What to do when your 8-year old nephew comes to visit? Make pizza, of course! Well, not of course, actually. I didn’t think of it until we exhausted Sorry, Monopoly, and gin rummy. But it did turn out to be a brilliant idea as my father had just received a baking stone for Christmas, and my nephew loves pizza.
I told him if he helped me make it I would talk about him on my website and he would be famous. That seemed to get his attention. He thought the dough was “slimy and gross” but he loved picking his own toppings, and the finished product was “awesome”.
The following method I patched together from recipes in both Joy of Cooking and Cook’s Illustrated’s The Best Recipe. The pizza dough recipe makes enough dough for two 10-12 inch pizzas.
Next time I’ll be a bit more patient with stretching out the dough so I can get it even thinner. Look to the end of this post for some excellent links about pizza from other food bloggers.
Homemade Pizza Recipe
Pizza dough is a yeasted dough which requires active dry yeast. Make sure the check the expiration date on the yeast package! Yeast that is too old may be dead and won't work.
You can use all purpose flour instead of the bread flour that is called for in the recipe, but bread flour is higher in gluten than all-purpose flour and will make a crispier crust for your pizza.
Cup measurements can vary depending on how you are scooping the flour (we fluff the flour, lightly scoop it, and level with a knife). So I recommend using a kitchen scale to measure out the flour amounts by weight. This is the only way you'll get a consistently accurate measurement.
Pizza Dough: Makes enough dough for two 10-12 inch pizzas
- 1 1/2 cups (355 ml) warm water (105°F-115°F)
- 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) of active dry yeast
- 3 3/4 cups (490 g) bread flour
- 2 Tbsp olive oil (omit if cooking pizza in a wood-fired pizza oven)
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Olive oil
- Cornmeal (to help slide the pizza onto the pizza stone)
- Tomato sauce (smooth, or puréed)
- Firm mozzarella cheese, grated
- Fresh soft mozzarella cheese, separated into small clumps
- Fontina cheese, grated
- Parmesan cheese, grated
- Feta cheese, crumbled
- Mushrooms, very thinly sliced if raw, otherwise first sautéed
- Bell peppers, stems and seeds removed, very thinly sliced
- Italian pepperoncini, thinly sliced
- Italian sausage, cooked ahead and crumbled
- Chopped fresh basil
- Baby arugula, tossed in a little olive oil, added as pizza comes out of the oven
- Pepperoni, thinly sliced
- Onions, thinly sliced raw or caramelized
- Ham, thinly sliced