Pizza – Homemade, better than takeout!
We love pizza and can eat it anytime of the day. Our favorite pizza is from Papa Johns. Both of us like the original crust, thick and bready, and always buy some extra orders of Peperoncini chilies and garlic dip. Yum!! So when I wanted to try baking a pizza at home, I wasn’t really sure if we’ll like it to the extent of making it again and again. Well, once the pizza was made, we really liked it, maybe not as much as Papa Jonhs, but we really liked it!! The crust was perfect and all toppings of our choice. Homemade pizza has two advantages.
One, you can control the amount of cheese and two, you can put all the toppings of your choice, including chat masala!!! Yeah, my hubby loves a little bit of chat masala over his toppings. Here in this pizza, I have used Mexican four cheese blend, you could use anything you like.
This particular recipe calls for fermenting the dough overnight in the refrigerator. You could also let the dough rise at room temperature until it doubles/triples in size. But I guess the overnight fermentation in the fridge gives it a nice flavor. Here is the original recipe. I have modified the recipe just a little bit.
Ice cold Water – 1 1/4 cup
Milk – 3/4 cup
Sugar/Honey – 1 tbsp
Bread Flour/All Purpose Flour – 5 cups
Active dry yeast – 2 tsp
Olive oil – 2 tablespoons
Salt – 1 tsp
For the Toppings:
Cheese(Mexican four cheese blend)
And anything you want!!!!
- Proof the yeast in a bowl with half cup of warm water and sugar, for about 10 mins, until foamy.
- In a separate bowl, mix the flour and salt. Add the yeast mixture, milk(cold is fine), 1 Tbsp olive oil and water (little by little) until the dough comes together. Wait for 5 mins and start kneading the dough on the flour counter. Knead for about 8-10 mins until the dough is elastic. My dough was not wet, and I did not need a lot of extra flour for kneading.
- Place dough in an oiled (use the remaining olive oil)clean bowl, cover with saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 5-6 hours, preferably overnight, until the dough has risen to double/triple its size. (The dough can stay refrigerated for up to 3 days.) If you are in a hurry, you could just leave the dough on the counter and let it rise until its double/triple its size.
- On the day of baking the pizza, remove the required amount of dough and leave it covered at room temperature at least for an hour. Simultaneously, preheat the oven to 450 F. Place a rack in the lower third of the oven, closest to the heat source.
- Sprinkle the pizza stone or baking tray with some semolina/cornmeal. Stretch the dough using your hand. If its a little difficult to stretch, rest it for 2 mins and stretch again. We like a thick pizza crust, its really your wish, stretch it as thin as you like or leave it as thick as you like. I stretch the dough on the counter, and then transfer it onto the stone/tray. Then stretch it into final shape in the tray. Let it rise in a warm place for about 30 mins.
- Meanwhile, prepare your toppings. I use green peppers, mushrooms, onion and jalapeno peppers.
- I do not mind using store bought pizza sauce. Spread some sauce on the pizza and add the desired toppings. I like to add some Italian herbs and garlic powder on top. Also a drizzle of olive oil!! My husband on the other hand loves a sprinkle of chat masala!! Well, that’s the advantage of making pizza at home. Put some cheese on the top. Bake for about 15 mins.