amore in Columbia, Maryland… sure hated to move away and give that place up.

    The Blue Ridge Gal

    I like a moderate amount of freshly sliced mushrooms on my pizza (I’m far fonder of fresh mushrooms than I am cooked ones), but Beloved can keep his anchovies to himself! BLECH!

    Dis last blog post..Aww Rats!

  4. I feel the same way about pizza. I’ll eat it and it’s ok … but my “love” of pizza is just that I don’t have to cook.
    And I could totally do without the cheese. But, I’m just goofy that way.

    I can understand the cheese thing, believe it or not. I only like a moderate amount of cheese on my pizza – my daughter likes her pizza smothered in it. That much stringy, melted cheese makes me gag, though.

    Debbies last blog post..A Little Less of Me

  5. Thanks for the tip to put the crust in the oven first and then take out and add other stuff. Duh….how stupid have I been all these years as I curse the soggier than wanted crust each time.

    I don’t care for tomato sauce so I use homemade pesto as my base and then just add thinly sliced roma tomatoes and fresh mozzarella cheese. Oh dear, now I’m hungry for pizza which is NOT on my diet. Ugh…

    Now THAT sounds really, really good! Who says you can’t cook??

    Midlife Slicess last blog post..“Hell and it’s Fury”

  6. Ummm….I gotta challenge you on that Dunkin Donuts thing because I pass 4 on my way to work and I only live like 8 miles away.

    And I’m okay with the pineapple on your pizza, but I’m disgusted by the aluminum coookie sheet! Get thee a pizza stone woman! You will never use aluminum again! And yes they have square stones too!

    M’dear, I have a baking stone and it never leaves my oven, mainly because I bake bread at least once a week. But I can’t pat out a pizza crust on it! I pat out the crust on the cookie sheet, and if I’m in the mood, when the pizza goes back in the oven after I add the toppings, I use the pizza peel and slide it off of the cookie sheet and directly onto the stone for the second baking.

    If I’m in the mood…which, frankly, isn’t often. LOL

  7. I also enjoy pizza, both making it and eating it. When I was growing up, my dad used to make a pizza that you had to eat with a fork. To me, this is awesome. We always went the cheap route, and that too has carried over for me.

    2 – Betty Crocker Pizza Crust Mix
    1 – Jar of Pizza Sauce (I prefer Ragu Homestyle)
    2 – 8 oz bags of shredded cheese (I like using Mozz and Sharp Cheddar)
    At least one – Packet of pepperoni (depending on how much pepperoni you like)
    Additional Toppings
    – Sausage
    – Black Olives
    – Onions
    – Banana Peppers
    – Mushrooms
    – Green Peppers

    Say NO to Pineapple. Good on upside down cake, bad on pizza (I think I’ll prob burn in hell for that comment, but its worth the risk. LOL)

    Assemble and bake for 20-30 minutes on 375. Grab a fork and go to down.

    Its not gourmet, but its damn tasty. Then again, I never claimed to make anything gourmet, I’ll leave that to the wife.

    You used the words “Betty Crocker” on my blog. Tsk, tsk – guess I’ll have to put that down to severe sugar withdrawal. 😛 Actually, dear, my pizza crust is just as cheap as the frozen or ready-to-mix kind. Speaking of the wife, how is she? We haven’t seen you since the Xmas party. Bad, bad!

  8. Briefcase likes pineapple on his pizza. I can’t eat warm fruit. I pick it off! 🙂

    No warm fruit??? That means no apple pie. No peach cobbler. No pear crisp. No pineapple upside down cake.

    You poor thing!

  9. I love homemade pizza so much. i love a great tomato sauce, then wtih peppers and goats cheese and rocket, and some parma ham. MrC thinks the more meat the better, I like the veggies. mmmmm homemade pizza… might make some tonight!!

    I’ve not made a pizza with goat cheese, which is really odd because I LOVE it. What’s “rocket” and “parma ham”?

    I like lots of veggies on mine, too!

    SSGs last blog post..Uncertainty

  10. Of course I can cook, I just don’t want to these days, unless it’s very easy. I think pizza is very easy and I’d eat pesto pizza every day but I have these children who think a pizza isn’t a pizza without tomato sauce and pepperoni’s and tons of grease.

    OH – I forgot to tell you!! Beloved saw your recipe for the black-eyed peas and sausage and began drooling all over his keyboard. He immediately asked, “Can you make that? WILL you make that? It looks GOOD!”

    So, guess what I’m going to make this weekend?

    Midlife Slicess last blog post..Back Off, Mother Nature!

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