DIY: Homemade Pizza

I feel like I need to contribute something to the DIY around this house. Andy is building something stressful as we speak.

I love pizza. Not in your typical high schooler way. I mean, I LOVE pizza. In high school Andy and I both worked at a famous Chicago deep dish pizza restaurant [I actually worked there on and off during and after college]. When we worked there I often ate it multiple times a week…sometimes a day.

from here

That doesn’t mean I’m a pizza snob though. Far from it. I can enjoy fancy schmancy pizza creations and Little Caesar’s $5 Hot and Ready with equal enthusiasm.

My favorite pizza though is my own. Making homemade pizza for someone is an expression of love for me. You know I want to be your friend when I invite you over for pizza. One thing I love about my new kitchen is the big peninsula – perfect  for laying out pizzas. Shut up, yes I did think about that when we did kitchen plans.

Most people are really surprised that I make my own dough. My mom made hers from scratch when I was growing up, so it’s just what I’m used to. In a pinch, I love Trader Joe’s dough in a bag [it’s like $1 and pretty healthy]. But my favorite is my own. Normally on Sundays we have youth group [we volunteer with the junior highers at our church – yes we like them]. But yesterday it was cancelled so Andy and I both felt it was a great opportunity to make a favorite Sunday meal.

I get a lot of requests to share my pizza recipe. It’s pretty basic, but I’ve learned a few tricks along the way. I have other recipes I try out sometimes [including a beer pizza recipe – super good for grilling] but this is the classic.

Becca’s Homemade Pizza Dough

4 cups flour [I just use all-purpose, some recipes call for specialty kinds]
2 t. yeast
8-11 oz. warm water
3 T olive oil
Garlic powder, italian seasoning, whatever you want to flavor it a little

I usually make mine in my bread maker, so it does all the kneading and rising for you. However, it’s easy to do by hand, just time-consuming.

Mix the dry ingredients together, then slowly add the oil and water. Mix with a wooden spoon first. Once ingredients are moistened, use your hands to knead the dough. Keep kneading it until it is soft, stretchy, and not too sticky. You will probably need to add a little water or flour as you go to get to the right consistency. Kneading will take about 10 minutes.

Then put the dough in an oiled bowl. Cover it with a damp cloth and put it somewhere warm. Let it rise for about an hour. If you’re in a rush you can cut the rising down a little, but not much. Rising is essential to get that soft, fluffy dough.

Once it’s about double its original size, start stretching the dough to make a pizza. Add flour to your hands as necessary. If you want thicker dough, keep it thick. If you want thinner, use less of the dough. This recipe will make one 14 inch pizza of hand tossed “depth” or two smaller ones. I like to bake my pizza on a screen like the one below. That gets it crispy. Make sure you oil or spray your pan with Pam or it will stick! I’ve seen these at GFS. The one below is from Amazon, found here. You can also do it on a pizza pan or a baking stone.

Once the dough is stretched how you want it, sauce it up, layer on cheese and toppings. Sorry I don’t have measurements for that. I just do it til it looks right.

Bake at 425 for 10 minutes or until it’s at your desired doneness. I set mine right on a cutting board and cut it there. Enjoy!

Tricks & Tips

  • If you want to shorten the rising time you can “proof” the dough. Boil water in a pot. Turn your oven on to the lowest temperature it will go. Once it’s heated, turn it off. Put the water on the lower rack and your bowl of dough on the top rack. It will take about half hour.
  • If you want to make dough in the morning to bake at night, get it through the knead stage, then put it in a bowl and put in the refrigerator. Let it rise at least 8, up to 12 hours. Set it on the counter to come to room temperature before you stretch it into pizza, or it will get dense and chewier.
  • You can freeze dough. I let mine rise normal, and then anything I don’t want to use I put into a ziplock [I spray it with Pam first], suck all the air out, and toss in the freezer. Just take it out and let it get to room temperature [a few hours] when you decide to use it!

I hope it works out well for you! Experiment! Try it with whole wheat flour, bbq sauce, even beer instead of water. Just invite me over when you make it!


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