Thursday, January 6, 2011

Pizza Crust

If you are following along and ready to try your first bread recipe, I couldn't think of anything easier than pizza crust. No one is going to care what your pizza crust looks like once you've covered it with your toppings.  And if you are looking to stretch your grocery budget, replacing a weekly carry-out with your own homemade pizza would be one simple way to do it.

My mom made pizza every Saturday night for years and I can't even begin to imagine the hundreds of dollars (probably more like thousands with the crowd she was feeding) that she saved. Get your family hooked on homemade pizza and you might spoil them for anything else. 

Ed and I still talk about when we were dating and almost every Saturday night found us eating pizza at my parent's house before heading off for the evening. My family acted like they liked to have us around, it made a cheap date, and we knew we couldn't find better food anywhere else! (Though I'm not saying we never eat out! I've had some hectic days that Ed's words "I'm going to go pick up some stromboli at Brother's" were music to my ears!)

I put this recipe in one jelly roll pan OR divide it into two small round pizza pans. My family prefers a thicker crust but if you prefer a thinner crust, you can divide it into more pans.

Pizza Crust

1 cup warm water
1 T yeast
1 tsp honey
(optional)
3 cup flour (white, whole wheat, or a combination)
3 T oil
1 tsp salt


In a bowl, mix the water, yeast and honey together.
Let sit for a few minutes until it just starts to bubble.
Add flour, oil, and salt. (I've added two tsp of Italian seasoning, just for fun!)
Stir well. You may need to use your hands to form a smooth ball of dough.
Rub a small amount of oil on your counter. Knead the dough for about five minutes. Place in oiled bowl and cover with a towel.
Allow to rise until the dough doubles in size (30-60 minutes). Turn onto an oiled counter. Cut dough into as many pieces as you wish. Allow dough to rest for a few minutes. (You can skip the rest period but it makes it easier to roll out.) Roll your dough until it is big enough for your pan or pans.
Cover with cloth and allow to rise until double.
Spread with sauce.
Sprinkle with desired toppings.

Bake at 425 degree oven for 15 minutes. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

I prefer to mix and knead pizza dough by hand. It is such a small amount of dough to get an electric mixer out. But if I double the recipe, I often use my mixer with a kneading hook. If you have a bread machine, you could stir and knead on the "dough cycle" - not the "bread cycle". At least that is what I've heard! I have no experience with bread machines.

The above directions are what I consider ideal. But what if you don't have much time?
What if you woke up from a Sunday afternoon nap and are hungry for pizza? Or you just got back from a full Saturday of shopping and everyone is hungry now? Here is a couple other options that work quite well!

30 Minute Pizza
Mix up the ingredients as above. Knead dough. Immediately divide into desired portions. Roll out and place in pans. Spread with desired toppings. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Eat!

Make Ahead Pizza
(My friend, Melody shared this method with me. She often makes up her pizza Saturday morning, puts it in the fridge, then can clean up her kitchen for the day, knowing supper is ready!)
Mix. Knead. Roll out. Place toppings. - all as listed above. But instead of baking, cover with plastic wrap and place pizza in the refrigerator. When time to eat, remove pizza. Place in oven and bake.

Tomorrow I'll share some more variations on pizza. I'd love to hear your pizza making tips!

20 comments :

  1. Love making pizza from scratch. You have a good lesson here. We top ours with chicken and spinach. yummy

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  2. Yum. That looks easy! I'll have to try that. Until now, I've only attempted my own once and it was not a good experience. Since then, we buy Trader Joe's dough.

    Do you ever freeze the dough? At what point would you freeze it? I see people make dough and freeze it but they never include that in their instructions.

    I can't wait until you get to a great loaf of bread. Good series!

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  3. I usually do the 30-minute method since I consider pizza to be a fast week night meal around here. But I'm curious what you think about using pizza dough yeast vs. regular baking yeast. Have you tried the pizza yeast and do you notice a difference? Also I find it much easier to life the pizza slices out of the pan if I sprinkle the pan with corn meal before laying down the dough. But maybe that's just me!

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  4. Gina, you know I have been searching forever for the right pizza crust recipe. I'll be giving this a try, perhaps Friday night. I love that it has the herbs in the crust. My husband will go wild over that!

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  5. How many pans do you make out of one mixture?
    Thanks for the recipe, it looks great.

    Carlene

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  6. We love homemade pizza, too! At first, it didn't taste like "real" pizza, but I mixed my home-milled wheat with some unbleached flour. Then I went to white wheat instead of red wheat for a milder flavor. Recently I purchased durum to mill for things with Italian flavors. Now we are so accustomed to wholegrain crust that the stuff from the pizza chains is a disappointment . . . . . . .We have lots of ham left from Christmas, so I'm going to dice some to go on the pizza with a little pineapple this weekend. The dog gets some of the edges. He likes it as well as his biscuits!! . . . . . . . We often replace the tomato-base sauce with ranch dressing. Just jazz it up with some Parmesan cheese and extra herbs and garlic. Makes a tasty topping.

    PS Ordered Steve Solomon's gardening book. Thanks for the review. ~Liz

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  7. I was just "speaking" with an internet friend about hm pizza and the fact that my children love hm pizza so much that my oldest won't eat the pizza that they serve at his school!!

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  8. We love homemade pizza and even my 11 year old can make the crusts! I will give your recipe a try next time we make pizza!

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  9. Glad to know that I'm not the only one who loves homemade pizza!

    Mermaid -
    I occasionally freeze dough or refrigerate dough. As soon as I mix it up (before rising) I put the dough in a greased bag. In the fridge it will last for several days and actually improve in flavor. In the freezer it will last for months. Thaw it in the fridge before using.

    Monica-
    I have never used pizza yeast. I'm not even informed enough to know the difference. I just use regular instant yeast. Thanks for your hint on cornmeal. I've seen that in recipes but never have tried it.

    Carlene-
    How many pans you use depends on how thick you like your crust. Ed loves a thick crust so I usually use one batch in a jelly roll pan OR split into two round pizza pans.

    LizBeth -
    I have been wanting to try duram flour. You might have just given me the shove to actually do it!

    Gina

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  10. We love making pizza here, and I love making my own dough..we loke ours bacon, chiken ranch or a loaded garden veggie!! Thanks for the recipe will have to try yours!
    Joy

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  11. We have been making pizza at home for about a year using Peter Reinharts recipe from Artisan Breads Every Day. He recommends in the fridge overnight for up to 4 days, or you can freeze it after mixing together. I have made the pizza the same day as the dough and it's just as yummy. We also tried an experiment this past December. We assembled pizzas on parchment paper, then wrapped with saran and froze them pre-baked on a cookie sheet. Once they were frozen, I took them off of the cookie sheet and stacked them in the freezer. We did a total of 12! It was nice having all of my pizza prepping utilized for a larger quantity of pizzas. We do have a spare freezer which makes this easier! On the day we wanted to eat pizza, we heat our oven to 500 with a baking stone inside for at least an hour. At the same time as turning the oven on, or even earlier, we'd take our choice of pizza(s) out and let them take the chill off. They didn't take long at all, maybe 10 minutes, and they tasted great! I do admit, they are not as great as a freshly prepared and baked pizza. The rise tended to be a little more thin crusted. But, we certainly enjoyed them and enjoy the financial savings also! Not to mention the time saved from doing it at once.

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  12. Annie - I love your idea of pre-making some crusts!

    Gina

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  13. I love the dating stories.

    We make pizza pretty often - our dough is similar to yours - recipe in More with Less. I use a round pan with holes in it and grease it lightly. And I turn my oven up to 450 to bake it.

    We love spreading pesto on the dough instead of tomato sauce, then a light sprinkle of cheese with some sauteed greens and garlic. Maybe some olives.

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  14. I thought I'd add to the comments on how I guarentee my yeast to rise. I add the sugar (about a table spoon) in the cup of warm water, with the yeast and mix it. I then cover the cup and let the yeast grow until it reaches the top, and add it to the flour. This just seems to give it the jump start I need! :).

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  15. Thanks for another great recipe, Gina. I have been trying to find a good pizza recipe for some time. Your crust was so good. I love the herbs in it. (I added some crushed red pepper to mine too for extra zip.) I also LOVE the make-it-on-Saturday-morning idea. I did it a bit after lunch and popped in the fridge and went shopping. When I came home I only needed to poke it in the oven. It turned out very well. I will be doing this some more. Thanks again for a great blog.

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  16. Hi Gina,

    I have not been brave enough to make my pizza with 100% whole wheat. I fear my family will not like it since I have been making homemade pizza forever, long before we changed to milling our own wheat. But I'd like to give your recipe a try for pizza crust. Do you use soft or hard wheat?

    Tammy

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  17. Tammy -
    I use hard wheat. When I was transitioning to whole wheat pizza dough, I slowly increased the whole wheat flour. It probably took me a year before I made 100% whole wheat. Now my family loves it!
    Gina

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  18. Thank you! It was perfect and so yummy! I love your recipes.

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  19. I did it! I did it! Yay! My fear of yeast has been conquered! :)

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  20. I love your blog! I made your pizza crust recipe for supper tonight and it was great! I used multigrain flour so it had lots of texture. I didn't have any Italian seasoning so I used 2 heaping tbsp of bread crumbs that were seasoned with Italian seasoning instead of the 3rd cup of flour and it turned out so crispy and delicious. I can't wait to see what recipes you post next!

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I'm still learning how to be a joyful homemaker and I'd love to hear from you!

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