Celebrate Pizza Day by making your own

Just For Fun, Tastebuds
cook of the week
pizza day

Photo by Artur Rutkowski on Unsplash
Saturday is Pizza Day. Celebrate by making your own pizza. But, we won’t tell if you order one.

Saturday is Pizza Day. Who doesn’t love pizza? In our house, we regularly celebrate pizza. Sometimes its box carry out, but sometimes, we experiment with different ways to make a crust. If we are running short on time, we’ll use pita bread as a crust, We’ve also used bagels and French bread.  Of course, there are plenty of pre-made crust option — from frozen dough, to fully cooked.

However, for adventurous chefs, there are a plethora of options.

F0r an easy dough recipe, check this one out from The Recipe Rebel.

Easy Pizza Dough

Prep: 10 minutes

Cook: 15 minutes

Total: 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups all purpose flour 195g (plus more for rolling)
  • 1 package instant or quick yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • 2 tablespoons oil

Instructions

  • *If baking immediately, preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly grease a perforated pizza pan.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together 1 cup of flour, yeast, salt, sugar, oregano and garlic.
  • Add water and oil and stir until combined — it will be a very wet dough.
  • Add just enough of the remaining flour so that a soft but not sticky dough forms. Add the flour gradually and knead briefly until combined so that you can feel when it is ready — it will still be soft (not feel firm or tough) but won’t stick to your hands. To knead, simply press the flour into the dough, fold the dough and press, fold and press.
  • Set covered in a warm, draft-free place to rise or bake immediately for thin crust pizza.
  • To bake: roll dough out to fit a 12-15″ pizza pan. Place dough circle on pan and stretch with your hands to reach the edges. Top with sauce, cheese and toppings.
  • Bake at 425 degrees F for 12-15 minutes until desired crispness is reached. Broil for 1-2 minutes to brown the cheese if desired.

Notes

*Because we are using instant yeast instead of active dry yeast, the temperature of the water matters less, because it does not need to be proofed. Warm water still works best (never hot), but instant yeast is not fussy

 

Maybe you need a gluten-free of keto crust.

Cauliflower crust

Prep time: 25 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour, 5 minutes

Total time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 medium-large head cauliflower, “riced” (yielding 6 cups cauliflower rice*)
  • 1 1/2 DIY flax eggs (1 1/2 Tbsp (10 g) flaxseed meal + 4 Tbsp (60 ml) water // as recipe is written*)

    pizza day

    Photo by Benu Marinescu on Unsplash

  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3 Tbsp Vegan Parmesan Cheese (or nutritional yeast if avoiding nuts)
  • 1 tsp dried oregano (or use fresh*)
  • 1 tsp dried basil (or use fresh*)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced // or sub garlic powder*)
  • 1 heaping Tbsp cornstarch (or arrowroot starch // helps bind)
  • 1 Tbsp cornmeal (or gluten-free flour // to discourage the dough from sticking to the parchment)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C).
  • Use a box grater or the grating blade (not “S” blade) on a food processor to make the cauliflower rice (follow link above for photo tutorial). Set aside.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Then add riced cauliflower. Cook for 5 minutes to soften. Then drain in a fine mesh strainer (make sure it’s fine or the cauliflower will seep through the holes). Let cool 5 minutes.
  • While this is happening, this is a good time to prepare pizza sauce or sauté any sturdier vegetables (such as onion and bell pepper) you intend to use as toppings. Otherwise, they require too much time in the oven to brown once the crust is baked. Set aside.
  • Transfer cauliflower rice to a clean dish towel and ring out as much of the excess liquid as possible. This is a very important step, so be sure to ring it out until no more water will come out. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl, prepare the flax egg and let rest 5 minutes. Then add cauliflower rice, sea salt, vegan parmesan cheese, oregano, basil, garlic, and cornstarch.
  • Stir with a mixing spoon or your hands to thoroughly combine. A loose “dough” should form. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more vegan parmesan or nutritional yeast for cheesy flavor, salt for saltiness, or herbs/garlic for more intense flavor.
  • Line a baking sheet or pizza stone/pan with parchment paper. Sprinkle with a little cornmeal or gluten-free flour to help prevent the pizza from sticking when slicing.
  • Then use your hands to carefully spread the dough into a circle or square (depending on shape of pan // see photo) and keep the crust slightly less than a 1/2-inch thick with a slightly thicker outer perimeter.
  • Bake crust for 45 minutes. Then remove from oven and carefully flip the crust. Do so by first loosening the crust from the bottom layer of parchment with a spatula and then laying another sheet of parchment paper on top of the crust. Then grab both sheets of parchment and gently flip. Arrange the crust back on the baking pan.
  • Return to the oven and bake for an additional 10-12 minutes more or until the edges appear golden brown and the center feels mostly firm to the touch.
  • Remove from oven and top with desired toppings (cooked or fresh). I recommend going light on the sauce as it can make the crust soggy if too much is applied. Bake for another 10 or so minutes or until toppings are tender. Watch the edges of the crust, which can get brown before the toppings.
  • Enjoy hot with any additional garnishes, such as fresh basil, red pepper flake, or vegan parmesan cheese.
  • Best when fresh. This pizza is best eaten with a fork – I find that it doesn’t quite support itself when eaten with hands. Note: You could bake your crust ahead of time and then freeze for later use if desired.

 

If you are feeling super chef-sey, you can make this one:

King Arthur Pizza Crust

Prep time:20 minutes

Bake time: 18 to 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp active dry yeast or instant yeast
  • 7/8 to 1 1/8 cups of lukewarm water (less in summer or humid environment, more in winter or dry climate, and somewhere in between the rest of the year or if your house is climate controlled)
  • 2 Tblsp olive oil
  • 3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp salt

Instructions

  • If you’re using active dry yeast, dissolve it, with a pinch of sugar, in 2 tablespoons of the lukewarm water. Let the yeast and water sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, until the mixture has bubbled and expanded. If you’re using instant yeast, you can skip this step.
  • Combine the dissolved yeast (or the instant yeast) with the remainder of the ingredients. Mix and knead everything together—by hand, mixer or bread machine set on the dough cycle—till you’ve made a soft, smooth dough. If you’re kneading in a stand mixer, it should take 4 to 5 minutes at second speed, and the dough should barely clean the sides of the bowl, perhaps sticking a bit at the bottom. Don’t over-knead the dough; it should hold together, but can still look fairly rough on the surface.

To make pizza up to 24 hours later, skip to step 5.

pizza day

Photo by Stefan C. Asafti on Unsplash

To make pizza now: Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl, and allow it to rise till it’s very puffy. This will take about an hour using instant yeast, or 90 minutes using active dry. If it takes longer, that’s OK; just give it some extra time.

To make pizza later: Allow the dough to rise, covered, for 45 minutes at room temperature. Refrigerate the dough for 4 hours (or for up to 24 hours); it will rise slowly as it chills. This step allows you more schedule flexibility; it also develops the crust’s flavor. About 2 to 3 hours before you want to serve pizza, remove the dough from the refrigerator.

  • Decide what size, shape, and thickness of pizza you want to make. This recipe will make one of the following choices:
    Two 1/2″-thick 14″ round pizzas (pictured);
    Two 3/4″-thick 12″ round pizzas;
    One 3/4″ to 1″-thick 13″ x 18″ rectangular (Sicilian-style) pizza (pictured);
    One 1 1/2″-thick 9″ x 13″ rectangular pizza;
    One 1″-thick 14″ round pizza.
  • Divide the dough in half, for two pizzas; or leave it whole for one pizza.
  • If you’re making a rectangular pizza, shape the dough into a rough oval. For a round pizza, shape it into a rough circle. In either case, don’t pat it flat; just stretch it briefly into shape. Allow the dough to rest, covered with an overturned bowl or lightly greased plastic wrap, for 15 minutes.
  • Use vegetable oil pan spray to lightly grease the pan(s) of your choice. Drizzle olive oil into the bottom of the pan(s). The pan spray keeps the pizza from sticking; the olive oil gives the crust great flavor and crunch.
  • Place the dough in the prepared pan(s). Press it over the bottom of the pan, stretching it towards the edges. You’ll probably get about two-thirds of the way there before the dough starts shrinking back; walk away for 15 minutes. Cover the dough while you’re away, so it doesn’t dry out.
  • When you come back, you should be able to pat the dough closer to the corners of the pan. Repeat the rest and dough-stretch one more time, if necessary; your goal is to get the dough to fill the pan as fully as possible.
  • Allow the dough to rise, covered, till it’s noticeably puffy, about 90 minutes (if it hasn’t been refrigerated); or 2 to 2 1/2 hours (if it’s been refrigerated). Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 450°F.
  • Bake the pizza on the lower oven rack till it looks and feels set on top, and is just beginning to brown around the edge of the crust, but is still pale on top. This will take about 8 minutes for thinner crust pizza; about 10 to 12 minutes for medium thickness; and 12 to 14 minutes for thick-crust pizza. If you’re baking two pizzas, reverse them in the oven (top to bottom, bottom to top) midway through the baking period.

To serve pizza immediately: Remove it from the oven, and arrange your toppings of choice on top. Return to the oven, and bake on the upper oven rack for an additional 10 to 15 minutes, until the crust is nicely browned, both top and bottom, and the cheese is melted. Check it midway through, and move it to the bottom rack if the top is browning too much, or the bottom not enough.

To serve pizza up to 2 days later: Remove the untopped, partially baked crust from the oven, cool completely on a rack, wrap in plastic, and store at room temperature. When ready to serve, top and bake in a preheated 450°F oven, adding a couple of minutes to the baking times noted above. Your goal is a pizza whose crust is browned, and whose toppings are hot/melted.

Remove the pizza from the oven, and transfer it from the pan to a rack to cool slightly before serving. For easiest serving, cut with a pair of scissors.

Top your pizza with your favorite toppings and enjoy!

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