Pizza is a staple in the American diet but the majority of them are either delivered or picked up in the frozen food aisle for a quick dinner. Even the art of making pizza at home has been turned into a convenience food nightmare from precooked pizza crusts and sauce to pre-shredded cheeses and yes, even precut veggies. Here’s how we do pizza in the My Earth Garden kitchen.
Good homemade pizza starts with good dough, and this is where most people think they are out of their league when the truth is that anyone can make their own pizza dough. All it takes is a good recipe and a little patience until you get the feel for it. I can help you with the recipe:
- 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) active yeast
- 1 1/4 cups of warm water
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cups flour +/- (all-purpose works, so will bread flour)
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
When making dough, measurements can never be exact. The consistency you are looking for is one where the ingredients when mixed will form a soft ball. It should not be dry when mixed, but not liquid either. It will be sticky, so a light coating of oil on the hands will make it easier to work.
I use a bread machine on the dough cycle to do the mixing for me. The cycle takes 1 1/2 hours. If you don’t have a bread machine, a stand mixer or good old fashioned elbow grease will work just fine. When the ingredients are mixed well, allow the dough to rest for about 20 minutes in a warm place.
Coat the sides of a bowl with oil and carefully transfer the sticky dough, rolling it in the new bowl to coat with oil. Cover with a towel or plastic wrap and allow to rise undisturbed for 30 minutes. It will look something like this:
When the dough has risen, punch it down and divide into two balls. On a floured surface, knead the dough until it becomes elastic and pliable and work it into a ball by tucking the sides under a few times. Stretch (or toss, if you’re feeling it) the dough ball to the desired size for your pizza and carefully place it on a pan or pizza stone.
TIP: Sprinkle a bit of corn meal on the pan first and your dough won’t stick to the pan.
I like to brush the dough with olive oil at this point but it isn’t entirely necessary to do so.
Also, I poke the hell out of it with the tines of a fork to keep the air bubbles to a minimum but this is homemade so expect something to keep it from looking absolutely perfect. This ain’t Betty Crocker’s kitchen after all.
Place the crust in a preheated 400 degree oven for 8-10 minutes. The dough will not be done, but it is par-baked and sturdy enough to be frozen as is.
The dough can then be taken out and made up whenever you want a quick meal that will be ready in just a few minutes and it isn’t delivery or DiGiorno.
Of course if you really want to get all fancypants with it you can go ahead and add sauce (we use homemade canned tomato sauce) and cheese and slice that bad boy right in the freezer. Then you have homemade cheese pizza in about 15 minutes. Or let everyone choose their own toppings (or do what we do and use whatever leftovers are in the fridge). You can also add your toppings and freeze it that way. Whatev. It’s your pizza, yo.
When it comes time to add toppings I like to go a little crazy sometimes and add things that aren’t usually on the menu at just any pizza joint. Of course this ain’t just any pizza joint and we like good stuff here at My Earth Garden. That’s why on this particular night we added purple onion, sliced olives, pimentos, chives, oregano and some leftover chicken from the night before.
The final product is a homemade pizza that rivals anything you could get in a gourmet restaurant or delivery place and you make it yourself.
How do you like your pizza? Share your favorite combo in the comments below.