It’s time for some recipes!
I married into a family that LOVES pizza. LOVES. I don’t think that I could be fully accepted into the family until I liked pizza just as much as they do. When we lived in Italy and near Chicago, we ate some of the world’s best pizza. All pizza is now judged by those standards. When I first met my husband’s family, we would go to his parents’ house and have homemade pizza. They have their pizza making down to a science. Everyone has jobs and they work as a team and the pizza is amazing all the time. About 8 years ago, my husband asked me to learn how to make the family pizza crust. I felt very intimated to try to live up to the standards of his Mom and Dad! They were experts! How would I learn to make pizza as well as them? Flash forward 8 years, and I could make this pizza crust in my sleep! It really is very simple. As my husband and I were starting to cut packaged and processed foods out of our diet, he asked me to start making our own pizza sauce. I found a recipe that is easy and very flavorful. We haven’t bought pre-made pizza sauce since!
Here’s how my recipe posts will work: I will first list some of the kitchen tools that I think you will find helpful in making the recipes. Then, I will give step by step instructions along with pictures (very amateur pictures). At the bottom of the post, you will find the ingredient list for convenience.
Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer. Jason gave me this gift for Valentine’s Day when we lived in Italy and I absolutely love it! You can use any stand mixer for this recipe, but this mixer is my personal favorite!
Rolling Pin: I have used wooden rolling pins and marble rolling pins to make pizza crust. Right now I have this ceramic Kitchen Aid rolling pin. Any of them will work. Just use what you already have. If you need to purchase one, you don’t have to get an expensive one.
Garlic Press: I just recently purchased a garlic press from Ikea. Amazing! I think I will only keep jarred garlic in my fridge in case I run out of fresh. We LOVE garlic in this family. Fresh, minced garlic is awesome! This is a kitchen tool that you can find for under $10 on Amazon. It’s worth it in my opinion. http://www.amazon.com/000-891-63-Koncis-Garlic-Press-Stainless/dp/B00PNKYZQC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1442228359&sr=8-1&keywords=ikea+garlic+press
Pizza Pans: This is another personal preference area. Some people use pizza stones and some use pizza pans. We have used both. Right now, we use these two pizza pans. They have been shown a lot of love. We have also used our Pampered Chef baking stone in the past. These are all good options. I haven’t burnt a pizza crust yet. 🙂
Immersion Blender: This is not a must have item for this recipe. I use the immersion blender to blend the sauce ingredients. You could also use a food processor or possibly a blender (I have not tried this method). I just absolutely love my immersion blender. I can place it right in the sauce pan and blend my ingredients. I also use it to make soups and I have tried homemade mayo. This is the immersion blender I purchased: http://www.amazon.com/Conair-Cuisinart-CSB-75BC-Blender-Brushed/dp/B00ARQVM5O/ref=sr_1_1?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1442231501&sr=1-1&keywords=immersion+blender
Pizza Cutter: Any old pizza cutter will work. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on this item.
You need about 3-4 hours in order to make pizza crust and 2 hours to make the sauce. I make the pizza crust first and then the sauce. This recipe makes 3 pizzas. You only need 6 ingredients to make the crust! Let’s cook!
Add one package of Active Dry yeast to your mixing bowl along with 1 3/4 cups hot water. I like to use very hot tap water (so scientific). I have never used a thermometer to test the water. I just use the hottest tap water that I can get. Mix the yeast and water together for one minute.
Next, add 1 1/2 cups of flour to your yeast mixture and mix for one minute. I used all-purpose flour this time. I have used half whole wheat and half all-purpose before. I have also used bread flour. Just use what you have in your pantry. Stay away from self-rising flour for this recipe. I am not familiar with gluten-free flours so I won’t be able to help in that area. I’d love to know if you try it and something works for you!
Now, add 1 egg, 1 TBSP oil (olive or canola), 1 tsp salt, and 1 TBSP sugar to the mixing bowl. Mix until everything is incorporated. The next step is to add enough flour to your mixture to complete your dough. I haven’t measured this before, but I think it is somewhere around 3 cups. You want to add enough flour to the mixture so that the dough pulls away from the side of the bowl. Add a little bit at a time. It should look like this:
Now you will need a well-floured surface to work with. Form your dough into a ball and placed on the floured surface. It’s time to knead your dough. Kneading the dough makes bread and rolls (or pizza crust) light, airy, and chewy. It’s a pretty simple, yet very important step. Here is a short video to show you how to knead (She says to knead for 5 minutes. I probably knead for 3):
When you have finished kneading your dough, shape it into a ball and place it back in your mixing bowl to rise. My doughs always rise better if the kitchen is warm, but it’s not a must. Your dough will be ready when it has doubled or more than doubled in size. this process takes 2-3 hours. Sometimes my dough doubles in size and sometimes it rises all the way to the top of the bowl! Working with dough is always an adventure!
While your dough is rising, prepare your sauce ingredients. You only need a few ingredients for a flavorful sauce! My recipe was inspired by: http://www.kitchentreaty.com/our-very-favorite-homemade-pizza-sauce/
In a medium sauce pan, on medium heat, add 2 TBSP of olive oil and warm it. Use your garlic press (or finely chop fresh garlic or use minced garlic in a jar). I used 4 cloves. We love garlic. Adjust according to your family’s likes. Add the garlic to the warm oil. You don’t want to oil too hot or your garlic will burn. Burned garlic is bad. All you want to do is flavor the oil. Stir the garlic for a couple of minutes in the oil. When it starts to turn golden brown (like this picture), it is ready.
Add 2 cans of diced tomatoes (regular diced or petite diced) along with 1 TBSP oregano, 1 tsp sugar, 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes, 1 tsp kosher salt (use regular if you don’t have kosher).
Stir all ingredients together and bring to a simmer. Simmer means to bring something to a boil and then lower the heat. For this sauce, I would lower to medium low. Let the sauce simmer for 90 minutes. After 90 minutes, take the sauce off the stove and allow to cool. Once it has cooled, blend with the immersion blender for a few minutes until it is smooth like this picture.
Now that your sauce is ready, it’s time to roll out the crust. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Once again, make sure your countertop is well floured. If the dough sticks to your hands or the countertops, just add more flour. I divide my dough into 3 balls. Place one of the doughs on your floured surface. Starting from the middle of your dough, move the rolling pin towards the outside edge of your dough. Continue rolling in all directions until you have a circle the size of your pizza pan. It doesn’t have to be a perfect circle. it just needs to fit your pizza pan!
Now it’s time to add your toppings. In our family, we add the sauce, the toppings, and then the cheese. Some people do cheese and then some toppings. Whatever floats your boat! It’s pizza! Have fun! Pizza is a great recipe to have the kids help with. You could make more than 3 crusts with this recipe if you make small, personal size pizzas. My kids love to put on their own toppings. Sausage is a favorite ingredient in this house!
Bake your pizza at 375 degrees until the cheese starts to turn golden brown. Here is the finished product:
I hope you try out the pizza recipe. It’s a great family activity. Please let me know if you have any trouble or something isn’t clear in my directions. I’m here to help! Here are the ingredients and amounts that you need for your grocery list:
1 package active dry yeast
4 1/2 cups of flour divided
1 TBSP oil (olive or canola)
1 tsp salt
1 TBSP sugar
2 cans diced tomatoes (regular diced or petite diced)
2 TBSP olive oil
3-4 cloves of garlic
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 TBSP oregano
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp kosher salt
Happy Cooking! I hope you enjoy! 🙂