My idea of home-made pizza isn’t exactly a wonky, clumsy simple rectangle pie, heaping carelessly with random ingredients you find in the fridge. No, homemade pizza to me is a carefully crafted, well-executed endeavor that requires time and a lot of attention. It’s not difficult, but it’s not as easy as opening a bag and just adding water.
Once or twice a month, I cook pizza for my family. They love it, as I do too, but there’s just one problem; three different people, three different pizzas and I don’t just mean toppings.
I personally like the American style pizza with the thick chewy crust around the edge, and a thinner bottom. And of course, packed with toppings, though I rather cook my pizza on a pizza rack where the holes in the rack allow the heat of the oven to directly crisp it up. My wife prefers the very thin cracker type crust, cooked on a pizza stone and requiring very few toppings. Simple is best for her. And my three year son prefers a little personal size pizza all to himself, baked in a small cast iron pan, coated with a thin layer of oil for that extra take-out flavor. He prefers very few toppings, but sticks with the basics cheese and pepperoni.
Just to be clear, yes this is a treat. Aside from the salad we usually have alongside our pizza, all nutrition ideals are thrown out the window on pizza night. I have worked on this restaurant style pizza for years, perhaps since childhood. This is the closest I’ve come to a recipe for pizza that I would be happy to offer in my own pizzeria, if I had one.
One point I can’t emphasize enough is the need to refrigerate the pizza dough. If even for a couple hours, it makes a world of difference in texture. I’ve tried this exact recipe without refrigeration and the texture was close to fluffy white bread. With refrigeration, there’s more chew to the crust. And the longer it stays in the fridge, the more the flavor develops. It’s best to plan for pizza the next day, or start the dough the morning of that day.
The toppings are up to you, though my favorites are red-wine salami, mushrooms, bacon, red onions, and green pepper. Also, if you’re feeling really adventurous, then you can make your own mozzarella cheese. Very easy, though it takes time.
- 750g strong bread flour
- 2 tbsp dry milk powder
- 1 tbsp gluten flour, optional and if available
- 500ml warm water
- 2 tsp yeast
- 1 ½ tbsp sugar
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
1. Weigh out flour with dried milk, and gluten flour into one bowl. Set aside.
2. In a large mixing bowl, combine warm water, sugar, and salt. Stir to dissolve. Sprinkle yeast over the surface and wait 5 minutes until foamy.
3. Add the olive oil to the yeast mixture and stir gently. If using a dough hook, turn on low speed and slowly add the flour. After the flour has been incorporated, turn speed up to medium and knead for 10 minutes. Dough should feel sticky and wet, but just pulls away from the side of the bowl. If it sticks to the side, then add a tiny bit of flour until it starts to pull away.
If kneading by hand, incorporated flour and turn out onto a work surface and knead for 10-15 minutes. The dough should just slightly stick to the surface, but not your hands.
4. Place the dough in a bowl and cover. Let rise for 90 minutes.
5. Punch down and turn out. Cut the dough into portions – 4 medium pizzas, 3 large pizzas. In my case, I make 2 large pizzas, 1 very thin-crust pizza, and 1 little personal sized pizza.
6. Place each portion into a resealable plastic bag and let rise in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours and up to 24 hours.
- 50ml olive oil
- 2 shallots, minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 200g tomato paste
- 370g box of crushed tomatoes
- 250ml water
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp oregano
- 1/4 tsp basil
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1. In a medium saucepan, over med-high heat, add the oil, shallots, and garlic. Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously.
2. Add the tomato paste and cook for another 2 minutes while stirring.
3. Stir in the boiling water and crushed tomatoes. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low.
4. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir well. Let sauce simmer for 20 minutes. Turn off heat and allow sauce to cool in the pan. Pour in an airtight container and store in fridge until needed.
**Preheat oven to highest possible temperature with convection fan setting, with or without pizza stone.
1. Remove one portion of dough from the refrigerator and place on a clean countertop. Lightly dust with flour and/or cornmeal.
2. Roll by hand or rolling pin – choice is yours. I usually start with a rolling pin and finish shaping by hand.
3. Place pizza on a wooden paddle (if using a pizza stone), a pizza rack, or in a deep dish pizza pan (a large cast iron pan works great).
If using a pizza pan and wish to make a Pizza Hut or Domino’s style pizza, then add 1 tbsp of canola oil to the pan before placing the dough inside. Let dough rise in the oil for 15 minutes before adding the toppings.
4. Continue by topping the pizza as desired, starting with sauce, then cheese.
5. If using the pizza stone and wood paddle, then carefully slide the pizza onto the stone and turn on the broil setting of the oven. Should take take 8-10 minutes, depending on your oven.
6. If using a pizza pan or pizza rack, turn only bottom heat setting on and place the pizza on the lowest rack. Bake for 4 minutes, then turn on broiler setting and broil for another 4-6 minutes.
Check the bottom of the pizzas before taking out of the oven. If more time is needed for the bottom, then use only the bottom heat of the oven and place pizza as close to the floor of the oven as possible.
- Pizza dough, enough for one pizza
- 2 tbsp melted butter
- 1 tsp parsley
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 4 slices of thin crispy bacon
- Shredded mozzarella cheese
1. In a small bowl, combine the above ingredients.
2. Roll the pizza dough out very thin.
3. Rub the butter-garlic mixture all over the pizza and cover with generous heaps of mozzarella. Crumple bacon over top and bake as directed above.
4. Remove from oven and slice into rectangular strips. Serve with pizza sauce or sweet garlic sauce.
- 1 can of condensed milk
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp salt
- 2-3 tbsp of white vinegar
1. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, warm the condensed milk until it becomes thin, but doesn’t boil. Add the garlic powder and salt.
2. With a whisk, quickly whisk in the vinegar to create a frothy sauce. This will thicken the sauce significantly so add a couple teaspoons of water to thin it out if you prefer.
3. Serve warm with garlic fingers.