I love pizza, but hate grease which is why I prefer to make my own pizzas than spend money on a gut bomb. The ingredients are simple and cheap to procure, but as with any recipe food made from scratch will always taste better than anything from a jar or can. I find a lot of prepackaged sauces are too sweet and almost artificial for my taste which is why I chose to make my own sauce this time around, but more on that later.
First, the Dough.
Pre made dough is great when you’re in a rush, but nothing from a bag will ever taste the same as freshly kneaded dough. It may look intimidating to someone unfamiliar with the science of cooking, but trust me it is really hard to mess up a dough that only has three major ingredients. This recipe is also vegan which saves the hassle of checking labels for sneaky milk and eggs.
You will need and knead:
- Flour (of your choosing)
- Dry Active Yeast, 1 packet
- Oil (of your choosing, but olive is traditional)
- Corn Meal
- Garlic Powder
- Spice Blend for crust
Combine the yeast with a cup of warm water and let it rest for about five minutes. You can also add sugar to help the process. The yeast will begin to bubble and froth at the top which is totally normal and exactly what you want happen.
Once the yeast is active sift in a couple cups of flour and a pinch of salt and garlic powder and begin mixing. If you don’t sift, it’s not the end of the world but the dough will be a little tougher to mix and knead. The amount really depends on how much pizza you want to make, but this first round of flour should leave the dough tacky. Once the yeast and water is absorbed and sticky, drizzle oil onto the dough and give it a quick toss in the bowl to make sure all sides are coated. Cover with a clean towel or paper towel and store somewhere warm for 45 minutes to let it rise.
Now comes the fun part. Either in the bowl or on a well floured surface begin kneading the dough by adding handfuls of flour and folding and stretching the dough so that all the sticky inside parts get a healthy coating of flour. You want to make sure no part is super tacky or else it will be hell when stretching it out for the stone or pan. If you want super thin crust bust out a rolling pin, coat it with flour, and go to town. I spent about 10 minutes this time and the crust was a little thicker than I had hoped for, so definitely experiment with the timing to get the perfect crust
If you notice the dough is too dry, add more oil. You want it to be malleable but not tacky. The more you knead the easier it will be to shape and the more likely the dough will maintain that shape while you prep it.
Before putting the dough on the pan sprinkle a healthy amount of corn meal around. This will prevent the dough from sticking while baking and gives a little extra crunch to the crust in the middle of the pizza which often gets bogged down by sauce, cheese, and grease.
Add toppings and drizzle oil along the bare crust before sprinkling with a seasoning blend of your choice for extra flavor. I’m a big fan of Cavender’s Greek Seasoning which comes in this bottle and can be found pretty much anywhere, but any flavored blend will do.
Bake at 400 degrees F for anywhere from 10-20 minutes depending on how thick the crust is. Thicker goes longer, but since there is no eggs a little undercooked will not kill you.
A Spicy Pizza Sauce:
Making sauce is probably one of my favorite cooking adventures. I love flavor and I love being able to make a sauce that can satisfy my tastebuds. I also love heat so I made this a little bit spicy, but you can opt out those flavors for more traditional seasonings with The Scarborough FairTM blend or literally whatever else you like to taste.
This recipe does require a blender, so if you don’t have one I recommend getting one because I hate chopping unnecessarily when I can just liquify food in seconds.
- 4 Whole Tomatoes
- 1/2 Sweet Onion
- 4 Garlic Cloves
- 1 cup White Wine
- Red Pepper
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Since we’re blending you don’t have to cut anything finely, just throw it in a pan, coat it in oil and wine and bake for 45 minutes (wow the same amount of time it takes the dough to rise how convenient). It’ll be going back into the oven once it’s on the pizza so you’re just softening the veggies so they blend easily.
If you choose to do a spicy sauce save the seasonings for after the veggies are baked. Over cooking pepper powders will smoke the hell out of your house and taste bitter. If using fresh herbs feel free to add them to the baking process but remove the stems on anything woody you use.
Allow everything to cool before adding to the blender. If the sauce is a little too soupy add some corn starch so it doesn’t bog down the crust. If you make too much you can save it for another pizza or add it to a pasta dish. The uses of tomato sauce are endless!
I’m looking forward to improving both of these recipes over time, and also adding in my own fresh homemade cheese. Let me know your thoughts and own personal pizza recipes!