I love pizza, and before we started make it at home I’m sure that we had spent a small fortune on pizza delivery. When we first got to Oklahoma it was hard to get by on one income. We were used to my paycheck. I was offered a job back in November but once we calculated the pros and cons it just wasn’t worth it financially. My whole pay check would go straight to daycare for our three kids. So I made staying at home my job. One of my many responsibilities is to manage the finances. We used to eat out at least three times a week and you know what? I do not miss it at all. Once I found out how much money we were spending going out I could’ve hit myself. Plus I learned that there was more than just the benefit of saving money, the food tastes so much better when you make it at home. Yes it might take a little bit more time and effort but it’s totally worth it when I know that I made a delicious home cooked meal for my family and have a little extra cash in our pockets. One of the many things that I probably wont order out for again is Pizza.
The key to a good pizza is a pizza stone. A few months ago I found a pizza stone at Ross for $40. It’s one of my favorite things in my kitchen (one of my other favorites is my KitchenAid mixer that I got for Christmas from my husband, no more kneading pizza dough by hand). Before we got the stone I was baking our pizza on a round metal pizza pan with cornmeal as a pizza peel. The pizza was good but OH MY GOODNESS once I made Pizza on the stone we were hooked. We have pizza night at least once a week. I ask my husband and the kids if they are tired of pizza yet but they insist that I should make it more often.
I did try a couple of pizza dough and sauce recipes before I found the perfect ones.
Yield: enough dough for 2 pizzas
½ cup warm water
2¼ tsp. instant yeast
4 cups (22 oz.) bread flour, plus more for dusting
1½ tsp. salt
1¼ cup water, at room temperature
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Measure the warm water into a 2-cup liquid measuring cup. Sprinkle the yeast over the top. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the bread flour and salt, mixing briefly to blend. Measure the room temperature water into the measuring cup with the yeast-water mixture. With the mixer on low-speed, pour in the yeast-water mixture as well as the olive oil. Mix until a cohesive dough is formed. Switch to the dough hook. Knead on low-speed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, 1½-2 hours.
Press down the dough to deflate it. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Divide the dough into two equal pieces. Form each piece of dough into a smooth, round ball. (If freezing the dough, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze at this point.) Cover with a damp cloth. Let the dough relax for at least 10 minutes but no longer than 30 minutes.
To bake, preheat the oven and pizza stone to 500˚ F for at least 30 minutes. Transfer the dough to your shaping surface, lightly sprinkled with cornmeal*. Shape the dough with lightly floured hands. Brush the outer edge lightly with olive oil. Top as desired. Bake until the crust is golden brown, and cheese is bubbling, 8-12 minutes.
* I place a piece of parchment paper on my counter and shape the pizza on there. No need for cornmeal, just slide the parchment onto a pizza peel and transfer the whole thing to your warm pizza stone.
** If you don’t plan to use the dough right away, divide dough into 2 equal portions after it has risen. Wrap each portion in plastic wrap and place each wrapped dough in a freezer safe bag. The day that you need to use the dough, remove it from the freezer and place it on the counter for a couple of hours or place in the refrigerator the morning of the day you plan to use it. It tastes just as good as the fresh dough.
Source: Baking Illustrated
1 (28 oz.) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp. red wine vinegar
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. oregano
¼ tsp. ground black pepper
combine all ingredients in a food processor. Blend until smooth, about 30 seconds. Transfer to a bowl or container and refrigerate until ready to use.
I use a couple of big spoonfuls per pizza. There is plenty of sauce leftover, I put extra sauce in Ball freezer cups and place them in the freezer for future pizzas. We don’t like a very saucy pizza so we end up having enough sauce for at least 5 freezer cups.