How to Make Delicious Homemade Pizzeria Pizza in About an Hour
Creative, Easy, and Fun to Make!
Time is Money
Although Pizza is not terribly expensive, it's sometimes nice to know what you are eating and provide a fun project to do with your kids. I have found that my own classic pizzas can be just as delicious as Papa John's, Dominoes or Pizza Hut's without having to spend a dime or wait for a usually long delayed delivery.
Making your own gives you that control. I know exactly what goes in, and the whole project takes less than an hour, from mixing the dough to putting it on the table.
A Tradition of Nutrition
For those with hungry teenagers, a big green salad or pre-prepared soup mix helps round out the meal while adding a nutritious side dish. This can be done while you are waiting for the pizza dough to rise.
Made to Order Pizzas at your Fingertips!
There's nothing like the aroma of freshly baked pizza wafting from your oven - keep an eye on it when you're melting the cheese so you don't burn it!. The tomato sauce, fine, grated cheese topping, mushrooms, shrimps and other seafood topping or alternatively, pepperoni can be made to order. Of course, the best tasting pizzas come from fresh ingredients.
See What's On Hand
Play hide and go seek with your vegetable crisper, see what lunch meats can be sliced or diced, sauteed or added "au naturel" to the top.
Get the Kids Involved
If your kids are interested in cooking, this is a good started project. After washing hands thoroughly, give them an apron and an assignment - slice or grate cheese, meat, veggies. Kneading the dough is another fun task. Leftover dough can be fried up like little doughnuts with sugar on top. But back to the matter at hand....
Gimme the Dough!
Although fresh toppings are important, most any owner of a pizzeria will agree that the pizza dough is the most important part ! ! ! The dough has to be kneaded with love, it can feel it if you love it or not. The kneading should take anywhere from five to seven minutes. No, you don't have to talk to the dough - that would be taking it a little too far.
This recipe will make approximately two medium sized pizzas.
Yeast - if dry, use two packages. If you have the fresh cubed yeast available where you live, just one cube will do.
In a small bowl mix 2 tsp sugar, sprinkle the yeast, (or smash the cube with a fork), add a little warm milk and a little flour and cover it with a clean cooking towel. It will rise in a few minutes. The yeast cube has a slight advantage, it tends to start bubbling right away, but like the hare and the tortoise, both will definitely cross the finish line!
In a large bowl, mix 1-1/2 lbs of flour and a pinch of salt. I recommend mixing your flour 50/50 normal baking flour and cake flour. Occasionally I substitute whole wheat flour for the cake flour or 50% baking 25% cake and 25% whole wheat. It's your choice, depending what's on hand.
After mixing the dry mixture with a fork or a hand held sifter, make a crater in the middle of the flour bowl. Once the yeast bowl has started to bubble a little and thicken up, add it to the center of the flour bowl then slowly integrate the walls of the dry mixture thoroughly. Add 6 T. of regular vegetable oil and little by little a cup or so of water at room temperature. Remove your rings and roll up your sleeves. Now use your hands to make it a nice, consistent texture. If the dough is too sticky, add a little cake flour to dry it up a bit. If it's too gummy, it needs a few more drops of water. You are at the fine tuning stage, so little by little. Your goal is soft, stretchy and un-sticky dough. Keep mixing, then let it rest about 15 minutes.
Note: Some pizza chefs put a little (1 T.) oregano flakes directly into the batter or sprinkle it onto the spread-out pizza dough.
Prepare your pan.
Oil and flour your two pans and divide the flour in half. Turn on the oven to a low oven - 180 F or 50-100 C.
At this point, roll out the dough on a floured board. I also like to use a large rectangular plastic place mat, gives me orientation to the size of the pizza pan and is easy to clean up afterwards.
Put the rolled out pizza dough, about 1/3 of an inch thick to make a crispier crust, and prepare the "base".
Base: For two pizzas, mix 4 T. tomato paste with 1/4 cup of milk as a start. You may add more milk if it's too thick, or more tomato paste if it's too orangey.
(Some add ketchup - but I don't.). A Tablespoon of Barilla's Genovese sauce, which is made of basil, goat or sheep's cheese and garlic, is a great addition to your base because it adds a great flavor boost. If that's not possible, a little basil, salt, teaspoon of sugar or less, Parmesan cheese, oregano and dry powdered paprika (1 T.) are all good things to add to your base. It's your pizza!
ass of milk, adding a little milk at a time to be nice and smooth. If you like, add oregano, basil, a little bit of sugar, and keep miixng. Then spread onto the pizza crust with the back of a tablespoon.
Now, put it in the oven and let it rise a little bit. This will give you time to prepare your toppings.
Time to chop the meat and cheese. You know what you like - just about anything goes - only I would say be sure to cut the meat thinly if it's fatty, like bacon, to be sure it's not raw when it comes out of the oven.
Fresh, thinly sliced tomatoes, mushrooms, mild peppers are good, as well as sliced black or green olives.
Some topping suggestions:salami, cheese, ham, shrimp, seafood mix (can be purchased in the frozen foods section, it's also known es Frutte de mare, or fruits of the sea). Be generous with the cheese. You don't have to cover the pizza, but I like to make sure that every bits taken has at least a little meat and cheese. You can use mozzarella, gouda, jack cheese, cheddar or whatever you like. When the kids help me, I use slices. Sometimes I grate the cheese, especially if I am a little short on cheese.
Remove the pizza and increase the heat to the highest setting. Top the pizza, careful not to burn.
As a final stage, I use tomato sauce in the carton, and making just a tiny little hole, drizzle raindrops of tomato sauce all over the pizza tops. No need to make it soggy, just a little more color and flavor. Now, go ahead and pop 'er back into the oven.
I put the pizza in at the highest setting around the middle of the oven. That means at the grill setting. It takes about 10 minutes to cook - but keep an eye on it. Nothing worse to eat, or smell, than burnt pizza! I also don't risk it - first bake one and then bake the other.
Since pizza all by itself is kind of flat for a family meal, I try to accompany it with a side dish like a fresh green salad containing mixed salad greens (dark leafy, and or grated carrot and green onions, finely sliced). if available, a little red onion (thinly sliced) helps cut the salami or pepperoni taste. You may be thirsty, so prepare the table with plenty of cool drinks to quench the saltiness of the pizza. In other words, Pizza, Salad, Beer or Juice, and a piece of fruit like a delicious pear for dessert is a real crowd-pleaser. A light dessert like pudding is also OK with this ensemble. Great for Friday nights spent at home.
You can become a great pizza chef, and don't have to go to the pizzeria. A delicious pizza crust, fresh vegetables, melted cheese and tomato sauce, along with your favorite toppings, is all you need to let your family feel as if they've had a real specialty. Happy pizza baking, and Bon Apettit!
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