In my world, Sundays are usually spent in the kitchen, whether prepping lunches for the week ahead or experimenting with recipes old and new. Surprisingly, we didn’t have anything planned come this past Sunday morning, and due to the physical aftermath of Saturday night’s Christmas party and really wanting to avoid a trip to the grocery store, Matt came up with the idea to make homemade pizza crust topped with only ingredients we already had. I found this to be a perfect idea for two reasons. Firstly, I needed to practice the pizza crust for our Christmas Eve dinner with my family in St. Louis, which is set to be homemade pizza cooked on the outdoor grill for the second year in a row. And secondly, we were due for a fridge clean out. Creative juices flowing and the thought of fresh pizza in our future, we got started immediately.
Matt made our super simple dough with just 5 ingredients; yeast, all purpose flour, and a little bit of sugar, salt and oil. We mixed the dough into a smooth ball and let it rest/rise for about 90 minutes before shaping the dough into 2 large discs, topping with our two variations and baking. The first pizza was a Mexican-style pie topped with a mixture of ricotta cheese and canned tomatoes and chilies, then covered with shredded pepper jack cheese. The second variation was a white pizza with garlic, ricotta and mozzarella. Both pies were out of this worked delish and super easy, but the best part was definitely the crust. This crust recipe is not only simple, easy and pretty much foolproof, but also bakes to perfection creating a crispy and chewy crust that holds up to the moisture of the toppings, particularly the ricotta. I’m happy to say that this crust will be perfect for our Christmas Eve dinner and for any pizza we make from scratch in the future. I just love when off-the-cuff ideas and plans turn out so well.
This recipe makes enough dough for 2 large pies, about 3 dinner size portions per pizza. This time, we cut the pizza in half and then into strips (12-14 strips per pizza). We served the pizza strips to Matt’s friends while they watched Sunday football. It was the perfect little snack for game day. I’ll definitely be using this technique to make appetizers for every occasion.
Quick and Simple Pizza Dough
Serves: 4-6 (or 10-12 appetizers) Start to Finish: 40+ minutes* Yield: 2 med./lg. pizzas
1 package Active Dry Yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 cup Warm Water (105-110 degrees)
2.5 cups organic All Purpose Flour (plus up to 3/4 cup more)
1 tablespoon Raw, Local Honey or Organic Maple Syrup
1 tablespoon Salt, fine grain
2 tablespoons Olive Oil (divided)
Cornmeal (non-gmo preferred)
In a large bowl, add warm water. Stir in honey (or maple syrup) until dissolved. Sprinkle yeast over top of water, gently stir to moisten yeast. Allow the yeast to sit for about 10-15 minutes until it has an almost creamy, foamy texture.
Mix flour and salt together. Add flour/salt mixture and 1 tablespoon olive oil to yeast. Mix with a fork or spoon to combine. On a clean counter or other surface dusted with flour, knead the dough for about 8-10 minutes until all ingredients are incorporated into a smooth ball of dough. If the dough is too sticky add more flour, a couple tablespoons at a time.** Sometimes it requires up to 1/2 cup more flour and you could be adding flour for most of the kneading time.
Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to a clean, medium size bowl. Place dough ball in oil, flip to coat the whole ball with oil. Cover bowl with a dish towel. Allow dough to sit for 30-90 minutes (20 minutes at the absolute minimum). When ready to make pizzas, preheat oven to 500 degrees.
After dough sits, split dough ball into 2 portions (or more depending on desired pizza size). On a clean, lightly floured surface, press (roll, toss, etc) each dough ball evenly into a large rectangle or circle. Stop when you are just starting to see through parts of the dough. This recipe makes 2 medium-large pizzas.
Transfer dough discs to a preheated sheet pan or pizza peel that’s been dusted with cornmeal.*** Cover pizza dough with desired toppings, leaving a thin edge of crust around the outside untouched. Bake for 8-10 minutes in a preheated 500 degree oven until crust edges are golden brown and center crust is cooked through.
*i think pizza dough is best when allowed to rise. If you’re in a rush, let rest for at least 10 minutes before rolling out. If using the dough later, refrigerate after allowing to rise for 60-90 minutes, room temp. Keep the dough refrigerated for up to 3 days. Allow dough to sit at room temp for about an hour before rolling out.
**flour will not fully incorporate until thoroughly kneaded.
***a pan that’s been preheated in the oven is a great way to ensure a crispy crust.