The pandemic came, and at first it was nice to stay hunkered down, cozy at home. But after a couple hours of that, boredom set in. I knew I had to keep busy or go crazy. Those were my two choices. So I chose to keep busy. Did I decide to work out and finally get in shape? Nope. I decided I would get seriously good at making homemade pizza! It was a good decision, my friends! Through A LOT of trial and error, I finally got it just right. This recipe is absolutely mouth-watering. Now, I’m going to share my step-by-step recipe with you so that you, too, can become a pizza making professional. And, yes, all the pictures in this article are pizzas that I made at home with this recipe!
KITCHEN ITEMS YOU’LL NEED –
- 16 inch Pizza Stone (buy from Amazon, or get it paid for….read the entire recipe) https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01GW4CDOS/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
- Very large mixing bowl (5 liter capacity)
- Large mixing bowl (4 liter capacity)
- Small mixing bowl (1 liter capacity)
- Mixing cup set (tspn up to 1 cup)
- 16 inch Pizza Peel https://www.amazon.com/American-Metalcraft-2616-Pizza–Handle/dp/B0001MRSKM/ref=sr_1_10?dchild=1&keywords=16+inch+pizza+peel&qid=1611777278&s=home-garden&sr=1-10
- Pizza slicer (round one is fine, but getting one of those half moon ones makes you look so much more legit https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01MXXD7QS/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1 )
INGREDIENTS YOU’LL NEED-
- Flour (14 cups plus one-half cup)
- Corn meal (half cup)
- Dried fast acting yeast (3 tbsp)
- Garlic powder
- 1/3 stick butter
- 14.5 oz can crushed red tomatoes
- Olive oil
- 16oz BelGioioso fresh sliced mozzarella cheese
- 8oz shredded cheddar cheese
- Toppings of your choice
Step 1: Making the Dough
Every pizza starts and ends with the dough. If the dough stinks, the pizza stinks. So we’ve got to get this right, and this is the step that took me the
longest to nail. Keep that in mind as you try this recipe out…you probably won’t get it just right the first, second, or even eighth time. But be
patient, you’ll eventually get it, and it will be SO worth it.
I always make enough dough for six pizzas at once. You’ll understand why later in this article. Dough freezes very easily and keeps for months. The pictures you’re seeing in this article were made with dough that was frozen then thawed before use!
Ingredient List: 5 cups hot water, 2 tbsp sugar, 3 tbsp dried fast acting yeast, 14 cups/3 liters of all purpose flour, 2 tbsp salt
Process: Put the water in a VERY large mixing bowl (with 5 liters of capacity or more). Make sure the water is HOT and put a food grade thermometer in the water. We will do the next steps while we wait for the water to drop to 110 degrees. Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl with at least 4 liters of capacity. Use a whisk to stir the salt and sugar gently into the four. When the water drops to 100F, put the yeast into the water and use the whisk to stir vigorously for at least one minute. Then, take the four, sale, sugar mix in the large bowl and dump it into the very large mixing bowl with the water and yeast. Use a large serving spoon to stir the flour into the water. Stir for a couple minutes. The dough will look dry at this point. Don’t worry. That’s how it’s supposed to be. Clear an area of at least two feet by two feet or more of countertop space and very lightly flour it. Dump the dough onto the countertop and knead it for a minimum of 10 minutes. This is super crucial. If you don’t know how to knead dough, it’s easy. Check out this how-to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9avZp3xFNU It will be helpful to have about half a cup of flour on the side so you can drizzle the dough with flour as you’re kneading it, if necessary.
Once kneading is complete, clean the very large bowl and dry it immediately. Take a small amount of olive oil and coat the sides of the bowl. Then, take your dough ball and put it in the bowl. Take a 100% cotton cooking rag, soak it in very hot water, and ring it out. Then spread the towel over the top of the bowl to completely cover the top of the bowl. Now, you let the dough sit for at least one hour, but ideally 24 hours. We need to give the yeast time to do its thing. The dough will probably double in size. It should. This is good!
Once the resting time is complete, lightly flour the countertop and drop the dough onto the counter. Using a small amount of flour, knead the dough another 2 or 3 minutes. Next, cut the huge dough ball into 6 pieces as equal in size and weight as possible. Now you’ve got enough to make six 16 inch pizzas! Take however many you’re not going to use and put them into freezer safe bags. One quart size freezer bags should be just big enough. Be sure to squeeze out at much air out of the bags as possible before freezing the dough or you’ll end up with some freezer burn. I always make two pizzas at a time (enough for two meals along with salad for my four-person family) because the amount of sauce and cheese I will recommend later is for two pizzas.
Depending on when you make the pizzas, you need to take this VERY important step. Put a pizza stone in the oven and preheat the oven to 500 degrees for AT LEAST half hour, but preferably one hour before cooking. The pizza stone itself is critical to cooking the pizza properly, and the longer you preheat it, the more the moisture will evaporate, and the pizza will cook more evenly. Buy a pizza stone on Amazon for $50. It’s not cheap, but it’s incredibly worth it if you plan on perfecting your pizza skills. It’ll pay for itself in no time in money savings compared to take out pizza. The pizza you’re about to make would cost you $25 or more at a proper pizzeria and will taste the same, if not better!!
Step 2: Making the sauce
Using store bought sauce will ruin your pizza. Don’t do it! This sauce recipe is SO easy and is ready in about 5 minutes. You can use this recipe for pizza, but it also works for spaghetti or any pasta!
Ingredients – One 14.5 oz can of crushed red tomatoes, olive oil, garlic powder, salt, oregano, basil.
Process: Open the can of crushed tomatoes and dump it into a stainless-steel mesh strainer. Rotate the strainer around to strain out as much liquid as possible. This may take a minute or two of rotating. Then, dump the remaining contents into a small mixing bowl. Add about 2 tbsp of olive oil, then garlic powder, salt, oregano, and basil to taste (for me, that’s about 2 tsp garlic powder and salt, and one tsp of the others). Mix the ingredients together.
Dump the mixture onto a medium sized flat frying pan on the stove over low to medium heat. As the mixture heats, it will steam up and that’s okay. That’s the remaining moisture evaporating. Use a flat wooden utensil to push the sauce back and forth. After a few minutes, the sauce will be done. Keep doing this until it reaches a thick consistency that you’d expect out of a high-quality pizza sauce.
Step 3: Making the pizza
Now, you need to take your dough ball and form it into a crust. This takes A LOT of practice, and you’ll develop your own technique. What works for me is to first use my fists to flatten, then I use my flat hands and fingertips to spread the dough round, making sure to leave the edges of the crust a little higher than the rest of the dough to give the crust that ticker edge when it’s done cooking. This process usually takes a good 5 to 6 minutes. Don’t be surprised when the dough wants to retain its shape and get smaller. You need to work the dough into the crust form in this process. The crust should be 14 to 16 inches in diameter when you’re done.
Once the crust is formed, you want to put it onto a pizza peel. Get a WOOD one from Amazon for 15 bucks. It’s worth it. Before you put the crust on the peel, you want very lightly sprinkle a 50/50 mixture of flour and corn meal onto the peel. It’ll make sliding it into the oven MUCH easier.
Next, you can do this optional step. In a small microwave safe bowl, mix 1/3 stick butter with 2 tspn (not tbsp) each of olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and oregano. Microwave it for about 20 to 25 seconds until melted. Take a basting brush and brush the top and sizes of the pizza crust with this mix. This will give your crust a real garlic bread type taste, and it’s also how I get the crust to look so perfectly golden-brown like in the restaurants.
Next, take half the sauce and spread it over the top of the crust.
For the cheese, you want to use fresh mozzarella. Don’t use shredded motz. You’ll diminish the quality of your pizza significantly. I recommend BelGioioso mozzarella cheese. You can get 16oz (enough for TWO pizzas) fresh BelGioioso motz at most grocery stores, but if you have a Costco membership, you can get two 16oz packages for the same price Pick N Save charges me for one. So, take your 160z of fresh mozzarella, only use 8 oz on one pizza. Break the cheese up into smaller chunks. I often cut it into small cubes to make even distribution easier. Spread the 8 oz of cheese around the pizza. Add whatever toppings you desire. I recommend deli fresh pepperoni or sausage IF you’re going to do meat. But Hormel Bold Sliced Pepperoni also works.
The last thing you want to do is to take some shredded cheddar cheese (yes, for this step, shredded works better) and lay it over the top of the toppings. About half a cup of cheddar will do.
Once you’ve added the topping, you’re ready to put the za in the oven. Slide the pizza onto the pizza stone in your preheated oven and set a timer for 10 minutes. While the first pizza is cooking, use make another pizza and use up the rest of the sauce and cheese on this second pizza. My family always eats one and saves another one for dinner the next night!
After the 10-minute timer goes off, check to see if the crust is golden brown and the cheddar cheese is starting to brown. If not, put it in another one to two minutes and check again. It absolutely should not need more than 12 minutes, but ALWAYS check at 10 because it’s done 80% of the time after 10 minutes.
This is a very long recipe, but it is SOOOOO good. If you decide to try it out, please send a picture of your result to me (firstname.lastname@example.org). The first person to do so will get a $100 Amazon gift card!! Look at that: your pizza stone, pizza peel, and pizza cutter will be paid for!!