Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Homemade Pizza Trumps Pizza Hut in Our Home!

IMG_8480My oldest came up with a brilliant plan to have a weekly pizza and movie night, along with homemade ice cream for dessert. She makes ice cream all week long, so we have enough by Friday. My Lutheran Stud and I have decided that our children need to watch some of the movies that we grew up with, so it's been a fun experience. What are some of your favorite childhood movies? We'd love to hear any suggestions that you might have.

Pizza night has become a weekly event with the children all pitching in to make their favorite pizzas. I prepare the dough and they make the pizzas. That way no one can complain about not liking it because THEY made it. I posted this photo on Facebook and began getting emails and comments for the recipe, so I suppose it's time to share, huh? We've been making pizza around here forever, trying recipes here and there, but I think I have finally come up with a recipe that everyone likes and works well for our family. During the summer we've been known to grill our pizza. I haven't tried this recipe on the grill, but I know it'll happen soon. A BBQ chicken pizza smoked on the grill sounds fantastic, doesn't it?
We make 4 pizzas in our home, so I usually make 2 batches of dough. First, add water, yeast, and sugar to a bowl or measuring cup. Stir it all together. Now, there's some controversy over whether you should disrupt the yeast by stirring it, but I'm no pro cook and I do what works for me, so I say stir away. I also use warmer than normal water, meaning the water is usually on the hotter end of warm. The temperature I use is just warmer than bath water for your children. Does that make sense? I'm sure a professional cook is dropping their jaw at my techniques right now. Oh, well. 

After about 15 minutes of sitting around your yeast mixture should look like this!

Now you're ready to make your dough. Add 2 cups of flour and your salt to a mixing bowl. Then slowly add your yeast mixture. While that is mixing add honey and olive oil. It should all be pretty runny. As you're mixing, carefully continue to add more flour until it begins to pull away from the bowl and wrap itself around the dough hook.

At this point the dough will still be a little sticky, so I like to finish it off by kneading in a little flour by hand. You know the dough is good and ready to rise when it is still sticky, but not sticking to your hands.

Place the ball of dough in a greased mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and place it in a warm area in your home.

While your dough is rising gather up all of your favorite pizza toppings and have them ready to go in little bowls, so you're not scrambling around later. Fresh basil is flavor and smell you shouldn't miss out on, so try and add some if you can. 

After about and hour or so your dough should be all puffed up. As the weather warms up or if your home is on the warmer side it shouldn't take your dough long to rise. Sometimes I'll have dough overflowing out the sides of the bowl. The kids love it!

At this point you are going to begin making your pizza, so place your stones in the oven and preheat them at 475˚F degrees. Pizza stones are a must to get that perfect crust. We've had our stones for so long that they've become well seasoned. 

Since I don't have a pizza peel, but have one on my wish list we use parchment paper and my favorite extra large cookie sheets, that fit 20 cookies on them, but that's a different story. The sheet works like a pizza peel, but you need to use parchment paper underneath, so the pizza doesn't stick to the the cookie sheet. I like to sprinkle a little cornmeal on top of the parchment paper.

_MG_5081.jpgAfter expeirmenting with different sauces here and there I've found that it's best to keep things simple, and it's also cheaper. I just use regular tomato sauce and add some spices into the mix. Sometimes we'll just use sliced up tomatoes or if we want to get really crazy we'll use BBQ or Alfredo sauce depending on the type of pizza we're making. _MG_5093.jpgAfter trying to make fun, fancy pizzas I've learned that my children just don't care about the fancy, schmancy stuff, so why splurge on stuff they won't appreciate? I have been known to sneak jalapeƱos or green chiles on a few slices when they're not looking though. _MG_5100.jpgWe all love cheese and my Lutheran Stud used to say, "You can never have too much cheese on a pizza." Well, now I disagree with that statement. While we do love our cheese, it can weigh down your pizza, and drown out the flavors from the toppings, not to mention make everything just fall off the crust. Now, we have nice even coverage with our cheese.
BeauJo's Pizza is one of our favorite pizza restaurants around here. They're know for their Mountain Pies that have a hand rolled crust that puffs up beautifully then you eat the crust dipped in a little honey. Since we've eaten there it's been my goal to create a similar crust. I think I've finally come close.

Once your pizza is ready for the oven, your stones should be preheating, just slide them off the cookie sheet onto the pizza stone and you're good to go!

After 12-14 minutes they'll be ready to come out of the oven and they'll be gorgeous!

See that crust? I think it looks a lot like BeauJo's. :) 

With a stone countertop we slide those pizzas right on the counter. It makes for easier slicing. Let the pizzas sit for a few minutes, so all the cheese settles. Then slice it, grab your favorite beer and enjoy your pizza!

Pizza Crust Recipe
Now if you're still a little scared of yeast, Adriane, start with a simple roll like this. These rolls are super easy and my family raves over them. I make these for sliders, mini-sandwiches, and just plain ole eating.



Gretchen said...

Your pizzas look amazing! I love the way you roll the crust. Tutorial?

Lauren said...

Oh my goodness. Those do look delicious. You're a pro!

Andrea said...

Delicious! We have a favorite wood fired restaurant called Farrelli's wood fired pizza that we ABSOLUTELY love- nothing beats their pizza. But I make a similar crust and recently we got a pizza stone- the difference was AMAZING! My only thing is coordinating getting the pizza on the hot pizza stone without making a huge mess. I have yet to find a pizza peel. No one seems to know what the heck they are until I tell them really big spatula used for pizzas, then they are like.. oh yeah we don't have those- but we have big grilling utensils. *palm to forehead* I will try your trick of parchment and a cookie sheet. :D

Adriane said...

You know, rather than continuing to screw up the yeast, why don't Chris and I just come to your house and you can make us one instead? Good plan? I thought so too.

Rachel Francisco said...

Time to toss our old recipe and try this new one! Thanks for sharing.

Aaron Allston said...

When I get mad at my mom, I stuff pizza crust up my butt so she has to take me to the hospital. What are some better ways to get back at her?