ZA! There is no one on the planet who loves pizza more than me. I eat it at least once a week and, when I was in Italy, it was my lunch every day. I used to only get pizza from the pizzeria until I learned the tricks of making quality pizza at home. For National Pizza Day, give it a try to make it at home!
There are two techniques that you must master when making pizza at home.
First, you must master making the dough. Sure, you can buy dough in the grocery store and it’s fine. But you don’t know how long it’s been sitting in that plastic bag and it looks really sad. I will give you my recipe for making dough that is so amazing, you’ll never buy it again. And, it costs less than 50 cents to make yourself. Second, you must not be afraid to crank up your oven to the highest temperature it goes. The oven must be blazing hot to make the crust taste like good pizzeria quality pizza.
Toppings are versatile. Sometimes I use leftover sausage ragu or peperonata. I rarely buy anything special for a topping – I use whatever I have. I prefer vegetarian pizza; my husband is a pepperoni man, so usually make 2 pizzas so that we have some leftover. The crust that I make is so perfect that it doesn’t get the limp the next day; it’s just as delicious as when it was fresh.
The dough does need to rise twice and it takes 3+ hours, but remember – you can go about your business during this time and just leave it. Go run errands, do work, take a bath, go to the gym. You don’t need to babysit it. This dough is so soft when it completes the second rising, it is like a baby’s butt.
Pop a cork on some great Chianti or Malbec and enjoy!
- 1 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
- ½ cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
- 1 ½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Step 1 In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over warm water and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir until dissolved.
- Step 2 In a large bowl or Kitchen Aid mixer, stir flour and salt together. Add the yeast mixture and knead until dough forms, about 12 minutes. Shape it into a ball. Place the dough in a floured bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free location until doubled, about 2 hours.
- Step 3 Punch down the dough and knead briefly on a floured surface to remove any air bubbles. Leave the ball on the floured surface and invert a bowl over it or return it to the floured bowl with plastic wrap. Let it double in bulk again, about 1 hour.
- Step 4 Once the dough is done, use your fingers to stretch and flatten it into a 12-inch round, turning the dough over a few times while you work. Place the dough on a sheet pan sprinkled with cornmeal. Proceed to dress your pizza with sauce and the desired toppings.
- Step 5 Bake in a preheated oven at 550 degrees or as high as your oven goes for about 15 minutes until brown and crisp. Let set to cool for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.