Recipe: Delicious Homemade Pizza

You get home and you're hungry, tired, and don't want to leave the house. Order out, right? Nope. It takes about as long to make pizza as it does to have it delivered. In 40 minutes or less you can have your own homemade pizza.

Here's my simple recipe:
  • 4 cups of flour

  • 2 cups of warm water

  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast

  • 1 tablespoon or less kosher salt

  • 8 oz (1 small can) of tomato sauce

  • 16 oz ball of mozzarella cheese

  • Dried oregano

  • Olive oil

Toppings: pepperoni, black olives, jalapenos, sausage, basic, bell pepper, artichoke hearts, you name it.

Toss the yeast and 1 cup of water into a bowl and let the yeast proof for about 10 minutes. The water should be warm, about 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

When the yeast bubbles, mix in two cups of flour. I like to use Bob's Red Mill Unbleached White. If you use wheat you will need more water, and I'd suggest mixing half and half, white and wheat. Gently mix the flour and water with your hand or a wooden spoon until it's a slurry. Toss in the salt and mix some more.

Add most of the second cup of water and then the remaining two cups of flour. If you want a crisp crust then the dough should be on the wet side, whereas a drier dough will make it more bready. Don't knead it too much: that makes it tough. When all the dry flour is mixed in, make a ball and drizzle it with olive oil. Then divide the dough into two balls and place each ball onto a cookie sheet covered with tablespoon or so of olive oil (hint: you can't use too much olive oil).

Turn on the oven to 400 or 425 Fahrenheit to preheat.

Use a food processor to grate the mozzarella, and also use it to slice the bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, and any other veggie you can think of (I usually avoid broccoli on the pizza). This should take about five or ten minutes.

Use your hands to flatten out the pizza dough on the cookie sheets. There's enough dough to form two pizzas that are almost 18"x12" each. Don't worry about getting too thin, although you'll want to squeeze shut any holes that develop.

Open the can of tomato sauce and divide it between the two crusts. Use the tablespoon to spread the sauce around evenly. Give it a good dose of oregano and then spread the mozzarella over the sauce. Add your toppings and then pop the pizzas in the oven. Cook for 18 to 20 minutes. If your oven is small, you might want to swap racks about 10 minutes in so each pizza cooks evenly.

Instead of tomato sauce you can use two or three fresh tomatoes blended in the food processor with a touch of salt and maybe some basil. Or, use fresh pesto.

I usually use part-skim mozzarella. If you get low-fat mozzarella the cheese doesn't melt very well. It's slow to melt on the part near the sauce, and forms a crust on the top. And if you use Soyrella go extra light. That stuff hardly melts at all, but turns instead into a gelatinous liquid.

When heating water for yeast, you can either get hot out of the tap, or use cold water and heat it up in a microwave. In either case it should feel hot to your fingers, but not burning hot.

Serve with beer. (And a salad, if you're into that.)

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