Jul 27, 2010

Basic Pizza Dough

Delicious Veggie Pizza

There are two meals that Jordan could eat 365 days a year with no complaints: pasta and homemade pizza. Tonight I want to focus on the homemade pizza. For four years now, Jordan has been working to perfect the craft of pizza making. Needless to say, the past four years have been filled with LOTS of pizzas! I think it’s safe to say that we have periods of time where homemade pizza makes a weekly appearance but at the very least once every other week. I have to admit that I thought the first round of homemade pizza was delicious but there’s a certain dough texture, consistency and taste that Jor is going for each time so, it’s always an experiment. A few weeks ago he showed me this homemade pizza oven that was made out of a grill but needed to be a certain distance from your house, as it could be dangerous! Good thing we live in an apartment and grills aren’t allowed on the decks. I could have extreme pizza making on my hands!

I wanted to share just a basic pizza recipe with y’all. When Jor and I lived in different cities for almost a year I was left to my own pizza making abilities (even I had grown accustomed to my frequent homemade pizza). This is the basic recipe that he gave me and it never failed me! He has all sorts of tricks up his sleeve but rather than getting fancy on y’all on just wanted to share a basic recipe that is fast, simple and delicious!

You’ll only need a few things for the dough and then whatever toppings you desire!


(Makes two individual, but good sized, pizzas.)

  • 1 teaspoon yeast
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3-3 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • tad bit of sugar or honey
  • 1 cup warm water
  • Any seasoning (suggestions: garlic powder, crushed red pepper, oregano, or basil. All taste delicious!)

Putting this dough together really couldn’t be easier! The super duper fast way is with a mixer but I can tell you from personal experience that you can be a human mixer for this one! I have put this dough together several times with just my hands and it still turned out great!

(Preheat oven now to 500 degrees.) To start, combine the warm water with the yeast and let it sit for just a few minutes (until the bubbles start to form in the yeast, indicating it’s active). You can then add in the olive oil, honey or sugar, salt and seasonings you wish. The very last thing to add is the flour. From here you either want to let your mixer do all the work or it’s up to you to start kneading. Letting the mixer go for a few minutes is equivalent to you putting some muscle into it, but either way you are going to end up with darn good pizza!

Ok so there are some options for rise time. If you are absolutely pressed for time and can’t wait to make the pizzas you can let the dough rise for 15 minutes and then start putting the pizza together. While you can do this, it’s not going to give you the best results. The second option is to make it the night before and let it sit in the fridge and take it out and let it warm to room temperature the next day when you’re ready to make pizzas. Still very good. What Jordan has found to actually be the best method thanks to the scorcher days we’ve had lately is to leave the dough outside (in a covered container) for one hour. It’s made some of the best pizzas to date and that’s saying something after four years of numerous pizzas!

No matter how long you wait for your dough to rise, the next step is to construct the pizza. Jor separates the dough in halves and then forms the size and shape of each pizza. He starts by holding the dough and rotating it like a steering wheel, forming a circular shape and allowing gravity to help out a bit. Once he has a shape going he puts it onto a baking sheet and uses his palms to evenly spread the dough out and enlarge the circle. You don’t want any super thin spots and use a fork to poke a few holes in the dough. If you don’t poke the dough you could have some entertaining air bubbles that form in your pizza!

For my pizza toppings, I always go with veggie or veggie and chicken. Lately, I’ve been sticking with just veggie and my norm has been bell pepper, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese and fresh basil. It’s simple, fresh and on the light side. We used to get the block of mozzarella and grate the cheese and while that is good, our favorite is always fresh mozzarella sliced thin. Jor has always been a homemade tomato sauce, pepperoni and mozzarella guy but as of lately he’s stuck on a veggie pizza craze as well! The dough is basic enough that you can pair pretty much whatever sounds good to you, so go crazy and enjoy!

I will warn that with the fresh veggies comes some added moisture. Jor has come up with some good solutions that stopped the problem of soggy dough. He pre-bakes my dough on a pizza stone for about ten minutes or until it is brown. Now, I know a pizza stone isn’t exactly a standard item in everyone’s kitchen so a baking sheet does the same trick. This gets the dough cooked through over half way and then we add my veggies on. Stick it back in the oven for another 10 minutes or so, let the dough finish cooking, the veggies soften just a tad and the cheese melt away! If you don’t have a veggie pizza, you can cook it for 20-30 minutes depending on how melted and brown you want your cheese. It’s all in the preference.

Homemade pizza ready to eat!! Pepperoni on top and Veggie on the bottom.

After so many homemade pizzas there are few places that we actually will eat pizza out at. We have one place here in Atlanta that Jor had us going to often because he was in awe of the dough but after some time our trips became less frequent. It’s still some of the most fantastic pizza you can get out, but there is something about the homemade pizza that you can’t get at a restaurant. It’s kind of become Jor’s staple and even after all these pizzas not one of them has tasted exactly like another. That’s kind of the fun about making pizza at home! It seems a little daunting for a weeknight meal, but I promise it really isn’t bad at all! It takes maybe 10 minutes to put the dough together and then rest is just about letting the dough rise. If you don’t have the time to wait, try to plan the night ahead or even make it in the morning and leave it in a container to do it’s job while you head off to work all day. Come home and you’re already half way to putting a fantastic meal on the table that will impress any crowd and please any appetite! This a favorite of mine and I hope it can become one of yours! For now, that’s basic pizza dough…in the shell of a nut!

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