I’m kind of a pizza snob. When we moved to South Bend, we left behind one of our favorite pizza places with their famous thin pizza and that sweet red dressing that could make anything taste good. If I were stranded on a desert island and could only have a few items, one would be Nutella and one would be this red french dressing. That way, I could survive eating bugs and tree bark with a little Nutella goodness or red french dressing to help flavor them up! If you are from central IL, you know I’m referring to Monical’s Pizza. My family and I as well as my husband grew up eating this pizza. When I was little, my brothers would compete to see who could eat the most slices. The slices are little squares and triangles so eating 20 isn’t the same as eating 20 regular slices of pizza. Whenever we visit back home, pizza at Monical’s is definitely on our list. The closest one to us is over an hour and a half away and we’ve considered driving there when we both get that craving for their pizza. After moving to South Bend, we’ve tried pizza at several places in the area and usually leave a little disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, there are a few exceptions and we’ve eaten a few really good pizza’s, but overall our homemade pizza is still the best by far! Making homemade pizza is not difficult and once you’ve done it a few times, you get used to the right texture of the dough just by eyeballing it and not really measuring everything. You can play around with the toppings and flavors and really go crazy with all the pizza possibilities. If you have kids, they could make their own little personal pizza with just their unique ingredients which kids love. When it’s nice out, I grill the pizza on our gas grill, but today I made it in the oven. I’ll have to post about grilling pizza this summer sometime.
Today I made the dough fresh from scratch. Sometimes when I make pizza dough, I will make an extra batch and freeze it so the next time we have pizza, a lot of the work is already done. You could also use that dough for breadsticks, calzones, anything really. I had a couple of kitchen helpers so I had them help make the dough and assemble the pizzas. They love this. They love to be a part of the cooking process and today, they even took “notes” as we made the dough. Our 7-year-old wants to be on MasterChef Junior some day so she’s always eager to help in the kitchen and I love it. Who knows, maybe she’ll be on there, impressing Chef Ramsay with her sass and skills!
Homemade Pizza Dough
Makes around 4 large pizzas. Oil, flour, and water amounts may vary slightly depending on temperature and humidity.
4 teas active dry yeast
2 C warm tap water
6 C Flour. I use 1/2 Bread Flour and 1/2 All Purpose
2 TBS honey
4 TBS Olive Oil plus more for topping
a few TBS of melted or softened butter for topping
4 teas Kosher Salt plus more for topping
pinch of Garlic Powder for topping
Pizza Dough Directions:
Heat oven to 200 degrees F, and then turn the oven off.
Add yeast, honey, and warm water to a stand mixer and stir to combine. Let this sit for 3-4 minutes until it becomes bubbly and yeast is active.
Add in Salt and Olive Oil and stir.
Add in 4 C of the flour and with a dough hook, start mixing the dough.
Scrape the sides of the bowl and dough hook occasionally with rubber spatula.
Gradually add in the remaining flour a little at a time until the flour is incorporated. Remember it may take a little more or less flour depending on temp and humidity.
You may need to add in more flour if dough is too sticky, or add in a tiny bit of water and oil if dough seems too crumbly and dry. You want a smooth looking dough. Once the dough seems to be the right consistency, let the dough hook knead the dough for 4-5 minutes, cleaning off the dough hook a couple times until the dough is smooth and no longer sticky to the touch. You could be able to hold it, stretch it etc with very little sticking to your hands.
Either add a little olive oil or non stick spray to a large tall sided bowl(s) and add the dough ball to the bowl. Turn the dough to coat all sides with oil. I used two bowls.
Cover the bowl with a clean towel and place it in the warm oven. Let the dough rise for about an hour. While it’s rising, make your pizza sauce and get your toppings ready.
I made another batch of dough after this so we would have enough for Cheesy Garlic Breadsticks and also some dough to freeze (see below).
Once the dough has risen, divide it up into dough balls and gently form your pizza crusts. Lightly spray pizza pans with nonstick spray before placing crust on the pan. I like mine a little thin, but not so thin that it can’t handle a lot of toppings. Along the outside edge of the crust I add a little melted butter and olive oil mixed with garlic powder and then I finish off with a little Kosher Salt around the edge. You could also add some parmesan cheese around edge if you want.
Once sauce and toppings are added, bake pizza for 10-15 minutes at 415 degrees F.
Freezing Dough: You can easily freeze extra dough. After it is mixed together and kneaded until smooth and non sticky, you can freeze the dough before it rises. Just transfer the dough to some Press and Seal or plastic wrap and then into a freezer bag and it will be ready to use when you want to enjoy a quick homemade pizza. To use frozen dough, just take it out of the freezer and let it thaw at room temperature for a few hours (4-6) or in the fridge over night. Remove it from the Press and Seal or plastic wrap and place into a greased bowl. Toss to coat the dough with oil. Cover with clean cloth and place in warm oven for an hour or so until the dough has risen. It may take a little longer to rise than fresh dough, but it will still make a great pizza.
You could use store-bought pizza sauce, I just make my own since it’s simple to make and I like to freeze the extra so I’m ready for a quick pasta meal or another pizza night.
1 TBS olive oil
15 oz can of tomato sauce
10-12 oz can of tomato paste or puree is ok.
2 garlic cloves – minced
1/2 onion – diced
1/2 teas garlic powder
1/4 teas crushed red pepper flakes
1 teas basil
1 teas Italian seasoning blend
1 1/2 teas oregano
Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste
Sauté onion in olive oil on medium heat for a few minutes. Add in garlic and sauté for just a minute or two longer on lower heat.
Add in tomato sauce and paste/puree.
Add in all the spices and salt and pepper.
Simmer on low until ready to use or you could make ahead of time and keep in the fridge until ready to assemble pizzas. I also put some in a little bowl for dipping our Cheesy Garlic Breadsticks. Extra sauce freezes well. Just thaw on counter or in fridge or on very low power setting in microwave.
You can do whatever you are craving! This time, I decided to make a little Balsamic Prosciutto pizza, a Taco Pizza, a sausage pizza, and a cheese pizza. Below, I’ve included how I made the Balsamic Prosciutto, Taco Pizza and the Cheesy Garlic Breadsticks.
Balsamic Prosciutto Pizza
Pizza Sauce – recipe above
Hard Salami slices
Fresh tomatoes sliced
Shredded Pizza blend cheese
Asiago cheese to grate on top
Would have loved to include fresh sliced mushrooms, but I forgot to grab them at the grocery store 😦
One Pizza dough crust
Spread Pizza Sauce onto prepared pizza dough, add a few splashes of Balsamic Vinegar.
I used a medicine syringe to dispense the vinegar, otherwise I would have had a huge mess.
Evenly spread cheese over the sauce.
Add Salami (I cut 3 salami slices into quarters for one pizza).
Add Prosciutto (I roughly sliced up 2 thin slices of prosciutto for one pizza)
Add sliced tomatoes and mushrooms if you have them.
Add more cheese and a little drizzle of Balsamic Vinegar to the top.
Spread Butter/Olive oil mixture over edge of crust and then lightly salt with Kosher salt.
Grate the Asiago cheese over pizza to finish.
For this pizza, I used the pizza stone (I only own one) so it was hot in the oven, with a little corn meal on it. I prepared the pizza on the wooden pizza peel with corn meal under the dough. Transferring the uncooked pizza from the pizza peel to the hot pizza stone in the oven can be tricky. There’s been many times when it almost all fell onto the oven floor and I’m panicking, trying not to burn myself. I’ve found that it really helps to be generous with the corn meal. It’s ok if the corn meal gets a little brown on the pizza stone as it’s heating in the oven. Having more corn meal under the dough on the peel helps and sliding the oven rack out a bit, with a pan resting on the oven door waiting to catch any spills as you do the transfer can help guard against the pizza falling down to the oven floor in a hot and gooey burning mess. Luckily this time, I didn’t have any issues.
Bake in 415 Degree F oven for 10-15 minutes until golden brown and cheese is melted.
1/2 C refried beans, straight from the can (I saved remaining beans in the can and stuck back in the fridge to use later in the week for taco night)
Colby Jack cheese, Mexican blend cheese
1/3 – 1/2 lb Ground Beef or Chicken cooked and seasoned with taco flavors.
Cholula Hot Sauce
Fresh toppings to be added after pizza has cooked:
One Pizza Dough Crust
Spread the refried beans evenly over the crust.
Add the cheese and then the meat. I seasoned my meat with Goya Adobo All purpose seasoning, Cumin, Garlic Powder, Cholula and pepper as I was cooking it.
Top with more splashes of Cholula.
Spread Butter, olive oil and garlic powder over edge of crust, lightly salt with Kosher Salt.
Bake in 415 Degree F oven for 10-15 Minutes until cheese is melted and crust is golden.
I have diced tomatoes, chopped lettuce and sour cream on the table so we can dress up our Taco Pizza.
Since I made sure I had enough pizza dough to make some cheesy garlic breadsticks, I’ll share that too.
Cheesy Garlic Breadsticks
Use the same dough as you do for the pizza. Instead of stretching thin like for pizza crust, you want it flat, but not too thin. Lay dough out on greased pan. I try to form it into a rectangular shape. Add combined butter, olive oil and garlic powder and coat the dough with it. Top with cheese. I used Pizza blend, as well as colby jack. Use whatever you like. No measuring here.
Bake at 415 degrees for 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted and edges are slightly golden.
Slice into breadsticks. Dip in leftover pizza sauce if you like.
We ate like pigs on paper plates for easy cleanup. I think I needed a bigger plate! Not a bad way to end a Sunday!
Here’s my little dough makers!