I love all things pizza. A pepperoni pizza can really turn around my day and put a smile on my face. My favorite pizza is pepperoni, garlic,and black olives. Nom! Every birthday my parents would ask me what I wanted for my birthday dinner and I would tell them pizza. And God bless them, every year they would by Boboli crust and we would make our own pizzas. While this sounds sweet I hated Boboli pizza. It tastes terrible and when I said I wanted pizza what I really meant was that I wanted Round Table Pizza. I never had the heart to tell them that I hated my birthday pizza until I was well into my thirties. I was just grateful for their effort. Instead I started asking for a different birthday dinner so I didn’t hurt heir feelings, sound ungrateful, but didn’t have to eat that disgusting crust again.
Fast forward to after culinary school when I learned to make pizza dough and have decided that when I buy a house I or my future mister will build a pizza oven in the backyard. Now I love having build your own pizza nights with my family. We use pizza stones and the oven with delicious results. Below I have included the recipe for making the dough. After making it you can decide if you want to make calzones or pizza. I will provide details for completing the calzones since they require a bit for skill. To make the pizza take the dough, roll it out with a mixture of flour and cornmeal to your desired size, add your sauce, add your toppings, and bake at 400 for 20 minutes. Give this dough a try and let me know if you like it.
Serving size: 4 personal pizzas or 4-6 calzones depending on size.
Dough Active time: 20 minutes
Dough Inactive time: 1 hour and 10 minutes
2 packages of highly active or active dry yeast
2 t granulated sugar
2 C warm water
2 t kosher salt
4-6 C. all-purpose flour, plus more for the counter
1/4 C+2 T extra virgin oil oil
1/2 C cornmeal for the counter
1. In a large bowl combine the yeast, sugar, and water. Stir to combine and allow it to sit for 10 minutes until it is foamy.
Note: make sure the water isn’t too hot. If the water feels hot to you it is too hot for the yeast and will kill it causing your dough not to rise.
2. Stir in the salt and 2 T of olive oil into the yeast mixture.
3. Begin adding the flour one cup at a time. Stir between each addition of flour until the dough becomes too stiff to use a spoon. Knead the additional flour into the dough. Add enough flour so the dough is soft but not sticky. Squeeze the edge of the dough between your thumb and index finger. If the dough is crumbly add more water 1 T at a time and if it is sticky add more flour 2 T at a time.
Note: when kneading, lift the dough with your fingers bringing to to the heel of your hand, then press down on the dough firmly, then turn the dough. If you think about a clock, turn the dough to the 3, 6, 9, and 12 positions after each knead. Also remember that you can always add flour but you can’t take any out so gradually add flour so that you don’t add more than what you need which will cause your dough to be tough. Lastly, make sure you aren’t squeezing the dough between your fingers. This should be done with only one hand. Treat the dough firmly but gently. Dough can be temperamental so treat her kindly, with care, and she will produce a beautifully delicious product.
4. When the dough has been kneaded, add 1/4 C of olive oil to the large bowl, and turn the dough over in the oil so all sides are covered. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a towel. Place the bowl in a warm place so the dough can rise which will take approximately 1 hour.
Note: You can turn on the dryer and sit the bowl in the warm laundry room or you can turn the oven to it’s lowest temperature (for me it was 170 degrees), let it come to temp, and then turn the oven off. If the oven is too warm allow the door to stay open until the oven is warm instead of hot.
5. After 1 hour the dough should’ve doubled in size. Press the dough down, remove it from the bowl, cut into the number of portions you need, place onto a non-stick surface and cover with plastic wrap until you are ready to use it.
Note: The dough can be frozen or refrigerated for use at a different time at this point. When removed from the freezer or refrigerator allow the dough to come up the room temperature before rolling out.
Pizza and calzone procedure:
1. Heat the oven and pizza stone, pizza pan, or baking pan to 400 degrees F.
2. Flour the counter with flour and cornmeal.
3. Place the portioned dough onto the floured counter and being to shape the dough. If making a pizza, the dough can be stretched by hand or rolled with a floured rolling pin.
1. Place the stretched or rolled dough onto the hot stone, pan, or baking sheet and pre-bake it for 10 minutes.
2. When the dough is done add the pizza sauce, cheese, and toppings.
3. Bake the pizza for 20 minutes, slice, and enjoy.
1. Add the topping of your choice to the center of the dough. Be sure to leave a border. You can choose to add sauce to the inside of the calzone or use the sauce as a dipping sauce.
2. Fold the dough in half covering the cheese and topping. Press the edges of the dough together firmly with your thumb and index finger or you can press the dough onto the counter. You will then take your thumb and index finger to roll and press the edges of the dough to further seal it. This takes a bit of technique so the edges can also be closed using a fork. When the edges has been sealed rub olive oil over the top of the calzone.
3. Place the calzone on the stone, pan, or baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes. When the calzone is done cool it for a few minutes to prevent burning your mouth. The calzone can be eaten whole or sliced in half. Enjoy!
Notes and Variations:
- Whole wheat flour can be used in place of the all-purpose flour however you will see a different in the rise and the chew of the dough.
- Olive oil works best in the recipe but other oils can be used.
- Any sugar or sugar substitute can be used.
- Mezzetta pizza sauce is the best! It is sold at Safeway. You will not be disappointed.
- Smart and Final has a delicious pizza cheese blend that is also my favorite.
- The variations for the pizza and calzones are endless. Have fun with this recipe.
- Make sure the measuring cup used for the water is a liquid measuring cup and not a dry measuring cup.