Not long ago Michael and I bought a pizza stone reasoning it would be fun to make pizza at home.
We’re two highly-functioning adults and homemade pizza felt like a manageable task.
Friends, our first attempt was completely hapless. We used store-bought dough, which was disappointing in flavor and texture. You’d need an advanced degree in geometric shapes to identify the formation we rolled out – amoebic would be my best guess. The pepperoni slices were too large, the cheese didn’t melt well and the crust didn’t meet our standards of crispiness. Pizza party fail.
Disappointed, but not deterred, we knew where to turn – my mother-in-law Nancy has been making homemade pizza since Michael was a kid. She is the embodiment of pizza-making efficiency. For starters, she makes her own dough and consistently rolls out flawless circles.
Michael and I quickly recruited Nancy for a pizza-making workshop. She demoed her dough recipe and shared her protip: Hot! Hot! Hot!
Crank your oven as high as it will go, which in my case is 550 degrees. 475 degrees is child’s play. 500 degrees will not get the job done.
I provided homemade sauce and toppings. Our portobello, caramelized onion and goat cheese pizza received rave reviews from my father-in-law and even Micheal, who is typically a pepperoni purist.
Nancy’s Homemade Pizza Dough
1 1/2 tbsp active dry yeast
1 and 1/2 cup warm water (110 – 115F degrees)
4 – 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp salt
2 tsp granulated sugar
cornmeal, for dusting pan
In the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with a hook attachment, combine the yeast and warm water. Add sugar. Stir and allow to proof for approximately 10 minutes or until the mixture begins to bubble.
Add flour, vegetable oil and salt. Mix with the dough hook on low speed for 1 minute while the ingredients incorporate. Increase speed and mix until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
If the dough is too wet, add up to 1/2 cup more flour. The dough should be smooth and is now ready to rise.
Remove the dough hook, form the dough into a ball and place back in the bowl of the stand mixer. Lightly coat the dough (and bowl) with vegetable oil. Cover dough with plastic wrap and allow to rise.
Place pizza stone in oven and preheat to 550 degrees. The oven should be screaming hot.
The dough will doubled in size relatively quickly and should only need to rise for 15 – 20 minutes. Punch down the dough to release the air.
Divide the dough into two portions and form into balls. Return one ball to the bowl and cover with plastic wrap until ready to use. Turn one ball on to a lightly floured surface and using a rolling pin, roll into a round. Lay crust on a baker’s peel dusted with cornmeal. Spread with sauce and desired toppings and very carefully, transfer pizza to the stone. After five minutes, ‘fluff’ or gently lift the pizza ever so slightly from the stone. Continue to bake for a total of 12 – 15 minutes to desired crispiness. Using the peel, remove pizza from the oven and allow to cool for 1 – 2 minutes.
Slice and serve immediately. I like to dust with crushed red pepper flakes and dried oregano.