I'm not a Meatloaf Monday, Taco Tuesday, etc. kind of person, mainly because I get bored too easily and like a lot of variety in meals however one thing we've fallen into that I don't get tired of is Friday Night Homemade Pizza (from the crust up!). It's a treat we all look forward to each week and is super easy to make and customize.
I actually learned how to make this recipe (or at least the original foundation of it) in grade eight Home Economics class. It is worn and faded and so marked up with adjustments and tweaks that I can barely read the original any more, but it works and can be made completely from scratch in less than an hour.
PIZZA DIRECTIONS (FULL RECIPE AT THE END)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and lightly spray a pan with cooking spray. I usually use a 16" round pizza pan or a 12" x 17" rectangle jelly roll pan. This size typically results in semi-puffy crusts and a fairly thin base. The thicker crust you want, the smaller pan you should use (adding on some baking time).
Start off with the yeast - dissolve 3 teaspoons of sugar into 3/4 cup of warm water in a small bowl. Sprinkle 3 teaspoons of the yeast across the top of the sugared water and leave it to bubble (it will start turning into foam). I rarely have the patience to let it completely rise but the more it does, the fluffier the crust will be.
Even if you don't let it get fully bubbly, the dough will still rise, it just won't be as puffy. Tip: I'll set the bowl on the stove on a cool part, but near the sauce so it gets some of the heat from the sauce to make it bubble up a little quicker.
Start the sauce at this time. Pour the can of tomato sauce into the pot and turn it on low. Add the oil, onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, and bay leaf. Leave it to very gently simmer, stirring occasionally, while you prepare the dough.
Grab a big bowl and add the other 3/4 cup of warm water, shortening, salt, half of the flour and mix well.
Pour in the bubbly yeast and the rest of the flour and continue to mix, adding more flour as needed until it all sticks together.
Flour a counter surface and dump the dough onto it. Knead the dough for a few minutes with your hands, adding flour as needed, until it becomes a smooth, soft, dry dough. At this point you can set it aside and let it rise for about ten minutes but it's not really necessary with the quick rise yeast. The longer you do let it rest, however, the thicker and softer your dough will be, and the easier it will be to stretch out on your pan.
Now it's time to start stretching the dough. Start by spreading it out a bit on the counter with your hands until it starts to thin out.
Move it to the prepared pan to finish it. This may take a few minutes and some patience but just keep stretching and spreading the dough with your hands across the pan, sprinkling a little bit of flour on the top for your hands if it gets sticky.
If you get holes, just squish them back together (like play dough!) until it's a solid surface. It doesn't need to be perfectly smooth as long as there are no holes and the thickness is mostly uniform across the base. Pinch a little around the edges to make a crust.
Remove the sauce from the stove and dispose of the bay leaf. Pour it over the pizza. You'll likely have extra sauce (unless you're a really saucy chef!) so just freeze it or refrigerate it for English muffin mini pizza lunches during the week.
Chop up your toppings and add them to the pizza (the kids usually love helping/snacking during this part), grate some cheese for the top of it to your taste. We often use a mix of cheddar and mozzarella, but sometimes throw in some parmesan or feta too!
Pop that baby into the oven and use the cooking time to throw together a salad if you wish.
It will take about 20-25 minutes in the oven; when the crust is starting to turn golden, it is ready. If you use a smaller pan, you will need to add a bit of cooking time. Just keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn't overcook.
Let it cool for about five minutes, slice it up and serve and enjoy your new homemade pizza night!
- 3 teaspoons Quick Rise Instant Yeast
- 3 teaspoons Sugar
- 1.5 cups Warm water
- 3 cups Flour (white, whole wheat, or a mix)
- 3 tablespoons Shortening
- 1.5 teaspoons Salt
- Pizza Toppings (your choice)
- Grated Cheese (your choice)
- 1 14 fl oz can Tomato Sauce
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1 teaspoon Onion Powder
- 1 teaspoon Oregano
- 1 Bay Leaf
- 1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil