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!
servings= 4 8″ Pizzas
2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast or one packet
1 1/4 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
3 ½ cups o/o or unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
Pinch of sugar
In a large bowl, whisk yeast, warm water and sugar and let stand for 5 minutes. Add 1 1/4 cups water then one cup of flour whisking until smooth (mixture will be consistency of pancake batter.) Add 2 1/2 cups flour and 2 tsp salt and mix with a wooden spoon until a shaggy dough forms. Turn out dough onto lightly floured surface and knead with your hands 5-10 minutes until dough is supple. Transfer to a large oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size, about 1-2 hours. Divide dough into 4 pieces and form into balls. Place on oiled cookie sheet and cover with plastic wrap. Let ruse about an hour until doubled in size.
Once the dough is done, use your fingers to stretch and flatten it into desired size, around 8-10″ rounds, 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. Bake in a preheated oven at 525 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.