May 26, 2015

Homemade Pizza Tutorial

Most home cooks have a signature move: mine is homemade pizza. (I have a few other personal faves, mostly based around curry or pickled onions/beets/radishes/anything, but my people get weird about those.) But homemade pizza? Homerun every time. Because ‘Merica.

I usually post my recipes willy-nilly on Facebook only to have you send me 937 emails asking where it is two weeks later because “YOU CAN’T FIIIIIIIIIIND IT,” so I decided to put this one on le blog so it can be pinned or whatever the heck.

Outside of a few fresh ingredients, you almost always have everything you need for homemade pizza. Let’s do this:

Dough (2-3 hours before you are ready to make the pizza)

(It is so worth it to make your own dough. This is so easy, even a caveman can do it in his electric mixer.)

1 tsp active yeast (or half of a package)
1 tsp sugar
4 C flour
1 tsp sea salt
1/3 C olive oil
1 T honey

Sprinkle yeast in 1 1/2 cups of warm water with a tsp of sugar. Let it proof and bubble while you do the rest.

In your electric mixer (or a bowl), put in flour and salt and mix on low. While still mixing, drizzle in the olive oil until incorporated. Stir the yeast water and drizzle into the dough mixture while mixing on low. Add the honey. Let your mixer knead for around 4-5 minutes, or you can obviously do this by hand. (The fatal dough flaw: undermixing. If you knead it long enough, it will become pliable and smooth. Not enough and it is sticky and crumbly.) Drizzle a bit of olive oil in a clean bowl, put the ball of dough in and coat it all around, and cover the bowl with a damp towel for 2-3 hours to let it rise. I usually keep this near my stove where it is warm.

This whole thing takes 10 minutes. Why does dough seem “fancy”??

House Sauce (1 hour before Pizza Time)

You know how much I abhor being dramatic (sarcasm font), but this sauce is LIFE. I make this once a week. I’ll include the doubled recipe quantities, because if you aren’t doubling your House Sauce to freeze for next time, I guess you just hate yourself.

1/2 C extra-virgin olive oil
1 T red pepper flakes
6-8 cloves chopped fresh garlic
28 oz can organic tomato puree*
15 oz can organic crushed tomatoes*
Some balsamic vinegar (I don’t know…3 T?)
Sugar (this is to taste…I probably use 1/4 cup)

* First, a word about the tomatoes. I use Muir Glen, and there is really nothing you can ever say to make me change my mind. DO NOT GET SOME JANKY TOMATO SAUCE FROM THE BOTTOM SHELF. I am so serious. This sauce is only as good as the ‘maters. Cento is a 2nd place brand if my store punks out on the Muir Glen. Fresh, homegrown peeled tomatoes are the Prom Queen of this recipe in the summer obvs, but how many of us are going to boil and peel 20 tomatoes when we could open a can? We are already making our own dough. Good lord, what do you want from us??

On low heat (LOW! If you burn that garlic, there is no point in living), put in the olive oil, red pepper flakes, and chopped garlic for 3-4 minutes until it starts to smell like Jesus’ corner of heaven. Add everything else and – this is my least favorite part – whisk until all that oil is incorporated. This takes longer than I am happy about. I usually have to switch to left-handed whisking to get through it. #thestruggleisreal

Taste and adjust (I usually like more sugar than the average bear), but remember that this develops after cooking. Keep the heat low, cover, and let it bubble and simmer for at least an hour. Taste, taste, taste. A good home cook should be very familiar with Scorched Tongue Syndrome because evidently we cannot wait 10 seconds for our spoonful to cool.

Note: If you like your sauce a little thicker, make a quick slurry of 2 T of cornstarch whisked into a bit of water and stir it in at the end. It will thicken up the whole pot like magic.

Heat from House Sauce + dough that needs warmth to rise = SYNERGY.

I may be occasionally bossy about important cooking things, like tomato puree brands, but when it comes to pizza toppings, my philosophy is SURE, WHY NOT?

Things I always get every time I’m at the grocery store:

fresh mozzarella
block of mozzarella
block of Parmesan
deli pesto

So no matter what, we can at least have basic pizza any moment the mood strikes. But after that? WHATEVER, MAN. On this particular pizza, because i have a vegan daughter now (I am out of can’t evens), I made one with roasted shaved brussel sprouts and onions. I sliced them up on my mandolin in like three minutes, tossed in oil and S&P, and roasted for 20 minutes or so. If you don’t believe this can be delicious, I don’t know how I can ever be of service to you in the future.

Listen to me, loves: you can put anything you want on a pizza. If you like it, it will be delicious over homemade dough with House Sauce. I don’t even know why I have to explain this.

Divide your dough into fourths, and wrap up two portions in plastic wrap and stick in your freezer for next time. Do you see how helpful I am being for you? You will already have dough and sauce for your next pizza night, and as you are enjoying that low-prep meal, you will fill your mind with the fondest thoughts of me. You might make up a song in my honor. I don’t know. Anything could happen.

Look at the roasted brussels and onions. WHO IS LAUGHING NOW?

Now you have enough dough to make two pizzas. Flour your counter and roll them out.

It is vital to the recipe to preheat your oven as hot as it will go (around the 500 degree mark) and put your cast iron pizza pan (<– this is mine…GAME CHANGER) in there for 20-30 minutes. If your pan and oven are not hot, your pizza will make you cry all the tears in Italy, and life is already hard. We don’t need this.

Once your oven and pizza pan are scorching hot, drizzle some olive oil on the pan and put your dough in the oven for around 5 minutes. This is my preference because I like thin, crispy crust, but you could roll yours out thicker and let it be all soft and squishy if you are not spiritually mature in the area of crusts.

Take it out carefully (that cast iron pan in a 500 degree oven is no joke; someone I know has burned herself at this stage more than once), and put on your sauce and toppings. My people are big fans of the House Sauce/pesto combo, and last time I checked, it was a free country where we have Sauce Freedom, so you do you here.

The edges of your crust can be a hot mess. I just bend and fold mine all into place.
Back into the oven for another 5-6 minutes until everything is melted perfection and your crust looks nice and toasty (except for the Soft Crust People in which case I have no idea how to help lead you). Slide it onto your pizza paddle (<– this is mine…she’s been so good to me), and let it cool for a couple of minutes before slicing it up and becoming the Family Hero. My first pizza is always completely gone before I can get the second one even in the oven.
Me and Sydney’s veggie pizza. Her side with no cheese or pesto because of the PARM in it. It’s like all I’ve ever worked for in parenting is in shambles.
I know this seems like a lot of steps, but after making your own pizza a few times, you just make it without a recipe. The steps are parceled out over an afternoon, and you just knock it out 10 minutes at a time in between other stuff. Plus, don’t forget that every other time, YOU HAVE READY-MADE DOUGH AND SAUCE, which basically means you are living a life of leisure.

I have had homemade pizza leftovers exactly zero times ever.

Your little piggies will gobble this up, I promise. Viva la pizza!

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