So awhile ago Trav suggested that we start doing “Pizza Friday” so that Will can have one night of dinner where he actually eats it all! Haha We normally switch off making pizzas and buying pizzas. We’ve tried everything from frozen store pizza to Dominos to Pizza Hut to Little Caesars. Normally when we buy one it’s a Little Caesars because that’s what a grad school budget can afford haha! And because Will’s only request is for pepperoni pizza!
Now when I was in high school and college, my family had a boat and would take it out every weekend. Normally we would swing by Dominos on the way up to the lake for their Philly Cheesesteak and BBQ chicken pizzas. (If you haven’t tried those, please do yourself a favor and order them right now for dinner. Your family will be thanking you later). So I always like a more non traditional pizza. My in-laws on the other hand only like pepperoni. So to please both Trav and I, when we make pizza, we normally make two kinds. A pepperoni and then we always try out a new recipe!
Here are a few tips to improve homemade pizza:
- Spread soft butter on your pan for a buttery crust
- Move your oven rack to the bottom
- Sprinkle a mixture of semolina and cornmeal on your pan if you want a crunchy crust
- Mix spices into your dough
- Always add more toppings than less
- Fresh grated cheese is the best
Pizza Dough Ingredients
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 to 4 cups flour, or more if necessary
Pizza Dough Directions
- In an electric stand mixer fitted with the dough hook (or in a large bowl by hand), mix together the water, yeast, sugar, salt and one cup of the flour. (I like to mix in about 1 TBS of oregano, basil and about 1/2 TBS of garlic salt.
- Continue adding the flour until the dough just clears the sides of the bowl; knead for about three minutes. It should be soft and slightly sticky without leaving a lot of residue on your fingers.
- Let the dough rest in the bowl for 10 minutes.
- While the dough rests, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spread the softened butter onto large, rimmed baking sheet (about 11X17-inches).
- On a lightly greased countertop, divide the dough into two sections. Roll out one section into a large rectangle. Lift onto pan. It’s ok if it shrinks a little bit. Allow to rest on pan for 5 minutes while rolling out the other section of dough. When both are on the pan and have rested for 5 minutes, roll out any parts of the dough that have shrunk.
- Brush with olive oil over the dough. Poke with fork around the dough, so that no air pockets form.
- Spread toppings over pizza. And place on bottom rack of the oven.
- Bake for 15 minutes until golden.
Now for toppings, the more creative you can get the better! I never use an exact amount of toppings but just wing it until it looks nice and full!
Here are some ideas of our favorite pizzas:
- BBQ Pizza- I like to mix ranch with bbq sauce and spread across the dough. Then I add chicken, cheese, peppers, onions, and bacon.
- Margarita- Olive oil, tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, tomato slices, fresh basil and balsamic glaze.
- Strawberry balsamic- I sometimes use Naan bread for a quick easy pizza. I will spread olive oil over it and toast or broil it in the oven. Then add diced strawberries, avocado, feta cheese, chicken, and basil. Pour a balsamic glaze over it.
- Blackberry basil- spread olive oil and a blackberry jam over the dough. Add spoonfuls of ricotta cheese over the dough. add blackberries. Add fresh basil once it’s out of the oven.