Friday, April 8, 2011

Homemade Pizza For Six or More

I've tried a lot of pizza crust recipes over the years. They were either more like bread dough, or took too much preparation. I also needed something that was very flexible as far as doubling or even making three times the amount. The recipe below finally passed the test. It's easy, tastes like real pizza dough, and can be made cheaply.

The recipe made as is will make three thin round pizzas the size of a round pizza stone, or metal pizza pan. I double it to make one round pizza and three rectangle baking sheets with crust the regular thickness. I buy a jar of yeast, rather than the small packets. It saves money, and I store it in the refrigerator to keep it fresh.

Pizza Crust Base Dough

2 1/2 tsp. or .25 ounce yeast
1 tsp. granulated sugar
1 cup warm water
2 1/2 cups flour
2 tbsp. oil
1 tsp. salt

Place the yeast, sugar and warm water in a mixing bowl. Stir to combine it all-- it won't completely dissolve, but will be close. Allow this to sit for 10 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and stir with a large spoon until a dough is formed. I then oil my hands and knead it in the bowl lightly 5-6 times.

Allow this to sit for ten minutes. Divide the dough between the pizza pans.

The dough can be pressed onto the pan with your hands, but I found that a pastry rolling pin works perfect for rolling the dough while it's on the pan itself. Mine is about 4 inches wide. I start out taking out a section of dough, and shaping it as you see in the above picture. I roll it out to each end, then roll up on the one side, and down on the other, lengthwise. At this point it's easy to stretch or push the remainder of the dough to the edges.

Notes: This recipe can be doubled or tripled easily. This is the most flexible pizza dough I've ever worked with. You can pull gently to stretch it, or use the rolling pin as I did, or a combination of both. It's equally as good when it's thick or thin. My teens and their friends like it when I get the dough and toppings ready, then let them top the pizzas themselves.

Pizza Toppings: I use one jar of inexpensive pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese, hot sausage or Italian sausage, pepperoni and ham. I also saute thinly sliced sweet onion until it's caramelized, then add a drained can of mushrooms, heating until they are warmed through. This really adds a lot of flavor to the pizza.

Cooking: I bake each pizza on the middle rack of the oven at 450 degrees F. I check it a couple of times, and remove when the cheese is lightly browned like the picture above. The time will vary depending on your oven and the thickness of the dough.