Homemade pizza has been a family tradition in my house for years. Since we all like different toppings, amounts of toppings, order of topping placement, and even degrees of doneness, making our own unique pie is the best option. While making your own pizza from scratch isn't as easy as buying a frozen one or having one delivered directly to your hotel room, it allows you to play out your wildest fantasies.
Let's start with the crust.
We used the Kitchenaide Crusty Pizza Dough Recipe from the little cookbook that came with my stand mixer. It's a simple dough recipe that yields a dough that's easy to form.
What you'll need:
1 (1/4 oz) package rapid-rise yeast
1 cup warm water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 1/2 - 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
A pinch of sugar (this is my mother's suggestion)
1. Warm your bowl by running hot water into it for a minute or so.
2. Add your cup of warm water to the bowl and then dissolve the yeast in it.
3. Add salt, olive oil, and 2 1/2 cups of flour.
4. If you're using a Kitchenaid mixer, add the dough hook and mix on speed 2 for 1 minute. If you are using man power, then combine the ingredients with a large spoon until they begin to form dough.
5. Add the remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time until all the dough clings together and is no longer sticky while continuing to mix on speed 2 of stand mixer.
6. Now knead the dough on speed 2 for 2 minutes. If you are not using a stand mixer, knead the dough by hand adding flour as needed until dough is not sticky.
7. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray and place the dough in the bowl. Cover the dough with sprayed plastic wrap and allow it to sit for about 10 minutes so it can rise.
8. Press the dough down into a ball and then form two half balls.
9. Roll each ball out to fit your pizza pans. (You can use the dough to make one pizza if you like thicker crust.
10. Top your crust with all types of wondrous things!
Now let's talk about sauce.
You can do anything from traditional tomato sauce made from scratch to jar sauces. My personal favorite is a rosa sauce or tomato alfredo, but you are not limited to these. You could also use something like breakfast gravy and finish your pizza off with bacon bits, scrambled eggs, cheese, and green onions. Click here for a link for a delicious made-from-scratch pizza sauce recipe.
Ok, what about MEAT?
So, you can go vegetarian and avoid meat altogether, but that's not what I'm about. I've tried many different things on homemade pizzas from the traditional packaged pepperoni to canned chicken to ground burger chunks. Just make sure that you are using a meat that is pre-cooked because you will not need to heat your pizza long enough to cook any meat from raw form.
Here's my favorite:
1. Cook 1 LB of crumbled up ground sweet italian sausage over medium heat for 8 minutes while stirring it frequently.
2. Remove sausage from pan and place on a paper-towel-covered plate.
3. Top pizza crust with sausage (over the sauce but under the cheese).
Cheese, it's very important.
Anything shredded: mozzarella, cheddar (mild to extra sharp), provolone, colby jack, parmesan, pepper jack, etc.
Vegetables can be good too.
Obviously you can go with some white or yellow onions. They would be even better sauteed in a pan with butter first. Some other classics include: olives, mushrooms, and spinach. I also like chopped zucchini. You can also add some spice with jalapenos and banana peppers or go wild with some well-placed asparagus spears. I wouldn't suggest root veggies like carrots or potatoes unless they are cooked first as they will, like meat, need longer to cook than your dough.
Now how do I put this all together?
The order that you add your toppings is completely up to preference. My dad likes to add his meat, then cheese, and then sauce (weird, I know). I think it's best to add sauce as the base, lay down some cheese, place the meat and veggies, and then top with most of the cheese. I like to have a nice, cheesy crust over the top of my pizza. But, you will also want to take your toppings into consideration.
As far cooking your pizza, I suggested cooking it at 425 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Here are a few grocery lists to get you started on your homemade pizza: (always include the ingredients listed above for your pizza crust)
Meaty Man Pizza list:
Package of pepperoni
1 LB ground sausage
Package of bacon
Classic pizza sauce
Green Pizza list:
Jar of artichoke hearts
Jar of pesto sauce
Package of bacon
Package of ground breakfast sausage
Canned gravy or gravy fixings
Don't Be a Chicken Pizza list:
large can of canned chicken (Kirkland brand is best)
Jar of alfredo or tomato alfredo sauce
Pre-chopped crimini mushrooms
Extra sharp cheddar