Happy National Pizza Day! Pizza is another one of the foods that I grew up on. I didn’t grow up on frozen pizza or pizza that came from a restaurant with a red roof. I didn’t grow up in Chicago or New York where they have their own way of doing pizza.
I grew up with a father who loved doing things for himself and doing things his own way. Once he found a dough and sauce that everyone in the family deemed “it” that was his standard pizza recipe. The toppings varied a little bit by palate, but the pizza was fairly straightforward: dough, pizza sauce, shredded mozzarella, toppings of meat (usually browned and drained ground beef) and veggies (parboiled diced onion and green pepper).
As I became an adult and started making pizza for my own family I incorporated more variations. I tried different doughs, different sauces, different cheese, and vastly different toppings. My girls discovered they don’t like too much red sauce, if any. One of them loves goat cheese on pizza. One loves hamburger or sausage. The Hubs will eat almost anything that I put on a pizza, and I love experimenting with veggies and seafood toppings. I did find a basic pizza dough recipe that I use most often. It’s straightforward and easy to turn into thick or thin crust.
Homemade pizza has been a staple of my life for over 4 decades and that isn’t going to change anytime soon. Enjoy some pizza yourself today, and enjoy my pizza recipe!
- 3 ½ cups bread flour
- 1 ½ – 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 packet active dry yeast
- 1 ½ teaspoons granulated sugar (or honey)
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ¼ cups lukewarm water
Add the flour and salt to the bowl of the mixer, making a well in the middle. Heat the water to lukewarm in a large microwave proof measuring cup, add the yeast, sugar, and olive oil and leave for a few minutes. Gently mix the ingredients in the measuring cup with a fork, the pour gently into the middle of the flour. Mix at a slow speed until the liquid starts to incorporate into the flour. Increase the speed on the mixer gradually. Once all of the ingredients have become mixed, turn the speed up to medium and mix for 5-7 minutes. The dough will pull away from the sides and bottom of the bowl and become smooth and springy. Lightly oil the bottom of the bowl with olive oil and cover with plastic wrap. Let it sit in a warm area until doubled in size.
When the dough has doubled in size, dump it onto a floured surface and punch down the dough. This is a quick kneading to get the air bubbles out of the dough. Form the dough into a large ball. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into fourths (I was able to get 4 good sized pizzas using this recipe). Make balls of the cut dough, placing 3 back into the bowl. Cover with the plastic wrap. On a well-floured surface, roll out the dough to desired thickness.
Pizza Sauce (traditional)
- 2 8-ounce cans tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- A pinch of sugar
Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Spread over prepared, rolled out pizza dough. Follow with cheese and toppings.
Optional Pizza Sauce
- ½ – 1 teaspoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ¼ teaspoon minced garlic
- ¼ teaspoon dried oregano (or use fresh)
- ¼ teaspoon dried basil (or several leaves of fresh)
Spread olive oil over prepared, rolled out pizza dough. Sprinkle garlic and herbs over the oil. Follow with cheese and toppings.
- Mozzarella, shredded
- Fresh Mozzarella
- Cream cheese
- Canadian Bacon
- Ground beef, browned and drained
- Italian Sausage, browned and drained
- Chicken breast, cooked and sliced
- Smoked Salmon
- Green Pepper
- Artichoke hearts
- Roasted Red Pepper
Remove all but one rack from the oven. Place cool, clean pizza stone on bottom rack. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.
Roll out dough for one pizza. Keep remaining dough covered, to avoid drying out. Place dough on peel or upside down baking sheet covered with parchment. Spread preferred over crust. Top with preferred cheese or cheeses. Add meat or veggie toppings of choice over pizza. Gently slide parchment, with unbaked pizza on top onto the hot pizza stone. Bake for 6-8 minutes, depending on thickness of crust. Cheese will be melty and toppings starting to brown. Remove onto a cutting board. Cool slightly before cutting into generous pieces and serving.