My family loves pizza. When I was in school, my parents liked to order a shrimp pesto pizza from a local pizzeria, but it ordering a specialty pizza isn’t always so great on the budget.
One weekend when I was at home, my mom and I set out to recreate a pesto pizza at home. Until yesterday, we had always used a store bought pizza crust. But yesterday, I successfully made my first pizza dough!
I consider myself a fairly accomplished baker. Thanks to the best birthday present ever (a stand mixer), I finally feel comfortable tackling making my own bread. Since I got the mixer in December, I’ve made all of our sandwich bread and most of the bread we eat at meals. But for some reason I always thought pizza crust would be hard. I was so wrong.
The recipe below makes two 12 inch pizzas and couldn’t be easier. I’ve listed the toppings we like on our pizzas, but you may like something entirely different. I have no doubt this crust would work well with any kind of pizza.
Homemade Pizza –
makes two 12-inch pizzas
1 4-oz package (2 1/4 teaspoons) of yeast (I use instant rise)
2 teaspoons salt
4½ – 5 cups of bread flour
3 tablespoons olive oil
1¾ lukewarm water (about 105°)
Cornmeal (for dusting surface)
Pesto (homemade or store bought)
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
Sundried tomatoes, sliced
Artichoke hearts, chopped
Sliced mushrooms (fresh or canned)
Cooked chicken breasts, shredded
1 cup mozzarella cheese
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
Sprinkle yeast over water and allow to develop for 10 minutes. Combine salt and 2 cups of flour in a food processor; plus 5 times to combine. Add water/yeast mixture and olive oil and plus another 5-6 times. Add remaining flour in batches until dough comes together. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 15 turns. Put dough into a greased large bowl. Cover with a damp tea towel and allow to rise 45 minutes, or until doubled. Punch dough down, divide in half, and form into 2 balls. Wrap each ball in plastic wrap and chill until ready to use.
Preheat oven to 450°. Grease two 12-inch pizza pans. Unwrap dough and roll out on surface dusted with cornmeal. Place in pan and stretch to fit. Using fingers, gently create a ridge to form the crust. Spread desired amount of pesto over each crust, making sure to coat all the way to the crust. Top each pizza with desired amount of toppings, spreading them evenly. Sprinkle each pizza with at least ½ cup mozzarella cheese and several tablespoons Parmesan cheese. Bake 16-18 minutes, or until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown.