How to Make Pizza from Scratch – Crust, Sauce and Topping Options

Serves 4

Pictorial guide included.

I always thought of pizza as something that you order for take-out or delivery from the local pizzeria.  Well, I thought this until I learned to make pizza at home.  Trust me when I tell you, there’s a huge difference in taste and quality when it’s homemade.  Many people consider all the different components involved in a pizza and are scared off, but here are only two things that you really need to put in any effort to make and that’s minimal effort at that.  If you have a stand mixer or a bread machine then your job just became 90% easier!  This crust is very easy to make and takes just a few minutes of actual work.  The ingredients are minimal, but the taste and texture are phenomenal.  The result is a thin and crispy crust without any fancy equipment.  You don’t need a pizza stone, or a pizza peel or even corn grits.  All you need is a large non-stick baking tray, circular (14”) or rectangular in shape.

Just like the crust, the sauce is a minimalist recipe as well, but with a well-balanced taste thanks to the oregano, parmesan cheese and tomato base.  This sauce makes itself known in the pizza, but without overwhelming your taste buds.  It’s subtle and gives just the right amount of tang and yet lets the crust and toppings take centre stage.  I’m going to show of how to make two different types of pizzas, but as with take-out pizza, the options are as varied as you can think of.  The first one is a basic pepperoni pizza and the second is a Mediterranean chicken pizza and they’re fantastically flavourful, delicious, crispy and gooey.  Let’s get started.

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How to Make Pizza from Scratch – Recipe

Ingredients

For Crust

  • 1 ¾ cups flour
  • 1 ¼ tsp. (1/2 envelope) yeast
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ¾ cup warm water
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil, and more to grease bowl

For Sauce

  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ cups tomato sauce
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1 Tbsp. basil, finely chopped
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp. parmesan cheese

Toppings

For Pepperoni

  • 2 cups mozzarella cheese, freshly grated
  • 40 – 50 sliced pepperoni

For Mediterranean Chicken

  • 3 cups of packed baby spinach, sautéed in garlic and olive oil
  • 1 cup of roasted peppers, sliced into narrow strips
  • 1 cup of baked or pan-fried chicken breast, sliced into narrow strips
  • ¼ cup of feta cheese, crumbled
  • 2 cups, mozzarella cheese, freshly grated

Instructions

For Crust

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment (or into a large bowl if making by hand), add all the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until well combined.
  2. Add warm water and olive oil and continue to mix on low speed until everything comes together (or kneed for 10 minutes if making by hand or until dough is soft and elasticy, skip to step 4).
  3. Increase speed to medium and knead for 3 minutes.  Turn up speed to medium-high and kneed for 1 minute and turn back down to medium speed and knead for 2 minutes.  Dough should be soft and elasticy.  Turn off stand mixer or electric egg beater.   If dough is too dry add warm water 1 Tbsp. at a time until desired texture is achieved.  If dough is too watery add more flour until desired consistency is achieved.
  4. Grease a large bowl with a little bit of olive oil, shape dough into a ball and drop into the prepared bowl and swirl around until dough is coated in olive oil.  Cover and place in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.

For Sauce

  1. While the dough is rising make the tomato sauce.  Warm a pot over medium heat and add olive oil.  Sautee garlic until aromatic, 1 minute.
  2. Add tomato sauce and cook until warmed through.  Add all other ingredients except the parmesan cheese and cook until mixture comes to a boil, 2 – 3 minutes.
  3. Taste test and adjust seasoning if necessary.  Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook until sauce begins to thicken, 5 minutes.  Turn off heat, add parmesan cheese and mix well until combined.  Set aside to cool.

For Assembling and Baking

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Once dough has risen, place on baking tray and stretch (do not roll with a rolling pin) to fit.  Press dough into the side of the baking tray in order to make an edge and crust if desired.  You do not need to grease the baking tray as there’s already olive oil on the dough.
  2. Spoon sauce on top of the dough and spread until it evenly covers the dough.  Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top.
  3. If making pepperoni, arrange pepperoni slices on top (each slice touching its neighbour as the pepperoni will shrink when baking and you don’t want large gaps).
  4. If making Mediterranean chicken, then add the sautéed baby spinach, roasted peppers and baked/pan-fried chicken evenly over the mozzarella cheese sprinkle crumpled feta cheese on top.
  5. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is cooked through and crispy.  Turn off oven, remove pizza and let it sit for a few minutes prior to slicing.

Pictorial

For Crust

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  1. In a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment (or into a large bowl if making by hand), add all the dry ingredients and mix on low speed until well combined.
  2. Add warm water and olive oil and continue to mix on low speed until everything comes together (or kneed for 10 minutes if making by hand or until dough is soft and elasticy, skip to step 4).
  3. Increase speed to medium and knead for 3 minutes.  Turn up speed to medium-high and kneed for 1 minute and turn back down to medium speed and knead for 2 minutes.  Dough should be soft and elasticy.  Turn off stand mixer or electric egg beater.   If dough is too dry add warm water 1 Tbsp. at a time until desired texture is achieved.  If dough is too watery add more flour until desired consistency is achieved.

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  1. Grease a large bowl with a little bit of olive oil, shape dough into a ball and drop into the prepared bowl and swirl around until dough is coated in olive oil.  Cover and place in a warm place to rise for 1 hour.

For Sauce

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  1. While the dough is rising make the tomato sauce.  Warm a pot over medium heat and add olive oil.  Sautee garlic until aromatic, 1 minute.
  2. Add tomato sauce and cook until warmed through.  Add all other ingredients except the parmesan cheese and cook until mixture comes to a boil, 2 – 3 minutes.

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  1. Taste test and adjust seasoning if necessary.  Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to cook until sauce begins to thicken, 5 minutes.  Turn off heat, add parmesan cheese and mix well until combined.  Set aside to cool.

For Assembling and Baking

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  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Once dough has risen, place on baking tray and stretch (do not roll with a rolling pin) to fit.  Press dough into the side of the baking tray in order to make an edge and crust if desired.  You do not need to grease the baking tray as there’s already olive oil on the dough.

 20140621_152851 20140621_153157(0) 20140621_151202 20140621_153622 20140621_154114

  1. Spoon sauce on top of the dough and spread until it evenly covers the dough.  Sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top.
  2. If making pepperoni, arrange pepperoni slices on top (each slice touching its neighbour as the pepperoni will shrink when baking and you don’t want large gaps).
  3. If making Mediterranean chicken, then add the sautéed baby spinach, roasted peppers and baked/pan-fried chicken evenly over the mozzarella cheese sprinkle crumpled feta cheese on top.
  4. Bake for 12 – 15 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is cooked through and crispy.  Turn off oven, remove pizza and let it sit for a few minutes prior to slicing.

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Serve with a simple side salad and chili flakes on the side.

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