Does your family love pizza as much as mine does? We typically have pizza once a week, and often in conjunction with "Pizza and a Movie Night". It's a fun tradition. But ordering pizza once a week isn't in our budget, so we make it homemade almost every week. Homemade pizza is wonderful, not only because it saves you money, but it allows you and your kids to custom make their favorites every time. In our family, we have one child who only likes cheese, one who likes pepperoni, me who likes ham and pineapple or pepperoni and pineapple, and my husband who wants bacon. Homemade pizza makes that a cinch.
Every great homemade pizza starts with a great crust. We've experimented with a variety of crusts over the years and this is our favorite. If you try it and find you like yours better, please share!
YUMMY PIZZA CRUST
2 ¼ tsp yeast
1 Tbs brown sugar
1 ½ cups hot/warm water
1 tsp salt
2 Tbs olive oil
3 1/3 cups flour
Using an electric stand mixer with a dough hook attachment, dissolve yeast and brown sugar in water. Let sit for 5 minutes. Stir in salt and oil. Mix in 2 ½ cups of the flour. Knead in more flour until dough is no longer sticky to the touch but still sticks to the bottom of the bowl. Place dough in greased bowl and turn to grease all sides. Cover and let rise approximately 1 hour. Punch dough down and roll into a tight ball. Allow ball to relax for 3 minutes. Roll out onto floured surface. Butter pizza pans and pat dough in pan. Allow dough to rise 15-20 minutes. Preheat oven to 425°. Place UNTOPPED crust in hot oven for 6-8 minutes. Remove and top with sauce and desired toppings. Bake at for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is bubbly and crust is browned.
- This recipe will fill 2 large jelly roll pans or 2-3 pizza rounds, or more or less depending how thick you like the crust. This rises a LOT so we tend to spread it a little thinner than you might think and it ends up perfect. If it looks thick on the pan it will be extra thick once cooked.
- If you're short on time, you can speed rise the dough by placing the bowl in a warm oven (about 170 degrees). Then spread into pans and place back into warm oven for 10 minutes. Remove, increase temperature according to recipe, and follow the rest of the instructions.
- To ensure a completely cooked crust, you can flip over the crust after the first baking and finish topping and baking again
I could stop there, but sometimes we get a little tired of the same pizza all the time. Try these variations to make sure your pizza never grows old!
It is grill time! If you haven't had pizza on the grill, you are missing out. Roll out piece of your dough into desired sizes. Place dough onto heated grill (about medium-low heat) and close the lid. Allow to cook 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and top with sauce and toppings on the GRILLED side. Return to grill and cook until cheese is bubbly. If you're finding your crust is cooking faster than your cheese is melting, turn off one side of your grill and cook using indirect heat.
Using the pizza crust recipe after the first rising time, divide dough into three balls. Roll each into 6 in x 12 in rectangles. Sprinkle cheese and toppings all over the top of the dough. Roll up tightly, cinching the ends and pinching together the seam. Place pizza rolls seam side down on buttered pan. Let rise 20 minutes. Bake at 425 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until browned. Slice and serve with pizza sauce as a dip.
PIZZA POCKETS (aka Calzones)
Using the above crust recipe after the first rising time, roll out a piece of dough into 4 in x 8 in rectangle. Generously sprinkle cheese and toppings over one half of the dough. Fold over the other half and press edges to close. Place on buttered pan. Pierce tops with a fork to allow steam to escape. Bake at 425 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until browned. Serve with pizza sauce as a dip.
Make the above recipe. After the first rising time, press all of the dough into one large buttered jelly roll pan. Score with a knife down the middle and then into breadsticks. Sprinkle with italian seasonings (oregano, basil, garlic salt, onion powder), Parmesan cheese, and mozzarella cheese. Bake at 425 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until browned. Serve with following sauce recipe (or favorite pizza sauce) as a dip:
- 1 can pizza sauce
- 1 8-oz. pkg cream cheese, softened
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese
- 1 cup diced pepperoni
Combine ingredients over medium saucepan and heat thru until cheese is melted.
These next two are great and easy lunch (or dinner) ideas that are sure to please and only take a few minutes to prep and cook.
Using two flour tortillas per pizza-dilla, top one tortilla with pizza sauce, toppings, and cheese. Top with other tortilla. Cook on a hot griddle or on the grill. Cut into triangles and serve.
Place slices of bread (we use white bread for this) on baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Top each slice with pizza sauce, toppings, and cheese. Cook in oven preheated to 350 degrees until cheese is melted. Broil for 1-2 minutes until cheese is bubbly. Serve.