A warm pie fresh from the oven, a chewy crust, gooey, melting cheese...few foods delight the senses like pizza. While it’s tough to match a delicious brick oven pie with a homemade pizza, you can get pretty close with a good recipe (like this one) and a few essential tips.
But before we go into how easy it is to make pizza dough, what is it exactly about those divinely delicious triangles that make it so universally craved?
3 Reasons Why We Love Pizza So Much
1. You can eat it for any meal of the day
The only thing limiting you is your creativity. Adding tempeh bacon onto your pie makes for a tasty breakfast pizza. Slather that dough with all-fruit jam instead of pizza sauce, top with sliced fruit and you’ve got a delicious dessert pizza. And, of course, leftover, cold pizza can be eaten at any time.
2. A slice to suit everyone
Roasted veggies, black olives, sauteed mushrooms, green peppers, homemade white sauce, fresh or sauteed chopped greens. The possibilities are endless when it comes to dressing up your pizza in something that suits your taste.
3. Eating veggies is a lot easier
Want to find a creative way to up your intake of essential vitamins? Then load up your pie with some veggies. Because let’s be honest, eating vegetables is much more fun when they are blanketed in the trio of melted non-dairy cheese, sauce and crust.
Homemade Pizza Recipe: Simple, Easy, Delicious
You might think that good homemade pizza is all about the recipe, but the secret lies in how you make the crust.
Making The Pizza Dough
Yes, you can opt to buy pre-made baked pizza crusts from your grocery store. However, you won’t get that soft and crispy texture common with pizzas made from raw dough. The folks over at Macheesmo did a comparison test and found that homemade pizza dough is a third of the price of pre-made pizza crusts and less than half the price of store-bought pizza dough.
Making your own pizza dough is fairly easy once you get the hang of it. But it requires planning and plenty of resting time to allow the dough to rise. Anything yeast-based is scary for some people, but it is easy to make and use, like I’m about to show you.
Start by proofing the yeast. Combine the warm water and sugar, which will help jump-start the yeast process because yeast feeds on sugar. Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water mixture and let it sit until it gets foamy.
Add the salt to the flour. I prefer to use unbleached, white, all-purpose flour in this recipe. Bleaching the flour strips away some of the protein (gluten), affecting how much water the flour absorbs. Using the wrong flour can turn your favorite pizza crust recipe into a soggy mess.
Add the activated yeast, oil, and flour mixture into a food processor and let all the ingredients combine until the dough is sticky. If you don’t have a food processor, mix the ingredients with a wooden spoon in a large bowl until they are all thoroughly combined and smooth. Sprinkle in a little more flour if it's too wet.
Transfer your dough into a lightly oiled bowl and then cover it with plastic wrap or a damp towel. A quick fermentation (around 1-1½ hours in a warm place) will allow the dough to rise sufficiently. But if you have the time, a slow fermentation (24 hours in the fridge) will result in more complex flavors in the dough.
Tip: Giving the dough time to rise is essential to allow the gluten to form. If you try to work with the dough before it’s ready, it becomes stubbornly resistant and refuses to spread. If you force it, it can lead to tears in the pizza crust, which results in sauce dribbling from the cracks when you bake your pizza.
Once the dough is ready, place it on a lightly floured surface and shape it into a ball while working flour into the dough. Cut the dough in half (the measurements in this recipe are enough for two pizzas). You can wrap up the other half in plastic wrap, store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours, or freeze it for up to 3 months (The Kitchn has a very helpful post on freezing pizza dough).
Transfer the dough ball onto a piece of parchment paper and flatten it with your hands. Starting at the center and working outwards, use your fingertips to stretch the dough until it reaches the desired diameter.
Assembling the Pizza
To get the brick-oven effect at your home, preheat your oven to 465°F (or its highest setting) and place your pizza pan, pizza stone or baking sheet in the lower third of your oven.
Spread an even thin layer of pizza sauce on the dough. I love using my homemade carrot pizza sauce, which gives the sauce a subtly sweet flavor and is a great way to add more veggies into the dish.
Add your choice of toppings. Take it easy on this front - a little goes a long way. A few, usually no more than 3 or 4 toppings—this includes the sauce and cheese—is sufficient. If you load the dough down with a ton of toppings, it may take too long for the crust to cook.
Tip: These days it's easy to find non-dairy shredded mozzarella, which melts nicely and has great flavor. For this pizza I used a cultured vegan mozzarella by Miyoko's and shredded it myself.
Remove your pizza pan, pizza stone, or baking sheet from the oven, quickly place the pizza on parchment paper on it, and then return it into the oven. Bake for about 12 minutes or until the crust is browned and the cheese is golden.
If you like fresh greens or herbs (like arugula or basil) on your pizza, sprinkle them over the pizza right when it comes out of the oven. The residual heat from the pizza will wilt the greens just slightly and bring out their flavor.
If You Enjoyed This Homemade Pizza Recipe Then You Should Try…
My roasted potatoes and asparagus recipe which makes a great side-dish.
This homemade carrot pizza sauce recipe from Veggiedesserts.com. You can replace the 2 tablespoons of tomato sauce with carrot puree for an AIP-friendly recipe.
* The instructional video has been sponsored by Basil Bandwagon Natural Market. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
**Disclaimer: This blog post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission for purchases made through them.