Before coming to college, my family would have a pizza night almost every week. My siblings and I would fight over who had to call the pizza delivery line, and after that was decided, we would then also fight over what kind of pizzas we got to order. My brother would want all the meats, my sister wouldn’t accept peppers, and I preferred mushroom and veggies. Ah, those memories of presenting my argument of why we needed to order the All-American pizza. The best part of the night though, is when we finally sat around the table and took our first bite while grinning widely and happily.

When I went back home last winter break, I wanted to recreate the same lovely memories of those pizza nights but I wanted to step it up a notch: I wanted to make my own pizza dough. To my delight, while searching the internet for recipes, I found one from TheKitchn that doesn’t require long fermentation or an overnight stay in the fridge. Isn’t that awesome? And as an added bonus of making my own dough, the old pizza night tradition or quarrels over topping choice no longer need ensue, since my siblings and I now each get to work with our very own pizza crusts!

This can be a fun, make-your-own pizza event where guests can choose all of their own favorite toppings. You can even ask your guests to make this a “potluck” by asking them to each bring in their favorite topping, which would be a fun way to incorporate more of your guests’ preferences as well as save you some money on the grocery bill. Anyhow, here’s the recipe!

WS_VL_Pizza

Crispy on the outside, soft and chewy on the inside.

Pizza Dough
Makes 2 10-inch pizzas
Ingredients:
¾ cups (6 ounces) lukewarm water
1 teaspoon active-dry or instant yeast
2 cups (10 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons salt
desired toppings* (see below for ideas)


Directions:

  1. Set the oven 500 degrees F, or as high as possible. If you have a pizza stone, put it in the lower-middle part of the oven now.
  2. Combine the water and the yeast, and stir until yeast is dissolved. Add the rest of the ingredients and combine with a wooden spoon until it forms a shaggy dough.
  3. Turn the dough onto the table with all of the leftover flour. Knead until all the leftover flour is incorporated, and the dough becomes moist and tacky. The dough should not stick to your hands and table; that means your dough has too much moisture. If your dough is too wet, you should incorporate one tablespoon flour at a time until the dough is smooth.
  4. If you do not intend to use it right away, you can store it wrapped in plastic wrap and an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. For immediate use, cover the dough with a towel or the bowl used before.
  5. Prepare your toppings. When you’re ready with the toppings, you can work on your pizza. Cut the amount of dough that you want to use with a bench scraper. Working from the middle of the dough outwards, use the heel of your hand to gently press and stretch the dough until it’s about 1/4 of an inch thick or less. If the dough starts to shrink back, let it rest for five minutes, and then continue rolling.
  6. Brush your pizza dough with olive oil (if desired), and then using a ladle, evenly spoon your preferred amount of sauce onto the dough (if using). Finish preparation with the rest of your desired toppings.
  7. Carefully slide your pizza onto the pizza stone or an oiled baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes, and then rotate the pan. Bake for another 5-7 minutes.

Ta-Da! There’s your beautiful pizza! Mine was not so pretty (as you can see above), because it took me awhile to get used to stretching the pizza. But it’s a work in great progress! I again opted for mushroom and veggies, but here are some things to keep in mind:

1. *The toppings can be anything. Try some of these:
Sauces (tomato, pesto, olive oil, sweet chili sauce, mushroom tapenade, Alfredo)
Cheese (white cheddar, mozz, gouda, romano, fontina, gruyere)
Veggies (eggplant, roasted pumpkin, artichokes, peppers, olives, tomatoes)
Meat (chicken, anchovies, bacon, pepperoni)
…and definitely get even more creative: try a dessert pizza, like Pizza Ranch’s dessert pizza. Cinnamon, sugar, fruit. Yum.

2. Although you may be quite excited and want to put all of your favorite toppings on your pizza, try to restrain from putting too much, as too many toppings can result in an unevenly cooked pizza. A good rule of thumb is to make sure you can still see the dough!

 

Happy Pizza Night!
– Veronica ’15