Every Friday night is pizza night at our house and around three years ago we decided to make our own. We all like different toppings and the quality and price of our local pizza was starting to become something we felt we were paying a lot of money for, when we could just make our own. I sincerely mean this when I say that it really isn’t time consuming and sometimes it does help to bring the family together after a long week. Trust me, not every Friday night do we feel like rolling out the dough and heating the house up, but when you all get the kind of pizza you want and it tastes really good it is worth it.
6-8 (7 inch pizzas)
5 cups Bread Flour
1 cup All Purpose Flour
4 teaspoons Salt
5 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1¼ teaspoon Yeast
2 cups Warm Water
Place the Yeast and 3 Tablespoons of the warm Water in a small bowl and stir until dissolved. Let sit for ten minutes until the Yeast begins to foam or bubble slightly.
In a large electric mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, place the Bread Flour, All Purpose Flour, Salt and Yeast mixture together. Mix on medium speed, then slowly begin to add the Olive Oil and remaining Warm Water. Mix well until the dough begins to form into a ball and comes off the sides of the mixer easily. You may need to add a small amount of extra Water if your dough isn’t coming together. Continue to mix until the dough is smooth and shiny approximately 5 minutes.
Lightly dust a counter top with Flour and place the dough onto it. Knead by hand for about 5 minutes, folding and turning the dough until it turns very smooth and soft.
Oil a large bowl with Olive Oil. Set the kneaded Pizza Dough into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Place in a draft free warm area until the dough doubles in bulk for about 1½-2 hours. Or place the Dough in the refrigerator overnight.
Pre heat oven to 500°
Oil 6 sheet pans lightly with Olive Oil.
On a floured countertop, remove the dough and begin to gently knead and form a ball of dough.
Divide the pizza dough into small 3-4 inch balls and roll out very thin with a rolling pin working from the center outward to the edges to shape into rounds or oval shapes. They will end up being about 7 inches in diameter.
Transfer about 2 per sheet pan and top with Tomatoes Sauce, Toppings and Cheese.
Bake for 5 minutes then reduce the heat to 450° for another 12 minutes or until the bottoms are slightly brown and the cheese is browning and bubbly.
Remember to have all of your topping ready and cooled before you assemble the pizza’s. Any type of cheese, (Mozzarella, Provolone, Asiago, Parmesan, Romano) can be used and some good choices for toppings are: mushroom, sautéed Onions, browned Sausage, Prosciutto, Olives and fresh Herbs. You can roll out thicker Pizza’s or smaller individual sized ones too.
The basic dough sits for under 3 hours or it could be made overnight and kept in the refrigerator. Remove the dough about 1 1/2-2 hours before you want your pizza cooked so it warms up a bit. We also make our own sauce with these amazing fire roasted diced tomatoes from Whole Foods. Again, very little of what we do is at all complicated but intended to be fun and creative. Kids love to play and roll out he dough and they typically will eat what they make. Some of the toppings we like the best are Mozzarella, Provolone, Asiago Cheeses, Shiitake Mushrooms, Olives, Prosciutto, Sausage and Garden Herbs.
There is always leftover for the weekend and reheating is best when a dry skillet is set on medium heat, place the slice directly in the pan and cover. The leftover pizza heats up crisp not soggy and if you watch the heat it will not burn but feel like it came out of the pizza oven. Some day maybe when there is extra time there is always the possibility of building a pizza oven in our back yard. A girl can dream can’t she?
3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Cloves Garlic
1 teaspoon freshly dried Oregano or 2 Basil leaves, whole.
2-16oz cans of diced Tomatoes (Whole Foods Fire Roasted)
Salt and Pepper
In a heavy bottomed pan heat the Olive Oil.
Smash and mince the Garlic. Add to the pan turning the heat down to medium so the Garlic doesn’t burn.
Sauté until slightly browned and add the Tomatoes and Herbs.
Season with Salt and Pepper.
Cover the pan and let simmer for an hour.
Once cooled puree the Tomato Sauce until smooth. Set aside.
This is the “go to” Tomato Sauce. Whole Foods, 365 fire roasted Tomatoes are very good and add a bit of a smoky flavor. Although you can use any brand you prefer, we have tried plenty and like these the best. It is perfect for pizza, to serve over pasta, added with broth for a soup, baked with fish or chicken. It can be spiced up or seasoned into Mexican flavors, diluted with wine for a lighter sauce, thickened up with Tomato Paste or used as a dipping sauce with Black Olives and Capers. The uses are endless and it is a very easy and full proof Tomato Sauce.