Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Foolproof Homemade Pizza

I wanted to share this recipe with you today. Making your own pizza is super fast, easy and way healthier than takeout, and dealing with yeast is really not scary at all. The directions seem long but I wrote them for a total baking newbie so I explain every step. I challenge all of my followers to make this one night this week, especially if you think you can't. New year, new you! Give it a go and think of me.

Homemade Pizza the Fast and Easy Wendy Way (allow 1 hour to get dinner on table)

1 (.25 ounce) package active dry yeast or 2 ¾ teaspoons from a yeast jar
1 cup warm water
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
can of organic tomato paste
garlic powder
dried Italian seasoning
two pizza toppings of your choice
pizza stone or pan
parchment paper (next to wax paper in supermarket)

Preheat oven and pizza stone to 400 for at least 20 minutes. No higher than 400 or your parchment paper will burn. If you don’t have a pizza stone, put a round pizza pan in to preheat.

In your Kitchenaid mixer bowl, throw in yeast, water, oil, sugar and salt; no need to wait for yeast to proof, just throw everybody in. Then mix in 1 cup of the flour for 30 seconds until smooth. Then gradually stir in the rest of the flour, until dough cleans the sides of the bowl. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface for about 5 minutes, coating your hands with flour as they get sticky. Now spray the Kitchenaid bowl with a little Pam and put the dough in, flipping it over to coat. Cover bowl with a towel and let rise for 40 minutes. While you're waiting for the dough, shred the mozzarella and prepare the other toppings.

When dough is ready, punch it down and separate it into 2 equal parts. Be careful not to knead it at all, just pinch it in half and leave half in the bowl. Hold a ball by the edges, rotating it, until gravity stretches it out into a circle. The dough will be very soft and easy to stretch, just don't try to roll it out or scrunch it back up into a ball once you start working it, just keep it rotating. If you like thin crust pizza, make the circle “large”, like 12 inches. If you like a thicker crust, make more of a medium size. As the circle gets larger, drape it over your fists to stretch it/hold it.

Put a piece of parchment paper on a rimless cookie sheet. Plop the dough circle onto the parchment. Take a rubber spatula and spread tomato paste straight out of the can onto the dough. You’ll use half the can for one pizza and half the can for the other. The reason you use paste and not sauce is so the crust doesn't get too "wet". Next, add a coating of parmesan, a sprinkling of Italian spices and a sprinkling of garlic powder. A medium amount of mozzarella comes next, then up to two toppings, no more. You don't want to overload the toppings or cheese or the crust won't hold up. If you like heavy amounts or types of toppings, then just make a medium or small pizza, not a large. Add a thin drizzle of olive oil at the end. Open the oven and slide the parchment paper with the pizza on it, onto the preheated stone or pan. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until crust is medium brown.

While it’s baking, gently pick up the other dough ball, being sure not to knead it or mangle it in any way, then start rotating it into a circle to put on another piece of parchment paper. You can stretch this one a little less and make a thicker, smaller crust for garlic bread if you want to, in which case, don’t use sauce and use more cheese, garlic powder and olive oil on top. When first pizza is done, open the oven and slide the parchment paper with the cooked pizza on it onto the baking sheet again. Slide it onto the counter and slice. Eat it right away before it gets cold. Quickly slide the paper with the uncooked pizza or garlic bread onto the cookie sheet, then onto the stone and set the timer, then sit down to eat while you wait!


Natalia said...

Thanks for sharing this Wendy! It sounds really good! I will try it for sure! :)

belinda said...

Oh please....stop it with the pizza recipes.....this is my all time favorite food in all the world!! HA!

Nancy said...

I took your challenge and made it for dinner tonight...
I divided the dough into 3 pieces and each one of us had our own pizza. I haven't had mine yet (it's in the oven baking) but the 17 year old says it's GOOD...
I didn't have any parchment paper so I floured my pizza paddle really liberally and just "shook" it onto the pizza stone... easy to do..
thanks for the recipe. no more store bought crust for us.

I Love Baby Quilts! said...

That's great, Nancy! The reason I don't recommend the "flour and shake" method is because I used to do that and I don't recommend it for two reasons:
1) The bottom of the pizza gets way too floury and either the flour burns or it tastes like raw flour when you eat it.
2) My pizzas would come half off the floured pan and half would stick, then they would be half on the stone and half fallen through the rack, and all mishapen!

It was probably a lot easier to get a small pizza like yours to slide off on flour, but for a large, very thin crust, not so much. Good luck!

Nancy said...

I will be getting parchment paper when I shop on Friday.
BTW, Mine came out great too... and I almost lost one pizza to the rack...

mallorymurray said...

I love your comment about yeast being nothing to be scared of - I was always hesitant to make homemade bread because yeast sounded intimidating, but it's totally easy! Your pizza looks so yummy!

amy smart said...

I LOVE homemade pizza! It's the best kind. Thanks for all the tips! You've got a bunch of good ones we need to try - like drizzling Olive Oil at the end. YUM!

Betty Crocker Ass said...

Making it tonight...always good to try new pizza dough recipes! Thanks for posting it.