Monday, February 28, 2011

Delicious Restaurant Quality Pizza AT HOME MY WAY!


Recipes for crust, deep dish pizza, thin pizza, and dessert pizza on this post.

We typically have homemade pizza night at our house once each week or at least once every two weeks. We really love our homemade pizza! Our town is a pretty small town and although we do have Pizza Hut and another local franchise called Breadeaux Pizza, we don’t have any of those little greek or italian pizzarias that I personally prefer. So, I have searched high and low and experimented with many different recipes trying to come up with a homemade pizza recipe that would satisfy my family’s desire to eat pizza “out!” Happy to report that we have settled in to a terrific and easy recipe that most of the members of my family (except daughter #1 who is so, so picky and she insists on only eating Pizza Hut) would rather have any day - even up against their favorite restaurant pizza! Its really outstanding and very easy! I will post the recipe for the crust/dough first and then post how I actually make pizza night extra special at our house!



I make my own sauce and freeze it from homegrown summer tomatoes and I will post that recipe as soon as I can, but your favorite pizza sauce will work just fine!




NOTE:  Mix the dough up the day before and stick it in the fridge. It will rise in there - no kneading required. If you want, you could mix this up and let it rise for 2 hours on the counter and then put it in the fridge. Don't fret if you don't have the 2 hours to let it rise on the counter.  I have to be in my car driving out of the driveway by 7:15 every morning, and sometimes I only have time to mix this up and stick it in the fridge.  If you are leaving it in the fridge all night or all day, it doesn't have to rise on the counter.  It will rise in the fridge over the duration of the day/night just fine!  The dough does really need some refrigerator time so that you can handle it though because it’s a very wet dough. This dough will keep in the fridge up to 2 weeks. I will list other recipes you can use this dough for, like english muffins and a crusty loaf to go with supper.






No-Knead Dough (I learned the basics of the recipe from an issue of Mother Earth News. The link is here  and the authors also have a very nice blog where they try new recipes. But, I digress... here we go...

No-Knead Dough

3 cups very warm water (NOT luke warm) (think “hot but no hurt” - like hot bath water)
2 teaspoons or 1 packet active dry yeast
6 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon salt


Instructions: Measure 3 cups of very warm water(should feel hot to your hand but you can hold your hand under there without wanting to remove it). Stir in the yeast until mostly all dissolved. Let it sit while you measure the flour and salt.

In a very large mixing bowl put the 6 ½ cups of AP flour. Add 1 Tablespoon salt and stir well to combine.

Let the water/yeast sit for about 5 minutes so that it becomes bubbly and frothy.

Pour into the bowl of flour/salt mixture. Stir (a wooden spoon works great) as much as you can. It will be very shaggy. Just stir as much as you can, pushing the dough over on itself with the spoon to incorporate all together. It will not be a ball or anything, just a big bowl of shaggy dough. Cover with plastic wrap (I use a plastic grocery bag) and let sit on the counter 2 hours (if you will be home). After the 2 hours, the dough will have risen and flattened to pretty much fill the bowl. Place the covered bowl in the fridge overnight or for at least 2 hours.




Pizza crust instructions.

Any time you remove dough from the bowl you will first want to sprinkle some flour over the surface of the dough in the bowl. That just keeps it from sticking to your hands (and I think kind of feeds the yeast growing in there to develop a delicious flavor) each time you use it thereafter.

So, sprinkle app. 1/4 cup of flour around on top of the cold dough in the bowl.

Remove a piece about the size of a grapefruit. Form it into a ball/disc and let it rest for about 5-10 minutes. On a floured surface, roll this dough out to fit your pizza pan.

These are my instructions for a deep dish pizza which has a terrific pan-pizza (Pizza Hut type) crust. I use an iron skillet but a round cake pan would also work.


Deep Dish Pizza Instructions


In the iron skillet/pie pan put:

3 Tablespoons oil and swirl around with a pastry/bbq brush (it will be oily - that’s okay. The crust absorbs this oil and it makes it really yummy. Trust me on this.

Make sure your crust is rolled out bigger than the bottom of the pan/iron skillet.

Drop your crust in. Best case scenerio is if it comes up some on the sides but mine tends to shrink back and that’s okay as long as it fills the bottom pan. Pull/stretch it a little bit to fit.

I put on my sauce/ some parmesan cheese (green can is fine), then my toppings - we like pepperoni because we’re boring, and top with grated mozerella.

Bake in preheated 450 degree oven until crust is brown. We like our cheese to start to brown a little bit. The crust will be a little oily underneath like Pizza Hut. Its just really delicious and leftovers are just as yummy.

(Hint: I plop this pizza out of the iron skillet onto a cutting board to slice.)


Pictured here are slices of the deep dish (iron skillet) pizza and the thin pizza.

To make a thin crust pizza (which my hubby prefers).

Roll out your crust as thin as you can and place this crust on a cornmeal sprinkled (also sprayed with cooking spray) cookie sheet/pizza pan. Its nice if you can slide this pizza onto a hot baking stone in the oven, but that is a little tricky with thin crust/sauce/toppings all on there. So I just bake on the cookie sheet. Just make sure to spray the cookie sheet/pizza pan with cooking spray or grease/oil it before you put your cornmeal and then crust on there. (The cornmeal gives the crust a certain good texture/taste but isn’t an absolutely necessity here).

Put on your sauce/toppings, cheese, and bake in preheated oven until its browned like you prefer.

And who can have supper without a fabulous dessert?






To make a delicious Dessert Pizza:


Cream Cheese Streussel Dessert Pizza (instead of cream cheese filling, you could also use any canned pie filling or sweeted fruit)


Get your pizza pan/cookie sheet ready by spraying it with cooking spray. Get your dough out of the bowl - a grapefruit sized piece - letting it rest, rolling it out to fit your pan. When the crust is on the pan:


Filling ingredients:

1 8-oz cream cheese (non-fat, low fat, or regular - all fine)
1 egg
½ cup sugar

Other ingredients:

1 small yellow cake mix (Jiffy brand) or ½ regular yellow cake mix (dry)
½ stick margarine (melted completely)

Ingredients for the Glaze:

2 Tablespoons margarine/butter
½ teaspoon vanilla
2-3 Tablespoons milk
1 ½ cups powdered sugar

Stir together the filling, mixing well:

1 (8 oz) cream cheese (softened or microwaved a few seconds until you can stir it)
½ cup sugar
1 egg (add it after the sugar/cream cheese so that the sugar cools any heat in the cream cheese)

Blend and spread over the dessert pizza crust.

Then: 

Sprinkle with the dry yellow cake mix.
Drizzle over with melted margarine/butter.

Bake in preheated 450 degree oven 15 minutes or so until crust is browned.
Remove from oven to cool app. 10 minutes.

While this is cooling, stir together your glaze:

Combine melted margarine, powdered sugar, milk, and vanilla. Stir. This should be a pour-able glaze. If not, microwave it a few seconds until it is or add a little more milk.

Drizzle over dessert pizza.

Cut the dessert pizza into fat short strips because this is a delicious but rich little finish to pizza night!

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