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Irish Girl's Homemade Pizza
When I was a young girl, one of the favorite things I loved to watch my mom make was her homemade pizza dough. Even better was enjoying a piping hot slice fresh from the oven. Making the dough was fun. Mom would always break off pieces for me and my brother and sisters to play with. My brother once tossed his dough up in the air and it stuck to the ceiling. Because of the Crisco in the dough, it made a big grease stain and he wasn't allowed to toss his in the air any more! I had such fond memories of my Mom's pizza making days that I carried on the tradition and have taught my children as well.
Pizza dough should be prepared as early in the day as possible as it requires yeast as an ingredient. You should also plan on sticking around for an hour after preparation so that you can do the all important "punch down".
Ingredients for Dough
Crisco (solid shortening)
2 pkgs dry yeast
pinch of sugar
Ingredients for Sauce
1 lb American cheese sliced thin
Couple packages of shredded part skim mozzarella cheese
These 2 cheeses are "my" required toppings to begin. Other toppings can include pepperoni, sausage, peppers (red/green), mushrooms, onions, eggplant, buffalo chicken, feta cheese olives, you name it/you like it.....you can use it to top your pizza!
Making the Dough
Measure 4 cups of flour and pour in large mixing bowl. Using a tablespoon, scoop 4 generous portions of Crisco shortening and place in the bowl of flour. Using a fork and knife, cut the Crisco into the flour. The pieces of Crisco should blend nicely when cut in enough.
In a separate measuring cup, measure 2 cups of warm water and add 2 pkgs of dry yeast. Stir until desolved. Just before adding to flour, toss in a pinch of sugar to the yeast mixture. Add to flour. Add in one egg to give the dough a golden color. Knead dough, adding flour as required, until the dough is at a consistency that it can be turned onto a floured surface for more kneading. Continue kneading dough and adding flour until the dough is no longer sticky.
Lightly grease the inside of a large mixing bowl, place the dough in the bowl and cover with a good size towel. After one hour, remove the towel, punch down the dough, knead for a few minutes and re-cover with the towel.
The dough can now be set aside to rise for a minimum of 4 hours.
This batch of dough will make approximately 3-4 pizzas depending on pan size.
After 4 hours, the dough is ready to be made into pizza with your favorite toppings.
Cooking the Pizza
Preheat the oven to 460 degrees
Gather your pizza pans. Different sizes (large or small rounds, rectangles) are fun.
Grease the bottom of the pan with vegetable oil.
Break off a section of pizza dough according to the pan size. Knead the dough into the pizza pan. Using the balls of your fingers press and stretch the dough until the bottom of the pan is covered. You can vary the thickness of the dough for each pizza.
Now comes the part of the recipe that makes my pizzas a little different.
Place pieces of thinly sliced American cheese over the dough. Spread the cheese randomly so that none of the edges are touching and the dough pokes through.
In a bowl, mix a can of tomato paste with water. Start with equal portions filling the can as a guide. Mix until you reach the desired sauce consistency you like.
Cover the layer of American cheese with the sauce. The amount of sauce on your pizza is a personal preference as are the toppings.
Final step before choosing your toppings is to sprinkle sauce with shredded mozzarella cheese. Use as much or as little cheese as you like.
If tomato and cheese pizza is your preference go ahead and place in the oven just as is. Temperature should remain at the 460 degree temperature for cooking. Set the timer for 15 mintues, but watch pizza and remove as soon as the cheese is melted and bubbling. The crust will be a nice golden color.
For pizzas with toppings. Sprinkle toppings over the layer of mozzarella, place in the oven for 15 minutes. Pizza is done when cheese is melted and the crust golden brown.
Homemade pizza is delicious fresh out of the oven or stored in the fridge and either eaten cold or warmed up.