If you want to plan for future meals you can make extra dough, form the dough into approx. 6 oz. balls for individual pizzas and freeze them on a tray. Once they're frozen you can ditch the tray and put the frozen balls of dough in a bag in the freezer. It takes about two hours to thaw the dough when you're ready to use it.
A simple olive oil and garlic works great in place of the typical red sauce. You can also mix some pesto in with the oil to create a tasty base.
Sauteed onions work better than raw onions because the raw onions don't have time to fully cook during baking...unless you prefer the onions to be a bit crunchy.
You can pretty much clean out your refrigerator of bits and pieces to make some pretty interesting pizzas. Don't confine your choices to just pepperoni and sausage. Get CREATIVE!
Depending how dry the flour is OR how wet the weather is will change how much water or flour you will add to the dough in addition to the recipe to get the “right” consistency. It should be pretty sticky to your hands. Add flour or water a tablespoon at a time while you knead the dough to maintain the right stickiness quotient.
Knead, knead, knead until the dough “windows”. Pinch off a small piece and throw some flour on it. Work it flat and holding it with both hands, gently pull the dough until it looks translucent like a window pane. If it tears first and doesn’t “window” it needs more kneading. Getting the kneading right will give you that nice chewy crust. If you don't knead it enough it will be more "crackery".
Modified from Leanne Brown’s “Good and Cheap” (A GREAT cookbook every college student should own.)
This recipe includes how to make your own dough, but if you're in a hurry OR don't have some in your freezer, a good starting point is buying premade crusts and then putting the sauce & toppings on. Still much cheaper than "delivery" and you can use better ingredients. See cooking instructions at the bottom of this page.
Making The Dough
Making your own pizza dough costs about thirty cents a piece. Cheap AND better. There are two ways to make pizza dough: the fast way and the slow way. They’re the same amount of work, just with different wait times. The slow method is convenient for a weekday with a little preparation—make it the night before you plan to make pizza, pop it in the fridge, and then pull it out to rise a few hours before dinner. If you’re organized enough to make the slow dough, I recommend taking the extra time: It tastes best and is much softer and easier to stretch. Makes 4 individual pizzas.
- 3 cups all purpose flour or bread flour, plus more for shaping the dough
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- ½ - 1 teaspoon instant yeast
- 1Tablespoon olive oil, plus more for coating the bowl
- 1-1/4 cups water, at room temperature
- Measure out the flour, salt, and 1 teaspoon of yeast into a big bowl. Mix in the oil with your hands, crumbling until the texture is a bit sandy, then add the water. Keep mixing until the dough comes together.
- Lightly flour your countertop. Gently stretch and fold the dough to knead it, pushing against the countertop over and over. Massage the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic, about 5 to 7 minutes. The dough will be smooth but quite wet.
- Add a small amount of oil to a bowl. Place your dough ball in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let it rise for 1-1/2 to 3 hours, depending on the warmth of your kitchen. It’s done rising when it has doubled in size. Now you’re ready to make pizza!
- Follow steps 1 and 2 of the fast method, but add only ½ teaspoon of yeast to the flour mixture. Use very cold water instead of room temperature.
- Add a small amount of oil to a bowl. Place your dough ball in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Put it into the fridge overnight. Letting the yeast work overnight creates a better flavor; it also makes the dough more elastic and easy to work with.
- The next day, 2 to 3 hours before you want to bake your pizzas, remove the dough from the fridge to return to room temperature. Now you’re ready to make pizza!
If you have pre-made pizza crusts start with #3 below
Top It And Cook It
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
- Sprinkle flour on a clean countertop. Using your hands or a rolling pin, stretch the dough into crust. I like to make mine really thin and big, but it’s up to you how thick to make it.
- Once the crust is the desired thickness and shape, dust a baking sheet with flour to keep the crust from sticking then place the crust on the sheet.
- If you have made a red sauce in advance, now is the time to get it out for your pizza. (any remaining red sauce can be frozen)
- Limit your number of ingredients because the cooking time fast. Too many ingredients will cause the crust to burn before the mass of the ingredients cooks thoroughly.
- Put pizzas on a tray or oven rack. Reduce oven temperature to 425°. They'll need to cook between 7 and 10 minutes. Keep an eye on the oven to see when the pizza’s done. The crust should be light brown and the cheese melted.
- Repeat the process until you’ve baked all your pizzas. If your oven is big enough, you can, of course, do more than one pizza at a time.
To avoid a mess in the oven, cook your pizza with the premade crusts on a tray. If you want an even crisper crust you can cook them directly on the oven rack. Watch them very carefully so they don't burn. You'll need to be prepared with a couple of spatulas to remove the hot pizza from the oven onto a tray sitting on the open oven door. Be careful of hot melted cheese burns and keep a hotpad or two close at hand.