Home-Made Pizza!

The boys really love their pizza. Given the divergent nature of their food interests, pizza is a convenient meal option when we want something that will please them both. Since we’re trying to eat “a little healthier”, the next step forward was to make our own pizzas instead of relying on Pizza Hut.

The problem with anything home-made that you’ve never made before (except for a very long time ago in home economics) is having to find that perfect recipe that will live up to the family’s expectations. This can be surprisingly difficult when they have already been conditioned to prefer the store-bought flavours. Sometimes we need to experiment with different recipes before we find a mix that will agree with the boys. And since we only like recipes that are “quick and easy” to make, it doesn’t really give us a lot to work with.

Home made pizza

Introducing the “lazy pizza dough” recipe from Smitten Kitchen

This recipe is a real gem of a find so make sure you bookmark it! It is really easy to make and it can be prepared the night before or even a few days in advanced if you really want. I reckon you’ll be hard pressed to find a pizza recipe that is easier to make than this. It is also modifiable so you can make wholewheat and gluten-free pizza bases with this recipe. The cooked texture is a perfect cross between the breaded base and the thin-crust pizza – check it out in the photo below…

Homemade Pizza

For the toppings, you can follow the Margherita recipe from Smitten Kitchen, or you choose your own. The best part about home-made pizza is that you can make toppings to suit everyone’s taste buds. The ones featured in the first photo above are Margherita and Pepperoni. I probably should add that Pepperoni pizzas are a bit tricky because they are very dependent on the pepperoni you use. Get the wrong one and it will ruin your pizza.

Pizza Dough Recipe

The biggest issue I have with this recipe is the need to plan ahead because it does require quite a bit of waiting time.

The Schedule

  • Overnight Dough Schedule: Begin between 8 and 9 p.m the evening before for dinner between 6 to 8 p.m. (approx. 22-hour dough)
  • All-Day Dough Schedule: Begin between 6 and 8 a.m that day for dinner between 6 to 8 p.m. (approx. 12-hour dough)
  • Part-Day Dough Schedule: Begin around noon that day for dinner between 6 to 8 p.m. (approx. 6-hour dough)

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups (375 grams) all-purpose flour (bread flour works too)
  • Slightly heaped 1/8, 1/4 or 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast (for OvernightAll-Day, or Part-Day Schedules respectively, above)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea or kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cup water, plus an additional tablespoon or two if needed (updated)

I found the dough a bit wet – much like the ciabatta bread recipe. We live in a tropical climate with quite high levels of humidity which could affect the dough. To make it easier to handle I would be inclined to use a little less water/more flour.

Method:

In a large bowl, mix all ingredients with a spoon. The dough will be craggy and rough. Cover bowl with plastic and keep at room temperature for approximately 22 (for Overnight schedule), 12 (for All-Day schedule) or 6 (for Part-Day schedule) hours, or until the dough has more than doubled. This takes longer in a chilly room and less in a very warm one, but don’t fret too much over this, as the dough is generally forgiving of a loosened schedule.

About 30 minutes before dough is ready, you can start preparing the ingredients for the topping. Prepare a pizza stone and paddle sprinkling it with cornmeal. You can also use a baking tray, however, the pizza tends to stick to these more. Prepare it by coat it with olive oil or a nonstick cooking spray before sprinkling it with cornmeal. Alternatively, you can line the tray with grease-proof paper.

Heat oven to its highest temperature – 250 degrees celcius. If you’re using a pizza stone, place it in the oven so that it heats too.

Flour your counter very well. Scrape dough out of bowl onto floured counter; in the time it has risen it should change from that craggy rough ball to something very loose, soft, sticky and stretchy. Flour the top of the dough, and divide dough in half. Form them into ball-like shapes. Grab first round with floured hands and let the loose, soft dough stretch and fall away from your hands a few times before landing the dough on your prepared baking sheet. Use floured fingers to press and nudge dough into a roughly round or rectangular shape. Add desired toppings and bake pizza for 10 to 15 minutes, rotating if it’s baking unevenly, until the top is blistered and the crust is golden.

More Pizza Crust Recipes

We’ve also tried these two which worked really well for a more “bready” crust pizza. Want to save these here because they have different prep times which give us more options.

  • Cafe Delites Me Pizza Crust – requires 90 minutes of rising time before you can prepare your pizza.
  • King Arthur Pizza Crust – I blundered with this one. I followed the overnight plan but didn’t realise I needed 2.5 hours of waiting time before I could use the dough. To speed things up, I left the rolled out dough sitting in an oven running at 50 degrees Celcius for an hour before I prepared the toppings and baked it. It still worked out for us so this is another option.

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