Perfect Homemade Pizza

When I gave up dairy, pizza was one of the first things that came to mind.  I really wondered if I could live without it.  Like any American I deeply loved pizza and had a fine appreciation for the garlic butter sauce from Papa Johns (drool).

Fortunately, I’ve grown used to cheese-less pizza which satisfies my pizza cravings.  However, there are issues that sometimes come up when eating pizza from a restaurant.  Meaning, some places put cheese in the sauce or crust or use butter.  That’s why I decided to work on my homemade pizza skills.

Enter the lovely pizza mentor / inspiration: my sister in law.  She has been making homemade pizza for our family for years, and we all love her pizzas.  Awhile back I asked her to teach me her ways, and I took down the recipe.  Now that I’m fully committed to making pizzas at home, I’ve started trying to make her ‘za myself and I’ve been really enjoying it.  I do a mix of my favorite veggies but the possibilities are endless!

Perfect Pizza Dough

Ingredients:

  • 1 package dried yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (not hot, not cold)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3.5 cups flour (can be all white or a mix of white and whole wheat)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Cornmeal
  • Pizza or marinara sauce
  • Toppings of your choice
  • Optional: vegan cheese, nutritional yeast flakes or regular cheese if not dairy-free

Directions:

  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water and let stand 5-10 minutes.
  2. Combine flour and salt in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and gradually work half yeast mixture into the well with your fingers.
  4. Add olive oil and gradually work in remaining yeast mixture.
  5. Add a tablespoon or more of water, if needed, to make dough soft and smooth.
  6. Turn dough onto a flat surface andknead vigorously for at least 10 minutes – pushing dough away from you, then folding it back toward you – until it’s smooth and elastic with a dull sheen.
    1. Note: If you have a kitchen aid mixer, knead the dough using the dough hook attachment.  This is so much easier!
  7. Shape dough into a ball and place in a large greased bowl, turning dough over to grease the top of the ball.
  8. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 45-60 minutes.  Use this time to prep the toppings!
  9. Preheat oven to 450-475 F.
    1. Note: If using a pizza stone, make sure it’s in the oven.
  10. Divide risen dough in half.
    1. Note: If you are using only one half of the dough, you can freeze the other half.  I’ve used it after being in the freezer for a week, and it was still perfect!
  11. Roll eachdough half out leaving an edge.
    1. Note: This is where you can pick it up and spin it around!
  12. Sprinkle cornmeal on arimless baking sheet. Place the dough on the prepared baking sheet.
    1. Note: I purchased one of the rimless, circular pizza baking sheets at my neighborhood Walmart market for less than $5.  It’s critical to have a baking sheet without a lip – you cannot get the dough off a sheet with a lip – trust me!
  13. Top pizza with sauce and toppings.
  14. Transfer pizza from baking sheet to the pizza stone and bake for approximately 13 minutes.

 Pictures of my process:

Prepare your toppings while your oven preheats.

Preparing toppings while the oven preheats.

Cornmeal on the pizza baking sheet

Cornmeal on the baking sheet – put the dough on the sheet and shake it a bit as it should slide around on the cornmeal!

 

Prepped everything on the pizza sheet

Prepped everything on the pizza sheet – spinach, tomatoes, onions, bell pepper, mushrooms.

Pizza on the pizza stone (which is filthy due to a failed attempt to transfer a pizza off a baking sheet with a lip!)

Pizza on the pizza stone (which is filthy due to a failed attempt to transfer a pizza off a baking sheet with a lip!)

The finished pizza! I threw on some vegan cheese which I keep light because I don't love it.

The finished pizza! I threw on some vegan cheese which I keep light because I don’t love it.

Enjoy your perfect homemade pizzas!  If you have any questions, be sure to invite me over and I’ll answer your questions in person 🙂

Cheers,

Trina

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