It has been 2 months now that the 4.5 year-old is eating pizza. One Friday night, it was pasta for the kid and pizza & chicken wings for us. He wanted to try out a slice. And he was hooked. The husband, of course just needs an excuse to order pizza and now each week, yes each week he will somehow influence/inspire the son into saying that he wants pizza. That is what inspired me to try and make pizza at home, especially now that I have overcome my fear of the yeast-beast. Well... it was semi-homemade. That way I had control on what ingredients were going in (we try to use as much organic as possible). The best part was that I made the dough the night before, let it rise in the oven (yes it is still very cold here) and stuck it in the fridge overnight. The next day I took it out just in time for it to come to room temperature before lunch. It took me about 40 minutes to prep & bake. This was my first time and I struggled a bit to stretch the dough out.
Ingredients for the Pizza Dough:
- Bread Flour - 3 1/2 Cups plus some extra (Bread flour gives a crisper crust while all purpose flour gives a chewier crust.
- Warm Water - 1 1/2 Cup (110F-115F)
- Active Dry Yeast - 1 package (2 1/4 tsp)
- Oil - 2 tbsp (I used Canola Oil)
- Salt - 2 tsp
- Sugar - 1 tsp
- Oregano - 1 tsp
Ingredients for Pizza Topping: (You can use your favorite toppings, my boys like pepperoni)
- Pizza Sauce - 1/2 Cup
- Mozzarella Cheese - 1/3 Cup (you can use more for a cheesier pizza)
- Parmesan Cheese - 1/3 Cup (You can use Feta or your choice of cheese)
- Pepperoni - thinly sliced, as many as you can fit.
In a large bowl, add the warm water and yeast and let it rest for about 5 minutes. Always remember to check the expiration date on the package of yeast. Also, extreme temperature is not conducive to a perfect environment that yeast needs to be activated. It cannot be too cold and the water cannot be too hot. While the yeast and the water rested I preheated the oven to the lowest temperature (170F) and switched it off.
Now stir the water and yeast mix a bit till all the yeast dissolves. Add the bread flour, oil, salt and sugar and mix till just incorporated. Sprinkle the oregano and knead till smooth and soft. Place the dough in a well oiled bowl, cover with a plastic wrap and stick it in the warm oven. I kept mine in the fridge overnight after letting the dough rise for about 2 hours.
When you are ready to bake the pizza, preheat the oven to 450F. I used a pizza pan. I floured my prep area well and kneaded the dough a bit. Flattened it using my hands and then transferred it to the pizza pan and spread it out. Using your fingertips make some gentle dents in the dough, that way it will not bubble up and rise. Now brush the flattened dough with some oil - this will keep the dough from becoming soggy from the pizza sauce. Spread the pizza sauce, sprinkle the cheeses and arrange your favorite toppings. I had my 4.5 year old help me with the pepperoni. Just be sure not to overcrowd your pizza, or else the crust will not crisp up.
Bake for about 14 minutes till crust is brown and the cheese is golden brown. Let the pizza cool for few minutes and slice and serve.