This summer, one of my goals was to figure out how to make pizza completely from scratch. Pizza has always been a staple in my husband’s family. When we were dating his family would have a regular Friday night pizza tradition for dinner. Since I usually was hanging out with him on the weekends it meant it was a tradition that I got to partake in quite frequently.
After we got married, I knew he was slightly disappointed that we didn’t do Friday night pizza on our own, but since we were still in college, ordering pizza once a week wasn’t quite in the budget. He would have been fine having frozen pizza, but since I try to stray away from processed foods, I wasn’t okay with a frozen product being part of our weekly diet.
After a while I started making pizzas more often using the premade crusts from the grocery store. However, this still had it’s issues. Since we live in a small town, the nearest large grocery store is 20 minutes away, so I try to only go grocery shopping biweekly. This didn’t always allow me to include pizza in the meal plan, because sometimes the expiration dates on the crusts didn’t allow them to be kept that long.
Now that it’s summer, and I have time off, I decided it was the perfect opportunity to figure out how to make a homemade crust. Like most of my dough recipes, my preference for making this is to use the standing mixer, but if you don’t have one of those, you could also make this dough in a bread maker. I will include the bread maker instructions at the end of this recipe.
It has been so much fun figuring out how to make the perfect pizza crust, and my husband loves having weekly pizza nights again. He gives this recipe two thumbs up, and says the crust is the best part of it.
The following recipe can be made two different ways depending on the quantity of ingredients you use. It can either make one large pizza or two mediums. I prefer to make enough dough for two medium pizzas because oftentimes I like to add on more toppings than my husband would, and this way we can both enjoy our own pizza styles.
One Large Pizza
1 cup Water
1 tbsp Sugar
1 ½ tsp Active Dry Yeast
3 cups All Purpose Flour
½ tsp Salt
2 tbsp Olive Oil
½ tbsp Dried Parsley
½ tsp Dried Basil
½ tsp Garlic Powder
*Cornmeal – used after dough is made up
Two Medium Pizzas
11 oz Water
1 ½ tbsp Sugar
2 tsp Active Dry Yeast
4 cups All Purpose Flour
¾ tsp Salt
3 tbsp Olive Oil
¾ tbsp Dried Parsley
¾ tsp Dried Basil
¾ tsp Garlic Powder
* Cornmeal – used after dough is made up
Directions – Standing Mixer
1. The first to take when using a recipe with active dry yeast is to “activate” the yeast. To do this, it needs to be mixed into sugary warm water. Notice, it’s warm water. It’s very important that the water isn’t too hot. If it’s too hot the yeast will die, and the dough will not rise. I’ve found that 80 to 90 degree water is just about perfect. To test this you can either stick your finger in the water, and if you can keep it in the water for 20 seconds with no pain it’s probably good, or you can get technical and stick a grilling thermometer in it. If this is your first time activating yeast you may want to use the second strategy until you are practiced at knowing how long you need to heat the water up.
When you have determined that the water is the correct temperature, dissolve the sugar in and then whisk the yeast into the mixture. The yeast should be whisked until it is dissolved. After the yeast has dissolved, leave the mixture to sit for 7-10 minutes. It will be ready to use when a layer of frothy bubbles has accumulated on the top. This froth means the yeast is active and ready to work.
Kitchen Tip 1: If bubbles do not appear at the top of the water mixture, start over. This means one of three things: either your water was too hot, too cold, or you just happened to get a bad yeast packet. Sometimes there is a bad packet when you buy yeast from the store. Even if the expiration date is still good, there is always a chance that the yeast died before you used it. If you do not start over when you notice a lack of bubbles, you will be very disappointed in your end product.
2. After the yeast has been activated, pour the mixture into the bottom of a standing mixer. Add in all of the other ingredients except for the cornmeal. Install the dough hook attachment to the mixer and knead the dough on low for 7 minutes.
Kitchen Tip 2: The dough should have an elastic texture after the kneading process and should only be slightly sticking to the sides of the bowl. If it seems like the dough is still very sticky after the kneading time, add in another ¼ cup of flour and knead the dough for another minute to combine it in.
3. Once the dough has been kneaded, transfer it to a large greased mixing bowl. I’ve found that this typically works better in a glass bowl. I’m not sure why, but it seems to rise more in a glass bowl than a plastic one. Cover the bowl with a thin towel.
4. When the dough has been transferred, it is time for it to rise, or in technical terms, “proof.” When dough is proofing, it is ideal for it to be stored in an environment that is 70 to 80 degrees. Obviously, most peoples’ homes are not kept at this temperature, but find the warmest spot in your house and store it there to rise for an hour. After an hour the dough should be almost double in size.
Kitchen Tip 3: Some newer ovens have a feature on them called “bread proof.” This is an awesome feature if you like to make a lot of homemade bread. Essentially, this function heats your oven to that 70-80 degree marker and provides the perfect environment for bread to rise in. If you have a newer oven, you may want to check and see if this is an option for you.
5. Once the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and knead it with your fingers for a little bit, then reform it into a ball. If you made a batch with enough for two medium pizzas, use this time to split the dough into two identical balls.
6. Before rolling out the dough into a crust shape, there is an important step to take, which involves the cornmeal. You may have noticed that many pizzas at restaurants have cornmeal grains on the bottom of the dough. Not only does this provide an excellent textural element, it also helps the dough not to stick to the pizza pan or stone during the baking process. If you are using a pizza pan, make sure it doesn’t have holes on the bottom of it. Grease the pan and then spread a fine layer of cornmeal directly onto the greased pan. If you are using a stone, you do not have to grease it first, simply spread a fine layer of cornmeal directly onto the stone. Personally, I highly recommend getting a pizza stone. They work great, and can also be used to make rolls, and even cookies on.
7. Once the cornmeal has been spread out, put the dough ball on the center of the pan or stone and roll it out. I usually try to get the dough to at least a ¼ inch of thickness. I like a little bit thicker crust though. If you like a thin crust pizza, you will want to roll it out even further. For another textural element, spread a fine layer of corn meal along the edges of the crust.
Kitchen Tip 4: The center of the pizza always seems to cook a little less than the edges. To make sure it gets done, I recommend leaving the center a little thinner and letting the dough get thicker as you get to the edges.
8. After the dough has been rolled out, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. When the oven is at the correct temperature, put the crust in by itself, with no toppings. Bake it this way for 5 minutes. After the first 5 minutes, take the crust out and add any sauce and toppings. I usually like to leave at least ½ an inch of crust exposed without sauce. DO NOT ADD THE CHEESE YET. Put the pizza back in the oven and cook for another 15 minutes. Finally, once the 15 minutes is done, add the desired cheese and cook for another 4 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
Kitchen Tip 5: The faster you can apply your toppings the better this will go. If you take too long to apply them it can interrupt the baking process and cause the dough to cook unevenly.
Once you have mastered making homemade pizza crust, there are so many different options of recipes to create. It seems like there is an endless list of types of pizza, and they all taste better with homemade crust!
Bread Maker Directions
Making the dough in a bread maker is pretty similar to using a standing mixer, with just a couple of exceptions.
1. By using a bread maker the activation process of the yeast can be cut out. This means there is no need for the sugar in the recipe.
2. Even though the activation step is skipped it is important to put the ingredients in the machine in a certain order. The water and oil need to be put in first. Then the flour and dry ingredients go in. THE YEAST GOES IN LAST. When using the bread maker, recipes turn out better if the yeast doesn’t hit the liquid ingredients until the dough is being kneaded. Make a well in the flour and pour the yeast into that well to keep it safe from the liquids until it is time for them to touch.
3. Just like with the standing mixer recipe, the cornmeal will not be used until the dough is done. Do not put the cornmeal in with the rest of the ingredients.
4. After all the ingredients have been added in, select the dough setting and leave it be until the machine says it is done. The bread maker also takes care of the proofing step, so you can skip directly to Step 5 of the regular recipe once the machine says the dough is finished.
Like this recipe? Check out more of my pizza recipes to make a complete homemade pizza.
Fructose Friendly Marinara Sauce https://soupsonwithschallock.wordpress.com/2020/07/28/fructose-friendly-marinara-sauce/
Italian Sausage Pizza Pieces https://soupsonwithschallock.wordpress.com/2020/07/29/italian-sausage-pizza-pieces/