Pizza is something I’m kind of known for in the kitchen. Over the past three years (plus a bit) I bet I have rolled out, topped, and cooked over 800 pizzas, all in my own oven (or on the grill.) Might be more. All for friends and family.
People are aghast, or envious. “Why?” “Wow, it must be hard.”
It’s a little time-consuming, at least on the rolling out part. But the crust is so dead easy I don’t know why everyone doesn’t make it themselves.
Homemade pizza costs about $2 a pie, with high-quality ingredients. Compare that to the $7.99 cardboard crap from a chain delivery place.
Special kitchen tools:
- Food processor. Almost required!
- Pizza stone (if you are making pies for a crowd, get 2 of these. Really.)
- Pizza peel (one of those long-handled wooden (or metal) thingys you see at pizza parlors. You can sub the back of a cookie sheet, but once you use a peel you’ll never go back. You can also sub a large piece of clean flat cardboard – and this is better than the cookie sheet.
- Tongs. Get the kind with springs in them. (see my video)
- Rolling pin . . . maybe. You can (successfully) sub a wine bottle (unopened, please). I have a French rolling pin (a tapered bar with no handles) and love it. You can also free-form your pizzas with relative ease.
Makes 3-5 pizzas, depending on how big and how thick you like them. I count on 4 per batch and usually get 9 pies every 2 batches. I count on 2 people per pizza, but I don’t think I ever usually make fewer than 2 batches of dough.
Don’t double this recipe if you’re doing it in a food processor – just make multiple batches. Trust me.
4 cups bread flour (22 oz). You can use all-purpose flour, but your crust will not be as crisp.
1 scant TBS yeast (or one packet)
1-2 tsp salt
1.75 cups of water
2 TBS olive oil
- In the food processor, pulse dry ingredients together 5 or 6 times, to mix them.
- Drizzle oil and water in, pulsing the machine.
- When all the liquid is in the dough, run the machine for about 30 seconds. Your dough will look lovely and smooth and silky. It will also be tacky!
- Turn the dough onto a lightly floured board and knead once or twice, until it’s in a prettier ball than the mess you dumped out.
- Dribble some olive oil into a bowl, then put the ball of dough in there, turning it over a couple of times so it’s all glistening and radiant.
- Cover with plastic wrap and then a towel, and place in a not-freezing place to rise
- It will take 2-3 hours to double in size.
With the stone(s) in the oven, preheat the oven to 500 FOR ONE HOUR. Seriously. If I want the first pizzas out of the oven by a little after 6, the oven goes on no later than 5.
Punch down dough and divide it into however many pizza balls you want. Roll them in flour, then set to rise again (on the counter, or wherever you’re rolling them) for at least 30 minutes. If you skip this step (or try to) the dough will refuse to roll out. You can let them rise for up to 3 hours with no real issue.
Roll out the dough and put it on a cornmeal-sprinkled peel. MOVE THE PEEL BACK AND FORTH TO MAKE SURE THE DOUGH MOVES!!! (do this before you top it. Really.)
Top with your favorite toppings, and slide into the oven. Bake for 7-10 minutes (I actually made this number up as I just look at the pizza through the oven door and take it out when it’s done.)
- Garlic oil. Mix 1/3 c olive oil, 4 minced cloves of garlic, and ½ tsp red pepper flakes in a saucepan. Heat for about 1 minute (until you can smell the garlic) and TURN IT OFF. Drizzle your dough with this before you put other toppings on.
- Sauce: 1 large can diced tomatoes, drained. Zip these in the food processor. In a saucepan, heat 1 TBS olive oil and however many minced/pressed garlic cloves as you feel like. Add the tomatoes. Simmer for 10, 20, 30, 40 minutes . . . you get the picture.