Make from scratch pizza? ideas...
Are you looking for pizza dough ideas, sauce ideas, or both? I've been having fun lately making pizza from scratch, I make mine with mostly all whole wheat, e.v. olive oil etc. For the sauce, I just 'wing it' - sautee chopped onions, garlic in olive oil, add chopped Italian tomatoes (I've been using canned), then herbs of choice (I've been using dried so far). A couple of teaspoons of tomato paste. Taste and adjust.
CH's chefchicklet, is a wizard, everything I know about pizza dough I learned from her!
The first time I made the pizza dough from her recipe, I thought it would make enough for two pizzas, but it was meant for only one. I ended up with thin crust pizza by chance, but I love thin crust, so it was a happy mistake! Basically, my hint: take a regular single batch pizza dough recipe and just separate into two balls after initial rising. Roll each ball out to fit your pizza pan.
This weekend I didn't have my rolling pin handy, so I used a (full) wine bottle to roll out my pizza dough and it worked a charm!! The weight made it effotless. You may want to try that.
Ok, my time to brag. Just 'won' a neighborly pizza making contest last weekend. Mine was very un-traditional, but tasty, well presented and balanced. I lightly pre-baked a thin whole wheat crust. Topped it with an eggplant sauce (kind of like babaganoush), fresh grilled veggies: red corn, garlic, cubanelle peppers, asparagus - all tossed with EVOO, S&P and spanish smoked paprika. Also sundried tomatoes, yellow tomatoes, black olives and goat cheese. I put it all under the broiler to warm it through and brown the cheese a little. It was hands down the winner over 5 other tomato sauce based pizza, and notice it was meatless!!!
Congratulations on winning the pizza making contest, sounds totally delicious!!
My vegetarian attempt was topped with sliced green pepper, zucchini & eggplant slices (lightly fried-don't have a grill), mushrooms, sliced artichoke hearts, sliced cooked garlic (tomato sauce based & mixed cheeses on top). Hmm, asparagus, sundried tomatoes & Spanish smoked paprika.. taking notes!
3 cheese, Fontina,Mozzerella, Provolone or Monterey. I know that's four,but if no Fontina or Provolone than Monterey and arugula, red onion, olives and fresh tomatoes after it's cooked. YUM. now we're talking.
Also a big fan of pesto based pizzas with veggies and always fresh cold tomatoes after its done.
I think I must be on my fifteenth year of making pizza from scratch and after much experimentation do the following for crust: (Note: this is for two pizzas.)
Into a large bowl, put 2 cups warm water, one tablespoon each of sugar, salt (I use kosher) and yeast. Let sit about two minutes. Add about 2 tablespoons olive oil. Start incorporating flour one cup at a time until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Turn onto floured board and knead, incorporating more flour as needed. (This takes about 6 cups of flour, in all.) You don't need to knead for very long, just until the dough smoothes out at becomes "toothy." Clean out your bowl, dry and oil it. Return the dough to the bowl, swirl around in the oil and cover with a damp cloth. Let rise for one hour. Punch it down and divide into two. Roll out the dough.
I usually freeze the half I'm not immediately using, and find the results quite different. The fresh dough yields a breadier pizza, the thawed dough from the freezer makes a much thinner crust. So I think the key to a thin pizza is cold dough.
For sauce, I use home-made sauce (Mr. Clam loves growing tomatoes) but when I'm out of it the simplest thing to do is to stir together one small can tomato sauce and one can tomato paste. Add a large clove of chopped garlic and dried oregano or fresh or dried basil to taste. I use about 1 1/2 teaspoons. This is also enough for two pizzas.
A good trick to avoid a soggy crust (from veggies such as fresh mushrooms) is to brush your rolled out dough with olive oil. Then put on some sauce, 3/4 of your grated provolone or mozzarella cheese (0.6 pounds is ideal IMHO.) Then come your toppings, the rest of the cheese, and (daughter's brilliant trick) sprinkle a few dollops of more sauce on top.
Bake at 450 degrees. Don't know if you have a pizza stone, so I will spare you the details, but there have been lots of debates on these boards about how long to heat the stone. I just put mine in the oven at the same time as I turn it on and when it starts to smoke (the smoke is from years of pepperoni grease - yes my stone has a patina) I figure it's ready.
Others have mentioned "pre-baking" the crust, and I suppose I inadvertantly do that since I construct the pizza directly on the stone, once it has heated. I roll out the dough on my counter and transfer it to the hot stone. While I put everything else on the pizza, the dough "pre-bakes." Bake in the oven until the cheese just starts to brown. Remove from oven and let sit on stone for 5 minutes before cutting.
Good luck and have fun! Pizza is really fun to make and so much better and less expensive than most you can buy.
Thank you for the topic and all the great advice! I have a hard time getting the dough to really thin out - especially around the edges. It always seems to come out thicker than I would like. I've also hear that you shouldn't use a roller on thin crust dough. Any helpful hints? Thanks so much!
Oh, you'll have so much fun. Just remember to prebake your crust, so it'll be done for sure. Nothing worse than an undone crust under all the toppings and sauce you've lovingly placed on it! I've been making meatballs with either ground beef or turkey, and using them as part of the topping. Fresh mozzarella, cut into chunks or slices, or ricotta that has been drained (place in sieve over bowl, place a saucer on, and weight down - let drain for an hour or so) make good additions, along with Parmesan Reggiano. Love roasted red peppers too. My next pizza I'm going to go blanca - haven't tried that yet, and I'm up for a change!
Cut and pasted from a previous post I made:
Every now and then, I go through a phase where I eat almost nothing but homemade pizzas. The one I call "the standard" would probably be considered Greek-ish by some folks.
For the sauce, I do something very similar to Alton Brown's "Pantry friendly tomato sauce." You can look this up on the Food Channel website. To get it into a pizza sauce consistency, I put it into the food processor after it's cooled. Usually best to make the tomato sauce in advance. It keeps pretty well in the fridge.
For the dough, I think I use about 3 cups of King Arthur all purpose flour to make 2 pizzas. I'm going from memory, so maybe my ratios here are a bit off. I'm lazy, so I use my stand mixer to make the dough. First, warm your mixing bowl. Then I put some active dry yeast into about a cup of warm water with a bit of honey dissolved in. Once that lets off bubbles (lets you know the yeast is still alive), start adding in the flour and a teaspoon or so of salt. A couple of tablespoons of olive oil, and mix it until it looks like a good ball of dough. It shouldn't be too sticky. If it's too sticky, add more flour. Coat the dough ball in olive oil, cover the mixing bowl with plastic wrap, and let it sit a while for the dough to rise (about double). It will rise faster in warmer places.
Punch down the dough, divide it into two balls, and roll these out into pizzas. I use a roller, because I have no dough-tossing skills. For the crust, I just pinch it up around the edges.
For toppings, I like pizza sauce, sliced up genoa salami, pre-baked sliced onions and bell peppers, pitted kalamata olives (hope you have a pit remover), fontina cheese (could substitute mozz), and feta cheese. Sometimes I'll also add artichoke hearts, but that tends to load up the pie a bit too much. That's my "standard."
For pizza, I always get my oven up to over 500F, and just keep an eye on it. I generally find it's a good idea to "par-bake" my dough before I put on the toppings. I do this on a pizza stone (unglazed floor tile from Home Depot - don't pay more than $8 for a pizza stone). It makes it easier to handle the loaded pie... believe me, it sucks to load up a pie and have it fall apart as you try to move it into the oven. At that point, it's best to just make it into a calzone... I don't usually cook my pizza on the stone. It's mainly in there to keep the oven from losing too much heat when I open the door and for par-baking the dough.
My favorite is... your favorite pizza crust, topped with a thin layer of your favorite tomato sauce, then a smattering of ricotta cheese and a little more sauce. Then a mixture of mozzarella, fontina, and parmesan, and some basil chiffonades. Bake til golden and crisp. Top with dollops of more ricotta cheese.
I love making pizza and my extended family will come running if they hear through the grapevine that it's what's for dinner.
I make the usual dough with the yeast and warm water and flour but then I add a few tbs of melted butter, a small handful of Rapadura Cane Sugar (not as sweet as regular refined sugar) some salt, garlic powder, and a dash of oregano. The dough seems to do best when left on the sticky side.
I do not roll my dough into a pizza shape. I pinch and spread it over my well greased pizza pan.
Next, I spread a thin layer of seasoned organic tomato paste onto the pizza. Then I add a layer of thinly sliced fresh tomatoes. Then a layer of chopped fresh basil. Then a sprinkling of parm cheese. Then I season with a mix of salt, pepper, oregano, and razor thin garlic slices.
I use fresh mozzarella for the cheese which I just tear with my heands from a fresh ball. Less is more with the fresh stuff as it gets very runny.
I bake at 350 for about 25-30 minutes and it comes out beautifully.
i have been following the King Arthur pizza dough recipes but using 1/2 whole wheat flour. I still can't get the dough to be that elastic stretchy stuff of my youth working in the pizza shop...but I think perhaps I need to think that that really wasnt "real" or "homemade" and probably had lots of processed ingredients.
Sunday night I made the following pizza (with the King Arthur recipe):
base: 1/2 can of olives (sigh, I know, these guys had been sitting around too long so I had to do something with them, but fresh is much better), basil, garlic, S&P
cheese: fresh mozz, parm, deli provolone (cut into thin strips)
toppings: beautiful greenhouse tomatoes from canada, caramalized onions, then w/just a few minutes in the oven -- I covered it in arugula.
tasty and fresh! and a good "clean out the fridge" type meal.
I have a pizza stone, but still found the resulting dough too crackery. But when I cook it on the grill it comes out exactly as I want it. Roll out the dough, olive oil it, toss it on the grill. When it seems to have achieved a pizza like consistency olive oil the other side, flip it, dress it, and finish. Takes about 3-5 minutes per side. I like white pizza best for home cooking and especially for grill cooking: minced clams and parmesan and garlic and parsley.
We make alot of pizza, and one version we make is Alsasian-Style, aka Flammenküche, aka Tarte Flambee.
Use whatever pizza crust recipe you would normally use, and for the topping:
5oz Créme Fraîche
Half an onion, finely minced
5oz Lardons (blanched) or Bacon Pieces
A little grated Gruyére
Spread the Créme Fraîche as you would Tomato Sauce for regular pizza.
Distribute the Lardons and Onion evenly on top. Sprinkle with Gruyére.
A little pepper woudn't hurt.
Bake in a very hot oven until golden.
I use a sponge method to make the crust. It takes about 12 hours, but it has a much better flavor and texture. I start the sponge before I go to bed and let it work all night on the counter. I add the olive oil and salt and the remainder of the flour and knead by hand when I get up. I start with approx 1 1/2 cups of water but the flour is a guesstimate based on experience. Its about 1 tsp of yeast, 1 tsp of salt and 2-3 TB of Olive oil.
I blind bake the crust on a extremely hot stone (preheated to 500F) until it rises and sets. I put on my sauce and then use a bit of fennel seed, garlic, ground pepper flakes, Penzeys Ital. seasoning and onion powder. The cheeses start with a bit of feta, then Parmesan, and a layer of mozzarella. The toppings are precooked and drained Italian sausage and pepperoni that has been laid out on 2 layers of paper towels (2 layers under and over the pepperoni) and microwaved to render the fat out of them. It's amazing the amount of grease that can be removed. I finish with veggies, including the mushrooms. This step is especially important if you use white button mushrooms, as they are full of water and by placing them on top you will allow the water to evaporate during the second baking session. Crimmis taste great, but it seems like a crime to use $6.00 a lb mushrooms on a ordinary pizza.
Bake until the crust begins to show color. I pat any visible moisture from the mushrooms with a folded paper towel, and then add a final layer of provolone and bake until it sets and starts to brown.
slice and enjoy.