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Jun 6, 2007 11:58 AM

Make from scratch pizza? ideas...

I am looking for a thin crust make from scratch pizze dough and any good sauce recipes out not opposed to hard work on the dough. Anything that has a good herb infused taste would be welcomed!
Thanks in advance!

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  1. 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.

    2 Replies
    1. re: morebubbles

      both ideas...but the ones that are listed here lrready sound like a great start. I agree pizza is fun to make, and I like the idea of whole wheat dough. Sounds like lots of you have some bragging rights in the pizza area! thanks for sharing, i cant wait to try...

      1. re: morebubbles

        haha! morebubbles is too modest, the teacher now needs to take lessons!!!

      2. 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!!!

        4 Replies
        1. re: thenurse

          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!

          1. re: morebubbles

            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.

          2. re: thenurse

            im intrigued...eggplant sauce, did you make it? if so would you be willing to share? Your pizza sounds divine!! Exactly my kind of pizza, loaded with fresh veggies!

            1. re: jennisad

              Sadly I bought it, and didn't like it (at the St. Lawrence Market in Toronto, if by coincidence you're from T.O). It cost me too much money to waste so I decided to use it on the pizza, which was a good choice... thinly spread. It was a bit sweet so I had to be careful.

          3. 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.

            6 Replies
            1. re: clamscasino

              Great advice...I can tell you have some years doing this. Oh, wise one ;)

              1. re: clamscasino

                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!

                1. re: UDHRfan

                  You can make it oblong shaped and not roll the edge, just like you were making a flat bread. How thin?

                  1. re: chef chicklet

                    I was aiming for good NYC style thin. Thanks for the tip - that will also help with the bizarre shapes that sometimes occur when aiming for round. :)

                    1. re: UDHRfan

                      Bizarre shapes...? We call that Pizza Rustica!

                      1. re: clamscasino

                        :) I'm going to use that - it makes it sound like I did it on purpose :)

              2. 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!

                1. 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.