It’s no big surprise that we love pizza. We eat pizza at a minimum once a week, and for almost every occasion, we celebrate with a slice of pizza. Although we love going out for pizza, there is something special about making pizza at home, together as a family.
Pizza is a great base for using up odds and ends around the kitchen. Raid the fridge, freezer and pantry and look for the endless combinations of pizza you can create.
Making pizza together as a family at home is a lot of fun. It’s a great chance to interact with your kids and a good opportunity to introduce new foods, in a fun comfortable way. Not to mention, making homemade pizza is considerably cheaper than ordering in. You probably already have everything you need to make homemade pizza in your pantry and fridge, so let’s get cooking!
The last Friday of every month at my school is a build your own pizza day. I make the pizza dough and prepare the toppings, and give each kid their own mini pizza to make their own pizza. It’s always a hit, and the kids love knowing that they helped make lunch.
How To Make Really Good Homemade Pizza
Good pizza starts with good pizza dough. Making pizza dough, doesn’t have to be complicated, but if you’re not comfortable, or just don’t have the time, buy some pre-made pizza dough from your local grocery store. It’s usually found in the refrigerated section near the deli and runs around $1-$2.50.
How To Make Pizza Dough
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup semolina flour
2 1/4 tsp (1 pkg) active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees)
3 cups water
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
In a large bowl, combine 1 tbsp sugar, yeast and 1/4 cup warm water. Whisk together with a fork until the yeast dissolves and looks creamy. Let stand 5 minutes.
In another large bowl, mix semolina, all purpose flour and salt. If you don’t have semolina flour, substitute with all-purpose flour.
Measure out water in a large measuring cup, and add olive oil. Add to yeast mixture and stir to combine.
Stir in flour mixture until a soft, sticky dough forms. Let the dough rest 30 minutes.
Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead, adding more flour if necessary until dough is elastic and smooth – about 10 minutes.
Lightly coat a large bowl with olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl, turning it to oil the top. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in a warm, draft-free area and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.
If you can, make the dough the night before. By letting the dough rest, it becomes easier to work with and creates small air pockets that form in the dough, making it light and crispy.
Next, is a delicious, fresh tomato sauce followed by your favorite toppings. Baking it all in a screaming hot oven makes good homemade pizza great.
Easy Pizza Sauce Recipe
1 15oz can tomato sauce
1 tbsp basil paste or 1 tbsp fresh chopped basil
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 tbsp chopped garlic
Mix all ingredients together in a medium bowl, and set aside until ready to make pizza. I forgot to take a picture of this. Alternatively, you could just use any leftover spaghetti sauce in your fridge.
Pick The Perfect Toppings
A list of popular and uncommon pizza toppings. Don’t buy extra ingredients for your toppings unless you are really craving a certain kind of pizza, chances are you’ll have everything you need in your pantry and fridge. Keep it simple and stick to the basics.
Easy Pizza Sauce (above)
Veggies and Other Toppings:
Roasted Red Pepper
Crushed Red Pepper
Making Your Pizza
Preheat your oven to at least 500 degrees. Don’t be afraid to heat your oven to 550 or higher. Crank it up as high as it will go. If you have a pizza stone, place it in the oven before heating and get it really screaming hot. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper and sprinkling it with a little cornmeal.
Let the oven heat for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
If making individual pizzas, use a sharp knife, or a pastry cutter, and cut dough into four even pieces. Use your fingers to gently stretch out dough. Don’t sweat the weird shapes, making perfectly round pizza dough takes years of practice. If the dough becomes hard to work with and doesn’t want to stretch, cover it with a damp towel and walk away for 10 minutes. When you come back it should have relaxed, and will be ready to re work. Shape dough, and place on prepared baking sheet, and get ready to top your pizzas.
Make your pizza unique by using your favorite combinations of sauce, cheese and toppings.
Once you’re done making your pizzas, bake for 15-20 minutes, making sure to rotate the pan half way through the cooking process. If you have a pizza stone, carefully transfer your pizzas from the baking sheet to the stone after 10 minutes of cooking time for extra crispy crust.
Remove from oven, and let rest 2-3 minutes before slicing.
What are your favorite pizza toppings?