Want to learn how to make simple, fresh homemade pizza with all the oooey gooey cheesy deliciousness pizza should have? I try to make mine fresh rather than buy the frozen ones, and these are the steps I take to making my hot, delicious homemade pepperoni pizza and sauce recipe.
First, I start with making the pizza crust according to the directions on the box. It works best when you allow extra time for the dough to rise. So fair warning – this is not a quick recipe to make, this might take you a little over an hour to prepare. I empty the contents of the package into a bowl by passing it through a pasta strainer (or you can use a sieve – (I just don’t own one). This is an important step because the jiffy mix tends to clump up if you don’t make it fine.
This is what it should look like once it’s all sifted.
Then I add the 1/2 cup of warm water that the instructions call for. I measure out filtered water in a bowl and microwave it for about 20 seconds. The water needs to feel like warm bathwater that is comfortable to the touch – If it makes you say ouch, then it’s probably too hot.
Mix it all up until you get a sticky, pasty ball like this. You might be wondering at this point how this sticky soft bowl of goop will turn into pizza dough. Keep mixing…
Add a good handful of flour and get your hands in it. Cover it, set aside and allow 20-30 min for it to rise.
While you let the dough rise, its time to begin pre-heating the oven. I bake mine at 500F – it takes awhile for the oven to get to that temperature, so I start early. Another reason to make sure to have the oven well heated before the pizza is assembled is because the dough will get soggy if it sits with the sauce on it for too long.
Incase you’re worried it might burn at such a high temperature, fret not… The secret to crispy, delicious pizzeria style pizza is to cook it hot and fast – like they do at the pizzeria in those giant wide ovens or wood burning ovens that are built into the wall.
Now for that secret sauce…
The big Secret? Use only tomatoes labeled as “San Marzano” It makes a HUGE difference!!
1 large can can cost up to 4 or 5$, but it yields alot and can be frozen in containers for later use. Here’s the ancient Italian secret:
Yummy Italian Pizza Sauce
- 1 can of “SAN MARZANO” tomatoes
- 1tsp salt
- 2 tbspn olive oil
- 1/4 tsp oregano
- a dash of pepper
- 2 fresh basil leaves
Blend up the entire contents of the can in the blender or use a handheld immersion blender. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tsp of salt, 1/4 tsp of oregano, a dash of pepper and break up 2 fresh basil leaves. Mix it all up and Ta-Da! Simple, delicious preservative free pizza sauce. I always freeze these in small containers for one time uses, so my can of expensive italian tomatoes don’t go to waste!
Next, I slice the cheese – I used fresh mozzarella just to be fancy for the sake of this post, but most of the time I just use regular mozzarella cheese and I shred it myself.
And I got my pepperoni ready too..
Now its time to check on that rising dough…
And it seems to have puffed up nicely! Next I prepare the pan I will cook the dough in. I use a large black pan, and trow a light dusting of cornmeal across it. Not too much, or you will have a grainy, unpleasant texture when eating it! This helps the crust bake and become nice and crispy.
Not too much more than this – just a light dusting is all you need.
Now it’s time to shape that dough into a pizza crust. Start by throwing a small handful of all purpose flour down on your workspace and work the ball into a small dough ball. It will be sticky, so add a few small handfuls of flour as needed.
Whatever you do, do not do this step in the pan where the cornmeal is. You will only press all the meal into the dough and the crust will have a grainy texture once cooked.
After you shaped the dough it into a more solid small dough ball, start off by pressing in the middle with your fingers and pushing outwards to shape it into a pizza crust. Be careful not to make holes, and try to be as even as possible all around.
Now we are at the tricky part! Once you are done shaping it as thin as you can without making holes, you must quickly get it over to the cooking pan. I say quickly because the longer you hold the dough in your hands, it will tear and make giant gaping holes. Get your hand under the crust by flipping one side over and then back again. It’s always best to make a fist or use the sides of your forearms as opposed to your fingers for picking up uncooked dough.
Whew. I managed to get it over without any holes. The hard part is done! Cover and let it rise again for 5 minutes. This is the secret to a flakier crust.
Now it’s time to assemble with your favorite toppings!
**IMPORTANT** Be sure that your oven is fully pre-heated at 500F BEFORE you start assembling the pizza, because the longer the sauce sits on the raw dough, it will make it soggy.
Now pop it in the oven at 500F for about 8 min. Watch closely!
See JP’s reflection? He was so excited to get to make pizza with his mama!
After 8 minutes, pull it out. The cheese on top may be a little white still, so It’s time to broil it. Switch your oven over to broil and pop it back under there
Before the broil:
After the broil:
Ahh. That’s more like it! Let it cool for 2 minutes and drizzle a little olive oil over the top..
Now relax and enjoy…
YUM!!! No complaints!
Quick tip: If you make a mess on your glass cooktop, have a look at my diy home made cleaning method on how to clean a glass top stove using baking soda.