pizza pizza! dough and sauce from scratch

We decided to try and make pizza totally from scratch today!  Neither of us had ever made pizza dough or sauce before so we figured it’d be fun.  You need to start off with the dough because it’s going to take some time to rest.  While the dough is resting, you can make up the pizza sauce, grate the cheese and prep up any toppings you want.  When the dough is almost ready, preheat the oven to 450F.

Makes 2 x 12 inch pizzas

For the pizza dough: 

2 and 1/4 tsp active dry yeast  /  1 cup warm water  /  2 and 1/2 to 3 cups of all purpose flour  /  1/2 tsp of salt  /  2 tsp olive oil

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Dissolve the yeast in warm water in a mixing bowl that’s been warmed up a bit (Rock just ran it under some hot water and then dried it off).  Mix in the salt, olive oil and 2 and 1/2 cups of flour.  Either knead together with a dough hook if you have a stand mixer or by hand.  When it’s all starting to come together, add a bit more of the flour at a time and keep kneading until it’s forming quite an elastic and still-moist dough.  Grease a large bowl with a bit of olive oil and place the dough in.  Drizzle a bit more olive oil on top of the dough, then cover the bowl with a tea towel and it it rest for an hour.  The dough will almost double in size.

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Punch down the dough and cut in half.  Roll each half of the dough into a ball and then press each ball onto a olive oil-greased 12 inch pizza pan.  Just be a bit patient and kind of press and gently stretch the dough until it fills the pan.

For the pizza sauce:

So I don’t really know what the difference is supposed to be between pizza sauce and a tomato sauce that would be used for pasta.  I just know that it should be thicker than tomato sauce and tastes somehow different.  The difference I’m attributing to lots of oregano (I never use oregano when making pasta sauce) and a bit of sugar for a layer of sweetness.

1 can tomato paste  /  1 can of crushed tomatoes  /  1 medium yellow onion  /  4 – 5 cloves of garlic (I love garlic!)  /  ~ 3 tbsp of dried oregano  /  ~ 1 tbsp of sugar  /  salt and pepper to taste  /  olive oil

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Finely chop up the onion and either press or mince the garlic.  Put a few good splashes of olive oil in a large saucepan/pot over medium heat and add in the onions.  Season the onions with a bit of salt (I had heard that this brings out the sweetness in onions so I’ve just always salted my onions) and stir around for a couple minutes.  Add in the garlic and sautee until the onions are turning translucent.   Add in the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and oregano and turn down the heat to low.  Let it simmer for 15 to 20 minutes while giving it a stir every now and again.  We both agreed that usually pizza sauce is quite smooth so, if you want, use a handheld blender and just blend the sauce until smooth.

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After you’ve pressed your dough out on the pizza pans, generously spoon over the sauce (we both love lots of pizza sauce but we will still have a bit leftover), and then top with shredded cheese and whatever other toppings you’d like.  We used both pizza mozzarella and old cheddar, and our toppings included mushrooms, green pepper, green olives and onions.  Bake on the middle rack in the oven at 450F for about 15 minutes.

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We were both really happy with how our pizzas turned out!  Rock says the crust was very crispy ‘and tasteful.’  I was pretty impressed with the crust because it really rose up in the oven but was light and still very nice and crispy.  Rock says our pizza sauce was better than what you can get from a restaurant.  And now we still have more than 1 whole pizza left over which means I can look forward to pizza for lunch tomorrow!

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