Because everyone in the world can agree that pizza is the best, AND because it’s so easy to make at home, AND because I just cannot ever have the foresight to prep for tomorrow’s dinner the night before, this recipe is a godsend. It’s definitely the best homemade pizza I’ve made yet, and I have made a LOT of homemade pizza.
The dough only needs about 1ish hour from start to finish, which means you can totally come home from work and start it at around 6:30ish and have a pizza by like 8, which is not unreasonable. Plus these guys cook in under 10 minutes, so really most of the work is dough rising aka me drinking wine on the couch and watching old Friday Night Lights episodes.
During the first part of the dough-rise down-time, and because I am a crazy person who went to the farmer’s market the other week and purchased 25 lbs of dry-farmed tomatoes and spent a frenzied night canning them whole, I made some sauce with one of my tomato jars that didn’t seal in the canning process. This sauce was REALLY EASY and REALLY GOOD and probably my favorite pizza sauce I’ve ever made. My secret is having anchovy paste in a tube ready to go in my fridge — no fussing with those greasy little fishes in the tin can thing. Anchovy paste can be added to almost anything to get a good salty touch, and it works wonders with just tomatoes and garlic here.
As for toppings I went buffalo mozzarella and basil on one and pepperoni on the other with some cheap-y shredded mozz. Both were excellent, both sprinkled with a touch of parmigiano reggiano and chile flakes. We baked them on our **new** and highly-recommended baking steel. The one thing to know about baking steel, however, is that it weighs a literal (figurative) fucking ton. For some reason I thought it’d be lighter than a baking stone. It is not and I am not sure why I thought that. It is a slab of solid steel. I think it came from a battleship. I am unable to pick it up with one hand. But it WORKS, even in the middle this pizza was nice and crispy on bottom. We also got a pizza peel and I was surprised at how EASY it made prepping/throwing the pizza in the oven. A LOT EASIER than doing it on a cutting board and having it stick to the cutting board and ruining the pizza when you try to get it into the oven and being sad about it. Much.
Homemade Pizza Dough
Serves 8 (I halved this recipe for 2 2-people pizzas)
2 cups of warm water (100 to 110º F)
4 1/2 teaspoons (2 packets) of rapid rise yeast
2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
4 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for greasing bowl
2 tablespoons of kosher salt
6 cups of all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
Preheat the oven to 200º F. Once the oven has preheated, immediately turn the oven off. Combine water, yeast and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a hook attachment. Gently stir to dissolve the yeast. Let the yeast bloom for 5 to 10 minutes (once the top of the mixture begins to get foamy from one side of the bowl to the other, I know it’s done). On the lowest speed, turn on the mixer and add olive oil and salt. Slowly add in the flour (I usually add half the flour, let it incorporate slightly, then pour in the other half.) Increase to medium speed and mix the dough until it begins to form a ball and wrap itself around the hook, this step should take about 2 minutes. Allow the mixer to knead the dough for another 5 to 8 minutes. Make sure the dough is smooth and elastic. Form the dough into a ball and place into a large bowl coated with olive oil. Flip the dough in the oil a few times to make sure the dough is evenly coated. Cover the dough with a tea towel to discourage a skin forming on the dough. Let the dough rise for 1 hour in the warm oven.
Once the dough has risen and doubled in size, punch down and cut into 8 equal-sized pieces (or cut the dough in half for 2 large pizzas, which serves 6 to 8 people total.) Use the dough immediately or freeze up to 3 months.
To Freeze: Whenever the dough has finished rising, cut the dough into 8 equal pieces (each piece is 1 serving), wrap each piece in cling wrap and stack the covered pieces of dough into a labeled gallon-sized freezer bag. The dough will stay good for 3 months. When ready to use just take out however many individual balls of dough that you may need and let them come to room temperature for 2 to 3 hours on the counter.
Homemade Pizza Sauce
adapted from Food52 (read the original recipe if you want, the guy is hilarious and v v italian)
1 28 oz can San Marzano tomatoes
1 clove garlic
¼ cup chopped onion
A good handful of basil (holding some leaves back to finish).
2 really good anchovy filets, salted or jar, just be sure they’re quality good (I used 1 tsp anchovy paste)
Salt and pepper to taste
Make the sauce. Chop your cool-io anchovies into bits. Likewise with your garlic clove. Simmer the above (and onions) in 2 tablespoons hot but good olive oil, shimmering but not smoking. Carefully add the tomatoes. You can squish them by hand if you want to help the process move forward. Season with salt and pepper to your ownself taste. Keep it loose. Push it through the medium plate of a food mill and hold/refrigerate until ready to use. (I skipped the food mill because I don’t mind a chunky sauce)
ASSEMBLING A PIZZA
Once the dough has risen, stick your pizza stone/baking sheet/battleship slab into the oven (on a rack near the top) and turn the oven AS HIGH AS THAT MOTHER GOES. I could only get to 550F but if you can get higher, get it.
If working with 2 pieces of dough, keep one under a kitchen towel while you form the other. Roll/stretch/form your pizza into a roughly 12″ circle (or however large you want them). Flour a pizza peel or a cutting board and set a dough circle on it. Lightly brush the edges of the curst with olive oil. Spread about 1/3 cup of sauce onto the dough. You want a LIGHT TOUCH with the sauce…otherwise, soggy pizza sad face. Sprinkle/spread your cheese (roughly 1/2-3/4 c or a ball of mozz), basil, pepperoni, and/or other toppings. Once your oven has preheated, transfer your pizza directly from the peel to the steel. Bake about 10 minutes or until your crust is golden brown and everything looks melty/gooey/bubbly. Repeat with 2nd dough (or do them at once if you have 2 baking stones). Sprinkle with a small handful of parm or some sharp cheese and a few chile flakes if desired. Let cool on a cutting board for a few minutes before devouring.