Homemade pizza is not as difficult as you would think. And thanks to a fairly new product, it doesn’t take as long as it used to! I’m talking about my favorite new product—Fleischmann’s Pizza Crust Yeast. There’s almost no rising time (none if you follow their directions, 20-30 minutes if you follow mine, below) and it doesn’t spring back when you’re trying to roll it out! There’s just a few minutes kneading instead of 15 or longer. No bread machine is needed. And you can get a little one to help if he/she is needing something constructive to do! And…it’s delicious! My recipe is basically the one on the package with some minor changes made.
1 ¾ - 2 ½ cups bread flour (all-purpose is okay if that’s all you have but bread flour is best)
1 envelope pizza crust yeast
1 ½ teaspoon sugar
¾ teaspoon salt
2/3 cup very warm water (120 – 130 degrees)
3 tablespoons oil
Combine 1 cup flour, yeast, sugar, and salt. Stir in water and oil. Mix together until well blended (about 1 minute). Gradually add ½ cup flour until soft dough ball is formed. Add more flour if needed.
Knead on a floured surface, adding more flour as needed until smooth & elastic (about 4 minutes). Honestly, I just knead enough flour into it until it’s not so sticky. It’s probably more like 2 or 3 minutes.
Grease pizza pan (I swear by a stone but a regular pan is okay too). Sprinkle some cornmeal on pan. Press dough out to fill pan or roll dough to 12-inch circle (or desired size/thickness). Top with desired sauce (I use spaghetti sauce) and toppings. Let sit for 20-30 minutes. You can skip this sitting time…it will still be great but not as thick and soft (which you might prefer!).
Bake on bottom rack at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until done.
Think outside the box when making pizza…
Different meat ideas…
Drizzle chopped chicken with some Italian dressing and sprinkle on pizza
Use ham or cooked and drained bacon
Different sauce ideas…
Use some prepared ranch or Italian dressing (great for crust dipping too!)
Use alfredo sauce
Use different cheeses…
Add some cheddar to the mozzarella
Monterey Jack or Provolone (especially yummy with the ranch or alfredo sauce)
To save some money and time, use pre-chopped frozen onions and peppers. I found a bag on sale (85 cents for a pound!) that is a nice mix of green and red pepper and white onion (it’s a pepper stir-fry mix). No chopping and a lot cheaper than fresh. And it seemed to bake a bit softer, which we like.
To encourage little ones to eat more than just cheese on theirs, make faces or other designs. I’ve included a picture of the faces we made with red and green pepper. We got the idea from High Five Magazine, where they suggested using black olives for eyes, a broccoli floret for the nose, and red pepper for the smile. I used a large circle cookie cutter but anything would do. You want it bigger than a biscuit. So, a small bowl could be used or a wide-mouth jar or ring…anything! Josie was so excited when it was time to eat her pizza! And she sucked down the pepper without batting an eye (very surprising!).
My Calzone Story…
I had a friend (Delores Bailey) over for lunch one day and put together a beautiful pizza for us to eat. I went to put it in the preheated oven when it slipped and fell face-down on the inside of the very-hot oven door. I laughed and started scraping it off and was ready to throw it away when Delores said something like, “Couldn’t we still eat it?” I said something like, “Well if you’re brave enough to eat it off my nasty oven door, sure!” I couldn’t do a pizza because a lot of the cheese had to be thrown away (admittedly, much of it was stuck in my oven door!) and I didn’t have enough to cover the crust. Naturally the crust wasn’t really a pizza shape anymore. So I made a calzone out of it! It was quite tasty and I started getting excited about all the things I could do with calzones! LOL
Here’s one “recipe” I came up with…
Meat Mixture: Ground beef (maybe 1-1 ½ cup), cooked
Squirt of Italian Dressing
Spaghetti Sauce (just enough to kind of make the beef a little saucey)
Cheese (I like cheddar)
Place on half of dough rolled out into a circle. Cover with cheese. Fold dough over and seal (just smush the dough together well).
Bake on bottom rack at 375 for 20-30 minutes or until done.
Some calzone ideas…
Chicken, peppers, onions, ranch dressing
Minute steak, peppers, onions, mayo
Ham & cheese
Breakfast: scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, cheese, etc.