Friday nights at our house are for lounging and movies. We unwind from the week with some quality family time, and that often means the three “P’s”. Pizza, Popcorn and Pepsi!! This dough recipe was given to me by a friend, and tweaked to my liking. It makes a big batch- enough for two good sized pizzas, or one pizza and a batch of breadsticks. Often times I will make the recipe and freeze half, so it’s even less work on the next pizza night. Sometimes we make a bunch of “mini” pizzas, and let each kiddo (and often friends) roll their own dough, and top their own pizzas with whatever they like!
The dough is really simple. I start with my yeast, sugar, and warm water, give it a little stir, and let sit to “proof” while I’m measuring out flour. Proofing the yeast just means letting it do it’s thing for a few minutes to make sure it is still good. The yeast mixture should begin to bubble after a few minutes. I buy a big Costco sized bag of yeast and it keeps in the fridge forever. If you’re not a big baker, you can just grab an envelope or small jar.
Plenty of bubbles!
Then I add in the oil, and slowly start mixing in the flour and salt. The dough at this point will be pretty sticky. You’ll watch it and may need to add a bit more flour in the next step, but for now, that’s ok.
If you’re not using a mixer, this dough can be kneaded by hand, but I’m lazy and like to let the mixer do the work. My arms would probably benefit from a little hand-kneading though! If you’re like me and like using a mixer, I set it to about medium speed for 6 minutes.
Speaking from experience, I don’t get too far from my mixer when it’s kneading. Mine likes to go for a little “walk” and last time broke a tile when it walked off the counter and fell on the floor! The mixer survived though=).
You want dough that is smooth, and slightly tacky, but does not stick to your fingers. It does not stick to the sides of the bowl. This dough was really sticky when I first started kneading, so after about halfway through, I slowly added a bit more flour until it looked more like this.
Form the dough into a ball, cover the bowl, and let it rise. If you are planning on freezing it, I wrap it tightly in saran wrap and put it immediately in the freezer. It will rise some as it thaws when you’re ready to use it. This dough can be ready to use in 30 minutes or so, or stored in the fridge. I usually make my dough in the morning, put it in the fridge, and then bring it out to take the chill off and make it easier to roll just before I’m ready to use it.
When it’s time to roll, I sprinkle a little extra flour on my work surface, divide the dough in half (or whatever size you are making) and roll it as thin as I can. This dough will rise a bit when it bakes, and I like a thin, crisp crust. My pizza paddle comes in handy for getting my pizza ready, and then quickly transferring it into the hot oven. One of the secrets to a crisp crust is using a super hot oven (I like 500 degrees), using a pizza stone (and letting it get hot in the oven while it’s pre-heating), or I’ve also seen people turn a sheet pan upside down and use it like a pizza stone as well. I’m all about making do with what you have, so even if you don’t have a pizza stone, don’t let that stop you! Spread the dough on a cookie sheet- it will still be delicious!
When I’m rolling out the dough, I usually flip it back a forth to keep it from sticking to the surface. Roll it a couple times, turn it over, roll it a couple times, turn it over, until its as thin as you like it. Remember it will rise!
Now for the fun part! Top it just the way you like it!
This one’s just cheese for my cheese-loving middle child. And because I haven’t been to the store for awhile and this is what we got=).
Now off to the piping hot oven for about 7 minutes. I try not to check on it before then, but it may need a minute or two more and then you’ve got pure yummy deliciousness.
Golden brown, crispy crust, just the way I like it!
I sprinkled mine with some fresh basil and oregano. Not because we’re fancy, trust me, we’re not. We have fresh herbs on hand because I found some really cute herb planters, so I needed to fill them with herbs!
My son cried- “NO! I don’t want lettuce on mine!” See- sooo not fancy!
And dinner is served!
Homemade pizza really is not very difficult, and probably takes less time than if you ordered from Dominos. Plus, it’s sooo much better, and you can make it any way you want. We stick to the regulars, but also have done some fun buffalo chicken pizzas, chicken bacon and ranch pizza, Hawaiian, meat lovers, and pesto pizzas. Oh man, I’m getting hungry.
For the Crust:
5 C flour (Bread flour will give you the best crust, but most days I just use regular All-purpose)
2C warm water (think baby bath temp)
2 T instant dry yeast
1/3 C granulated sugar
1T olive oil
1 tsp. salt
Mix water, yeast, and sugar in bowl and let rest while gathering other ingredients. Add oil. Slowly add flour and salt. Mix well and knead 15-20 times by hand, or for 6 minutes on medium speed using dough hook if using a stand mixer. Add more flour as necessary to produce a dough that is slightly tacky, but does not stick to sides of bowl or work surface.
Form dough into ball, cover and let rise 30 mins. Alternately, if you would like to freeze all or half of dough, divide and wrap tightly with saran wrap and freeze immediately. Dough will rise as it thaws before use.
Divide dough, and roll out thinly, and top with desired toppings. Transfer to preheated 500 degree oven and bake for 7-9 minutes. Let rest for a few minutes, slice and enjoy!