About 20 years ago, Adrien and I went to a friend’s home for a holiday party — a choose your own topping pizza extravaganza. While I will every so often get sucked in to buying one from the usual suspects and we usually regret it immensely. And while pizza is not generally Weight Watcher territory, everything can be eaten in moderation — and sometimes you just need to have pizza.
There are no specific references for these recipes; I’ve cloned, adapted, and otherwise messed with a whole bunch of them depending on whether or not we’re grilling pizza or using the oven (this being New Year’s Day in New England guess which cooking method we’re employing today).
Homemade Pizza Dough (using a stand mixer works for me)
About a cup of lukewarm water
1 pkg (or if you buy in bulk, 1 tsp) active dry yeast
1 TBSP sugar
1-2 tsp (kosher) salt
1 TBSP olive oil
About 2 1/2 cups flour (I use King Arthur unbleached)
Oil a bowl for resting the dough. Pour the water in a measuring cup, sprinkle the yeast on top and sprinkle the sugar on top of the yeast. Allow the yeast mixture to bubble (sometimes beating this with a fork gets things going).
Meanwhile measure the flour into the mixer bowl. Sprinkle in the salt and blend this dry mixture for a few seconds to get everything mixed up.
Now add the yeast mixture and the olive oil. Create a soft dough that pulls away from the sides of the mixer bowl — not too sticky and gooey, but also not very stiff. Here’s where you might want to either add flour (a couple of TBSP at a time is safe) or a little bit of water, depending on the dough’s consistency. I almost always let the stand mixer do the kneading – but if you like doing things by hand, turn the dough out and knead away!
Turn the dough out into the oiled bowl, turn it over once to coat the dough with the oil, then cover it with plastic wrap and put it somewhere in the kitchen where it’s not drafty. Let the dough rise until it’s at least doubled.
Putting it together
I use a pizza stone and pizza screens. Heat the oven to 450 F or higher. We usually crank up our gas stove to 550 which is as hot as it will go.
Form the pizza (you should get 2 pizzas out of this recipe). Purists will be aghast that we roll the dough out, but hey, this isn’t Naples. Spread sauce on the formed pizza dough, top with sauce* and your favorite toppings.
Bake for about 15 minutes (10 minutes at 550) until everything is bubbly and hot. Watch it! Nothing is sadder than burned cheese or burned crust.
* When in a hurry, San Marzano pizza sauce is really good — there are others, but this is a current favorite; however, a quick sauce can be made with a can of crushed tomatoes, garlic, and olive oil — enough to store for several pizza dinners. Lots less chemical and very tasty.