How to Make the Absolute Best Homemade Pizza
My Little Assistant Chef!
Prep Time: 1 - 2 hours
Cook Time: 15 - 20 minutes
After many years of trial and error I have come up with the best homemade pizza I have ever tasted. Even my little one's love to "help" dad make this dinner time favorite!
The sauce is quick and easy, but the crust takes a little more time so let's start with it. This will give it time to proof while you gather the rest of the ingredients.
Here is what you will need:
- 1 1/2 cups of warm water (105 degrees F)
- 4 1/2 cups of flour
- 1 Tbls. olive oil
- 2 1/2 tsp. sugar
- 2 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. yeast
Optional for a little more flavor:
- 1 tsp. garlic powder (or one clove fresh garlic minced)
- 1 Tbls. oregeno
In a large bowl mix water with salt and sugar until dissolved. Next add the oil. Start with about 2 cups of flour and stir well (add the garlic and oregeno now if you like). Add remaining flour gradually and stir with a heavy wooden spoon for about one minute. Turn out onto a floured surface and press into a circle (don't worry, the dough will be dry).
Sprinkle the yeast evenly over the dough and knead for 5 - 10 minutes (or until your fingers get tired). My two and four year old love this part. I let them punch and squeeze the dough with me.
Form the dough into a smooth ball by tucking the edges of the dough into the center. You want the dough ball to look as smooth as possible without visible seems. Spread a little olive oil on a plate and set the dough on the oil. Cover with plastic wrap. At this point you have two options.
If you are in a hurry, place the plate in a warm oven (100F or less) while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. If you have the time, allow the dough to set at room temperature for 1 - 2 hours. The dough can also be stored in the refrigerator for use the next day.
If you plan to put this pizza in the oven within the next thirty minutes or so put the plate with the dough on it in a warm oven now to proof. Meanwhile, it's time for the sauce.
Because I am the one that does the dishes at my house, I rinse the bowl I used to mix the dough and use it to make the sauce as well. Here is what you will need:
- 12 ounce can of tomato paste
- 1 Tbls. olive oil
- 1 1/2 Tbls. sugar
- 1 Tbls. salt (or to taste if you like salt)
- 1 Tbls. italian seasoning
- 1 clove fresh garlic minced (or 1 tsp. garlic powder)
Mix the 12 ounce can of tomato paste and one full can of water. You can also put a little chicken base in the water for additional flavor. I started doing this recently (March '09) and all the critics in my house like it much better than plain water. Use a wisk or fork to blend water and paste thoroughly. This will make a thick sauce (which I prefer). Add more water if you prefer a thinner sauce. Next add remaining ingredients until blended well. This will make enough sauce for two large pizzas. If you are only making one pizza, the remainder can be frozen for use later. Again, feel free to experiment and add or delete any ingredients you desire.
Now for the toppings. The favorite combination around here is pepperoni, sausage, mushrooms and bacon. We usually make two pizzas at a time to accommodate every one's tastes. My wife prefers bacon, sausage, mushrooms and tomatoes and just cheese for the kids.
Brown and crumble the sausage then drain on a paper towel. I use a one pound roll of Bob Evans sausage. It is very lean and has excellent flavor. I also add a little crushed red pepper for a little kick.
For the bacon, I use a smoked thick cut. I cut the bacon into pieces with scissors before I cook it. I also add a dash or two of worcestershire sauce to the bacon for flavor. DO NOT completely cook the bacon on the stove. I normally cook it over medium-high heat for about 5 minutes.
Now to finish the dough. Place dough on a lightly floured surface and stretch the to size of pan. I use an 18 inch pizza pan (the kind with small holes all over it) and a floured rolling pin to form the dough. Sprinkle the pan lightly with cornmeal to prevent sticking. After stretching the dough, lightly flour it once more and fold it in half once, then again, to transfer the dough to the pan. You are ready to add the toppings!
*Preheat oven to 450F at this time.
First spread the sauce. I like a lot of sauce, so I add it liberally. Spread to within 1/2 inch of the edge of the crust. Next for the mushrooms and sausage. If you like tomatoes, add them now as well.
Now for the cheese. I use shredded mozzarella and a small amount of cheddar.
Put the bacon and pepperoni on top of the cheese. The bacon will cook a little more while baking.
Place pizza in the oven for 10-15 minutes. Pizza is finshed baking when the cheese begins to bubble and slightly brown. Cool, cut and enjoy!
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