Homemade pizza is fairly easy and enjoyable to make, as there are endless delicious toppings. Pizza is essentially a flat bread covered with various toppings, a method which many cultures and cuisines share and has been popular in the Mediterranean region for centuries. Modern pizza owes its origin to Neapolitan cuisine, first with tomato and later with cheese. This pizza dough recipe is based on a Cook's Illustrated recipe I found in Baking Illustrated. I made a classic Margherita pizza with tomato sauce, basil and fresh mozzarella, originally served in 1889 to Queen Margherita of Savoy to resemble an Italian flag. Other pizza toppings which are delicious as well include butternut squash with goat cheese and roasted cherry tomatoes with fresh mozzarella. I generally serve pizza with salad, such as caesar or arugula with oranges and almonds.
For Heather, who requested a pizza dough recipe.
2 c flour plus more for shaping dough
1 tsp salt
1 ¼ tsp yeast
¼ c water, warm
½ c water, room temperature
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp olive oil plus more for bowl
1. Place warm water in a small mixing bowl. Sprinkle yeast on water and let stand until yeast swells and dissolves, 5-10 minutes. Combine flour and salt in mixing bowl.
2. Once yeast is ready, add room temperature water, olive oil and honey. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and gently mix to combine. Knead dough until dry to touch and elastic, about 7 minutes, adding additional flour as necessary. Place kneaded dough in a large well-oiled mixing bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
3. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Preheat baking stone as well, if one is being used for pizza.
4. Punch dough down to deflate, turn onto a floured working surface, divide into two equal balls and cover with a damp towel. Let dough relax in balls for 10-20 minutes.
5. Working with each ball by hand, shape the dough into a 10" round or other size and shape as desired. Place dough on a flour pizza peel, if using a baking stone, or a parchment lined cookie sheet. Brush the surface of formed pizza dough with olive oil.
6. Place desired toppings on pizza and bake until done, 8-12 minutes depending upon thickness of pizza and toppings.
Makes 2 10" pizzas