I am a creature of habit. I am also frugal. And this recipe has been a weekly staple for us for a few years now because it is SOOOO easy and SOOOO cheap to make. Many are scared away when they think of making their own dough from scratch, but with these tips I have learned through trial and error along with my step-by-step (very visual) guide, you will be a pizza queen/king in no time…
First, I use my bread machine (but you don’t have to- use your kitchen aid mixer or your hands!) I know- not everyone has a bread machine– but I actually have two of them. One I was given as a gift in 1998, and one I bought used on Ebay for $18 last year. Since I don’t bake in mine (I use the dough cycle only), it would be hard to find one that isn’t fancy enough.
Here are all the ingredients you will need for the dough of 2 large pizzas:
1- 1/2 C warm water
1 T sugar
2 T olive oil
4 C flour (I use 3 all purpose, 1 whole wheat)
1- 1/2 tsp salt
2- 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (does not have to be bread machine yeast)
italian seasoning to taste
cornmeal for sprinkling
This is to show you how I save so much money when buying yeast. I buy yeast in bulk (package on the left) from Amazon and buy 4-5 lbs at a time. I store them in the freezer and refill my yeast jar I keep in the refrigerator as needed. The savings is UNREAL. Stop buying those expensive packets!
As you can see, I make a lot of breads. The cinnamon roll recipe is on the back. And I keep it in a beautiful, organized binder- typed and protected. (NOT! I keep them under a magnet on my kitchen calendar board…because I use it 4 times a week at least!)
Pour warm water (just tap water) in bread machine pan first. Then add ingredients in order they are listed above. Stop when you get to the Italian seasoning/cornmeal.
My secret ingredient is to sneak in one cup of whole wheat flour, but it tastes great with only all-purpose flour as well.
Gently stir the salt into the flour to keep it from killing the yeast. Yeast does not like salt.
This is how I store fine sea salt. It makes it so much easier to measure this way instead of pouring into a measuring spoon. Add your yeast last, and directly on top of the other ingredients.
Insert your bread machine pan into your bread machine and set it to the dough cycle. It should read a time of around 1-1/2 hours. Press start.
Most machines beep after a few minutes to tell you that you can add in ingredients (like nuts or raisins, for example). This is when I add dry Italian seasoning. I just add enough to make me happy. No measuring. Now, close the lid.
When the dough cycle is done (mixes about 25 minutes, rises about an hour), this is what your dough will look like.
This is my very used, very old oven. I refuse to buy a new one until it quits. And it just stubbornly refuses! Anyway, I keep a cheap pizza stone in my oven at all times. I never take it out. (I keep meaning to buy unglazed ceramic tiles and use those instead, but I haven’t gotten around to it.) I also always use an oven thermometer- because my oven is not true to temperature. Preheat your oven to very hot. That means about 450 degrees.
These are my favorite homemade-pizza-making tools. A dough roller, a dough docker, and parchment paper. I bought some of the reusable parchment paper, but I confess, I haven’t used it yet. Did I mention I am a creature of habit?
Use a bench scraper or knife to divide the dough into two roughly equal portions.
Sprinkle cornmeal on a rectangle of parchment paper. Make it big enough to cover your pizza stone.
Form each portion into a ball with floured hands. You want the dough to be pretty sticky. This makes a lighter crust. If you add too much flour in, you will have a tough crust that isn’t very tasty.
Just plop it on the cornmeal.
And start to roll it out with your dough roller. You can use the traditional long one if you like. Or a can if you don’t have one. Or your fingers or whatever.
Trim the excess parchment paper from around the dough after you have rolled it into a rustic round/oval shape that is roughly the size of your pizza stone (which should be preheated nicely in your oven by now, remember).
Prick the surface of your dough with a fork, or use a pizza docker if you have one. This eliminates air bubbles in the surface of your crust.
Slide a flat cookie sheet under the parchment paper (or a pizza peel, but I don’t have one yet). Then, shimmy-shake the parchment paper and dough off the cookie sheet and onto the hot pizza stone in your oven.
Parbake the crust for around 6 minutes or until it just begins to change color on top. This really helps keep your crust from getting soggy! Then, reach in and pull the parchment paper edge onto your cookie sheet again (It really isn’t hot!)
Slice your favorite pizza vegetables. We usually use mushrooms, onions, and pepperoni on one, and only pepperoni on the other. Although, we also love chicken/olive/pesto and ham and pineapple combinations. And usually banana peppers sneak in there somewhere, too.
Saute your vegetables in a little olive oil with salt and pepper until they are tender but not mushy.
We grocery shop at Aldi because we can get twice as much food there as at WalMart for the same price, three times as much food as our local grocery store (although we buy fresh meat at our local grocery store, and bread and milk in between trips). These are our standard toppings above.
I know- I should make my own pizza sauce. I always make my own spaghetti sauce from scratch, but I buy spaghetti sauce and use it as my pizza sauce. Silly. One jar of spaghetti sauce covers four large pizzas, so I keep it in the fridge and use it two weeks in a row. It is much cheaper than buying traditional pre-made pizza sauce.
Spread the sauce on the first parbaked crust while your second crust is parbaking. And add your toppings. Vegetables first, then cheese, then meats and olives on top.
Remove the second parbaked crust from the oven and shimmy-shake it onto the table. Slip the cookie sheet under your pizza with the toppings and transfer it back to the oven. Bake for about 9 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and it begins to brown a little. While it bakes, top your second parbaked crust.
Remove pizza from oven again with your cookie sheet and place it on another pan for cutting. (Or, do what I do- slide it onto the table, use the cookie sheet to put the second pizza in the oven, and then slide the cookie sheet back under the finished pizza so you can slice it on the cookie sheet.)
It’s making my mouth water just looking at the picture again.
TrueHeart had a friend over last Friday and as I baked the pizzas, I overheard her tell her guest, “My Mama makes the BEST pizzas in the world. They are WAY better than the kind you eat at a pizza place!” Obviously, my heart swelled a little with that.
TenderHeart also thinks my pizza is yummy. I had to make him sit down at the table because he was threatening to steal a piece before the family was seated to give thanks to the One who provides every crumb.
P.S. Sometimes, I make sourdough pizzas. Other times, I make one thin crust and one deep dish. I will make a tutorial on those in the future. Until then, give this recipe a try and please come back and leave a comment. I will do my best to answer any questions you have as well.
P.P.S. I have made many more than two pizzas at a time and for a large crowd, but it requires planning. Simply mix up one recipe (through the kneading cycle) and before it starts to rise, scoop it into a gallon size plastic bag with a little olive oil in it. Seal the bag and put it in the refrigerator. Repeat until you have enough dough to make all the pizzas you need for your crowd. The dough will slowly rise in the refrigerator (and the flavors will deepen!) for up to 24 hours. Take the dough out at least an hour before you are ready to start rolling it out so it can come to room temperature. Then, simply start your routine of parbaking, topping, and baking! My 11-year-old TrueHeart requested a huge pizza party for her 11th birthday- and this method worked very well.