This post is weeks in the making and long overdue. If you’ve started following my Facebook page, you have seen “homemade pizza” on the weekly menu as we have instituted family pizza night. This is a result of a couple things:
- We really love pizza.
- We are lazy on Sundays, we wanted something we could eat with the kids in front of the TV while watching Frozen. Someone please buy Anna a new movie.
- We are cheap. We need one meal on the menu each week that is dirt cheap and gives us some leftovers for later in the week.
Mr. SweeterThing’s original idea was to stock up on Digiorno pizza. Which I love, especially the stuffed crust. But I wanted something made in my kitchen, and so began our journey to homemade pizza. I didn’t want just any homemade pizza, I wanted pizza that would easily take the place of hot, cheesy, take out pizza. I started with this pizza crust recipe, which is quick and super easy. And delicious, but still tasted much like a homemade attempt at pizza. We decided to start working on a thin crust recipe, where we are from there is a pizza place called Monical’s pizza. Their crust is super simple and super thin, their sauce and toppings are perfection. I googled and binged my little heart out and finally found some recipes that, together, come darn close to Monical’s pizza. It’s not just the crust folks, its the sauce as well. Skip the jarred stuff, my recipe doesn’t even require a pot or stove so keep reading. There are lots of photos below and don’t worry, if you don’t have a pizza stone, I’ll share a tip I learned and you won’t even need it!
Start with the crust. Water, yeast, sugar. Very simple. Stir it together and let it sit for 10 minutes.
It should foam up and look like this:
Add flour, salt, basil, and a touch of olive oil. Stir together with a spoon until the mixture is really dry
Then start working it with your hands. Initially, your hands will get messy but this dough is super easy to work with, by the time you’re done, your hands will be clean. Push your fist in the middle of the dough, gather it back together in a ball and repeat over and over again.
The above picture is what it looks like mid way, its still too sticky at this point, keep kneading…. until it’s smooth like this:
It will be elastic, you should be able to pinch a hunk of it and pull and it won’t tear off
Spray your bowl with cooking spray, place your dough back in the bowl, turn once, and cover loosely with plastic wrap.
Let it sit for a couple hours, it will look like this:
Divide the dough into two balls. Work the balls of dough by draping the dough over a fist, pulling down the edges of the dough and tucking them underneath. Do this four or five times.
Then roll each ball of dough under your hand in a circle to smooth the dough back out
Cover it back up with plastic wrap and let it rest another hour.
NOW, before I go on. I should share a little secret with you. The first time I made this crust, I followed the directions exactly. The second time, I didn’t have a lot of time so I only let it rise for 1 hour and only let it rest for 30 minutes. It was fine. This weekend, I wasn’t around to separate the dough and work it and roll it and let it rest. I threw the dough together and let it rise while I went hiking with family. When I got home, I divided the dough and rolled it out into pizza. It turned out fine. This is a SUPER forgiving recipe so make it work for you.
OK, now for the tips and tricks part. Here are some things that will make the assembly process and final product easier and will taste like pizzeria pizza. The first is parchment paper. The second is cornmeal. They go hand in hand. Tear off a piece of parchment paper and sprinkle it with cornmeal. Throw down your crust and roll it out thin. Super thin. You can literally see the wrinkles of the parchment paper in my crust.
Now for the sauce. I didn’t even photograph it, there’s really nothing to show you. Throw everything in a bowl, stir it up really good and let it sit for 30 minutes before you use it. I doubled the batch and stored it in the fridge. It lasted me two weeks and a total of 8-10 pizzas. You’ll notice I put it on thin, trust me you’ll taste it. It’s delicious and full of flavor.
Dress it up. Here’s my favorite toppings, I was super hungry so I just loaded this baby full of toppings:
- Deli ham, chopped up
- Chopped green pepper (I keep it in the freezer but fresh is best)
- Cheese!! Duh!! I use a combination of mozzarella and colby-jack or cheddar-jack. I use about 1 1/2 cups total per pizza.
- Andoui sausage from Johnsonville. This really makes a pizza people, not really spicy but full of flavor
- Turkey pepperoni
You can start with cheese or start with everything else and then bury it in cheese. Up to you.
Now for baking. If you have a pizza stone, it should have been heating in your oven at 500 degrees (or as hot as the oven will go) for 20-30 minutes while you were working on your pizzas. If you don’t have a pizza stone, flip a cookie sheet UPSIDE DOWN on the center oven wrack and let it preheat in the oven just like you would a pizza stone. While you are assembling your pizza ON PARCHMENT PAPER, use a cool cookie sheet, also turned upside down to judge size, etc. When you are ready to bake, open the oven and simply slide the pizza by the edge of the parchment paper off the back of the cool cookie sheet onto the hot cookie sheet in the oven.
Bake 8-10 minutes and then remove, cut, and enjoy!!
- 1 package or 2 1/4 tsp. active dry or fresh yeast
- 1 teaspoon honey or sugar
- 1 cup warm water, 105 to 115 degrees F
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tsp. basil
- Combine the yeast, sugar, and water in a bowl and stir to combine. Let sit for 10 minutes, until foamy.
- Add the salt, oil, basil, and flour and stir to combine. When the mixture gets really dry, use your hands to work into a dough. Knead for 3-5 minutes until the dough is smooth and elastic.
- Spray the bowl with cooking spray, place the dough in the bowl, turn once to coat. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise 2 hours.
- Divide the dough into two equal size balls and work each one, pulling the sides down and folding them back into the ball of dough. Do this 4-5 times. Roll the dough under your palm to smooth the dough back out.
- Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest another hour.
- Roll each ball of dough out on parchment paper dusted with cornmeal. Crust should be very thin.
- Assemble with pizza sauce, cheese, and toppings.
- Bake at 500 degrees on a pizza stone or cookie sheet flipped upside down for 8-10 minutes.
- 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
- 6 fluid ounces warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
- 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons honey or sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
- 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/8 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
- salt to taste (I use 1 tsp.)
- Combine everything in a bowl and stir to combine into a sauce. Let sit for 30 minutes before using. Store leftovers in the fridge or freezer if not going to use within 2 weeks.
- When chilled, this gets really thick but it spreads out nicely anyway and is delicious when baked.