Homemade Pizza

{UPDATE: Here is a whole new series dedicated to perfecting homemade pizza with updated recipes and a lot of step-by-step tutorials on baking, so you may want to check that out first!}

I’ve posted about pizza before, but since it makes a frequent appearance in our home (i.e. most every Saturday night except when I am lazy and grilled cheese pops up on the menu), a few things have changed and I want to share them with you.

Namely, I have a new favorite pizza dough recipe I’ve slightly adapted from here and oh, it is incredible. Chewy and flavorful, it is definitely my new go-to pizza dough recipe that I’ve been using for a few months now. It takes a minor amount of forethought and planning, since the dough benefits from being made the night before or in the early morning but it is well worth it. I still use the Fast and Easy recipe if I haven’t planned ahead, but this other recipe is really superb. Thanks to the whole wheat flour in the dough, it gives the crust a great depth and texture that is unparalleled after being baked to perfection. Here is my favorite pizza sauce recipe.

Also, over the last year, I’ve gathered a few other tips and tricks that I thought I’d share with you (including revamping the pizza sauce a bit). I’ve included them below with the recipe.

A few I’ll mention here:
1)I always use freshly grated mozzarella cheese for topping our pizzas. I’ve harped on this before but since I’m, like, half-scientist, I can assure you that freshly grated mozzarella melts a lot better than preshredded. My husband happens to work for a cheese company and agrees with me (let’s forget the fact that he has a boring desk job and isn’t actually making the cheese – details, details). But you really can trust me on this – do a side-by-side comparison and I promise you’ll be converted to the idea. And then you can officially be classified as half-scientist, too.

2) Also, although we keep our pizza toppings simple (usually just cheese and turkey pepperoni), I’ve found a quick way to elevate the pizza to a delicious new level – sprinkling freshly grated parmesan cheese over all of the toppings right before baking. The slightly salty, flavorful hit of the parmesan cheese is fantastic.

Homemade pizza is one of the most satisfying things I make for my family. It tastes a hundred times better than restaurant-bought and my kids can get their grubby little hands right in there and help. And grubby or not, I love their help.

Homemade Pizza

What To ServeCut up carrots and cucumbers with Homemade Ranch
Fresh Fruit
Cinnamon and Sugar Breadstick Twists

One Year Ago: Pesto Pizza with Pine Nuts and Feta
Two Years Ago: Red Berry Risotto Oatmeal

Homemade Pizza – New and Improved

Yield: Makes 2 12-inch pizzas or 1 large 16 to 18-inch pizza

Homemade Pizza – New and Improved

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 2 teaspoons instant yeast
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour

Directions

  1. Make the dough the night before or early the morning on the day you want to make the pizza. In a large mixing bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer), mix the water, yeast, sugar, honey and oil. (If using active dry yeast, increase the amount of yeast to 2 3/4 teaspoons and proof the yeast in the water until foamy before mixing in the sugar, honey and oil.) Then mix in 1 cup flour and the salt. Continue mixing in all the remaining flour until you get a nice, soft dough. Knead until dough is soft and smooth, about 10 minutes by hand or 5 minutes with a stand mixer.
  2. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl and cover tightly (with a lid or plastic wrap). Place the dough in the refrigerator to slowly rise until three hours before baking. Three hours before baking, remove the dough from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature, keeping it lightly covered.
  3. 45-60 minutes before baking, move the rack to the lowest position in the oven (if the lowest rack in your oven is nearly touching the oven floor, move it up one notch - you don't want it that close or the bottom of the pizza will burn), place the pizza stone on it and preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Don't be nervous about a hot oven! I used to be scared to death to cook anything above 400 degrees but I promise 500 degrees is the only way to go when cooking pizza. If your oven is a bit sketchy at that temperature, bake at 475 degrees. Also,I think a pizza stone makes all the difference in good versus great pizza. I have this pizza stone and I love the rectangular shape. I have baked many a pizza on this stone and it is awesome.
  4. Here's a few different methods for making great pizza:
  5. Pizza Paddle/Peel: I have a wooden pizza paddle, like this, which I sprinkle with cornmeal and place the pizza dough on. I layer my toppings on the dough and slide the dough quickly onto the hot pizza stone. After about 8 or 9 minutes, the pizza is baked to perfection and I slide it onto a cutting board to slice and eat.
  6. Alternative Pizza Paddle/Peel: If you don't have a pizza paddle, you can use the underside of a baking sheet (I use an 11X17 size) or a large cutting board as a makeshift pizza paddle. Cover it lightly with cornmeal, flour or parchment paper, make your pizza on the floured baking sheet or cutting board and gently slide the pizza off of the makeshift paddle onto the baking stone when ready to bake (if using parchment paper, you can let the parchment paper slide onto the baking stone with the pizza). Bake for 8-9 minutes until the crust is nicely browned. Retrieve the pizza with a pair of tongs or a spatula and slide the baked pizza quickly onto a waiting cooling rack.
  7. Rimmed Baking Sheet: If you currently bake pizzas using cornmeal on a pizza paddle, you'll know how messy it can be - cornmeal everywhere. In fact, right now, my oven is in serious need of a good vacuuming. So, ofttimes, I'll still preheat my baking stone like normal and instead of using my wooden pizza paddle, I stretch the dough into an irregular shape on a lightly greased rimmed baking sheet (I don't worry about pressing it into the corners to give it a rustic look), add the toppings, and slide the entire baking sheet on the pizza stone to bake. Bake the pizza for 9-10 minutes until the crust is nicely browned. This method still browns the crust nicely - and while you don't get the extremely authentic pizza crust, it is still mighty delicious and I can make more pizza at once rather than sliding them one at a time onto the baking stone.
http://www.melskitchencafe.com/homemade-pizza-new-and-improved/

Pizza Dough Recipe Source:  adapted slightly from Emily at Savory Seasonings

140 Responses to Homemade Pizza – New and Improved

  1. […] this original heart shaped pizza is a US recipe and calls for hand-made pizza dough. I love home-made dough but that’s a lot of […]

  2. Kelly says:

    What kind of cheese do u put on your pizza.

  3. Jill says:

    You would think that 100+ comments where people are saying, “oh this crust is AMAZING” would be enough that you wouldn’t need another person saying it. However, this crust is REALLY amazing – amazing enough to comment and say what everyone else has already said!

    A winner all around!

  4. Leslie says:

    I recently came across your site and love everything! This was my first time making the pizza and it is delicious! I’m curious as to what kind of cheese you use. I used fresh mozzarella, which definitely does not shred well, so i just placed it in pieces all over. It was good but just want to try something different with the cheese next time.

    • Mel says:

      Leslie – I use part-skim mozzarella that I shred myself (pre-shredded cheese doesn’t melt as well). I am glad you like the pizza!

  5. Ella says:

    Hi Mel! I feel like I know you. Haha. I love, love to make yeast breads and am hoping to make my way through all your recipes!! I was wondering, with this recipe, if this amount of dough makes one pizza and approximately the diameter of the pizza when you roll it out. (Basically how thick do you do your crust as it will affect bake time). Also, just a tip that has changed my cornmeal collecting oven! I love to put the rolled out pizza dough onto parchment paper that is on the pizza peel. Then I slide both pizza and parchment paper onto the stone. Pizza purists say to slide the paper out after a couple minutes but honestly I notice no difference if I bake it with the paper the whole time, other than the exposed paper will brown. This also helps for high volume pizza nights as I can prep a pizza on parchment paper and have it ready to gently slide onto the peel. Thanks for all your great recipes!

  6. Ella says:

    Mel!! Delete my previous comment! I’m so embarrassed!! Jk. But seriously I should actually read your methods before leaving a comment about parchment paper !! So sorry!!

  7. Kathy M says:

    I love you dough makes great pizza along with your sauce. I just received a mixer so no more hand kneading! I want to double the recipe, would you double the yeast?

    • Mel says:

      Kathy M – This note from this recent pizza dough post will answer your question. “I almost always use 1/2 or up to 3/4 whole wheat flour with good results – I let it knead for a few minutes longer. Also, this recipe doubles, triples and quadruples really well. If doubling, use double the amount for all the ingredients. For triple and quadruple batches, increase all the ingredients accordingly except the yeast – only use 2 tablespoons yeast for a tripled batch and 2 1/2 tablespoons yeast for a quadrupled batch. Keep an eye on the flour if increasing the recipe. You want a soft, smooth dough – not too sticky and definitely not overfloured.”

  8. Kathy M says:

    Thanks for answering me quickly. I saw your recent post and wanted to make sure that it applied to this recipe also.

  9. Kylie says:

    Hi! I LOVE this recipe. But just curious, if I over flour it, is there a way to bring it back? Or am I better off just to start over? Thanks so much!

    • Mel says:

      Kylie – Sometimes I’ll sprinkle in a little water very, very gradually to see if it can soften up while it kneads but if it is significantly overfloured, it’s probably best to start over.

  10. Nick says:

    The parchment paper is sticking to the bottom of my pizza’s. Is that an indication that my dough is too sticky and needs more flour?

    • Mel says:

      Nick – Is it sticking while you are rolling it into shape or after baking? It might be that the dough is too sticky but it could also be that your pizza stone needs to be preheated longer to really bake a nice crust onto the bottom of the pizza so it won’t stick.

      • Nick says:

        It is sticking before it goes in the oven. The stone was preheated for about an hour at 500 degrees so i don’t think it was the stone. I’ll try a little more flour next time and make sure that it isn’t sticking to the parchment paper before i start making the pizza.

  11. jane says:

    What is the rise time for refrigerated dough, as it doesn’t really indicate… you just mention to refrigerate for a slow rise and remove 3 hours prior to baking. If dough weren’t refrigerated, what is rise time?

    • Mel says:

      The dough can rise in the refrigerator up to 24 hours. If not refrigerated, an hour or so at room temperature will probably allow the dough to double (but it has better flavor/texture if it rises in the refrigerator).

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