Recipe from Scratch: Homemade Pizza

Mr. T and I are definitely trying to be budget conscious. But we love pizza (think of the Saturday Night Live sketch with Melissa McCarthy -- I legitimately love pizza). I can't stand the frozen stuff and I nearly died the last time I ate Dominos (that is so not worth it). We're also trying to be a little more health conscious so cutting back on processed foods and ordering out so much is high on our priority list. We've started making pizza from home. It's something I did a lot before I moved to New York.  However, all we could find was premade crusts at our grocery store so it really wasn't all that budget friendly (those babies can run like $6 just for the crust!). I also wasn't a huge fan of them because I like that crispy homemade (not packaged in plastic) taste.

So, we decided to make our own. At first I was a little nervous, but it's actually super easy and I found we had most of the ingredients.  If you don't have all the ingredients, the cost might seem steep at first, but trust me you will thank yourself. The ingredients go a really long way (read that as you'll make a whole lot of crusts) and you can use them in a variety of other things so it might encourage you to try more recipes.

We used this recipe over here and really like how it turned. We tweaked a couple of things slightly, but other than that we pretty much stuck to the recipe.

We used:

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of yeast
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 2 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt

We already had a jar of yeast from making homemade bread (I will talk about that later). And I really think it's cheaper to just buy a whole jar of yeast. It goes a really long way.

You can also substitute all-purpose flour for bread flour. Per my research it just won't be as crispy.

Here's exactly how we made it along with some pictures of how it all went down.

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1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Mix the sugar and the yeast with warm water. We just let the tap run a bit. You need to let it dissolve for about 10 minutes.

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2. After about 10 minutes a creamy substance should have formed. I am not sure if ours is "creamy" per se, but the water did look a bit milky and our crust turned out just fine.

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3. Stir in flour, salt and oil. Beat until smooth. We just stirred it with a spoon and it worked just fine. The mixture forms a dough and you want to let that rest for 5 minutes.

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4. We put a little flour on the table to knead the dough some. Mr. T also likes to get fancy by throwing it up in the air some.

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5. Then we greased our hands with some olive oil and spread the dough out onto a pan that is greased with oil. I find that using olive oil really helps to spread the dough out. It's much better than flour. It also gives the dough a little more flavor (in my opinion). You can also roll it out for a thinner crust (which I love), but we found the rolling pin annoyingly difficult. Getting down and dirty with your hands is much better. I also recommend using a pizza stone, but we don't have one at the moment so that's why we used a pan.

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6. We poked holes in the dough with a fork. There is a special tool for this as well, but a form is just fine. I read somewhere that this helps make it a little crispier and prevents the crust from forming a huge bubble. Then we put a little more oil on top and put it in the oven for about 5-10 minutes. I like to bake it a little before putting all the topping on because I like a crispy crust and usually I find the crust doesn't get quite done (to my liking) when we don't bake it a little beforehand. If you do this, you want to take it out just before it starts to brown otherwise you'll end up burning it when you bake it with all the toppings. You can also add a little garlic just before baking (either fresh or a dusting of garlic powder) for an even more flavorful crust.

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7. Add whatever toppings you like. We chose tomato sauce, cheese, pepperoni, spicy Italian sausage and mild Italian sausage, and olives on my half. We usually put the cheese on last, but you can order the ingredients any way you want. I sometimes like to put the pepperoni on top because it crisps it up a little. I also recommend finely shredded cheese because I find that melts better.

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8. Bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes. We usually check it after about 8 minutes just to be sure. Essentially you want to take it out when the cheese starts to get golden brown and looks all melty.

9. Stuff your face.