Growing up my family had a couple of traditions when it came to Sunday meals. The first was we had a large meal around one in the afternoon. The other was a later “snack dinner” that usually comprised of homemade pizza, leftovers or leftovers on pizza.
Below is my dough recipe, which can be doubled very easily. Normally it makes two 12-inch thin crusts or one 9×13 thick crust pizza.
The sky is the limit when it comes to toppings. I prefer vegetables over meat, but really if the topping sounds good it probably will be.
On the other hand, the sauce used can only be one of three things. Blended marinara with a little extra oregano, fresh pesto, or olive oil mixed with Romano and torn basil (a true white pizza). Of course always use fresh grated mozzarella to finish.
I promised an easy bread recipe next. As for the required ingredients and steps this fits the bill. That said, this dough is murder on your arms and it must be done by hand to come out right. It also is more art than science so be ready for a possible disaster the first few times you try. For the best result, let the dough rise for at least 24 hours, and up to 48. It is ready after two hours if you have no patience, forgot, or need a filling “snack” for a family of Italians who have not eaten for four hours.
- 2 cups unbleached white flour
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp yeast dissolved in ¼ cup warm water, plus extra water as needed
Let yeast sit until bubbles form on surface, about five minutes. In a large bowl mix flour and salt and then create a well in the center. Add oil to yeast and pour into center of flour. Scoop sides of flour into liquid mixing well. Add more warm water a tablespoon at a time until dough forms a rough mass that barely holds together. Remove from bowl and knead by hand for 10 minutes. As you knead, the dough will become more pliable and smooth. If after five minutes it has not begun to soften add more water. If it seems too soupy or sticky add some flour, but again wait until five minutes to do so. When done the dough should be very smooth and not sticky at all. Place in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Let rise for two hours (or for best results 24-48 hours). Punch down dough and form into a ball or divide into two balls for thin crust and let rest 10 minutes.
If making thick crust press single dough ball into a 9x 13 pan greased with olive oil. Add desired sauce to top leaving ¼” dough exposed all around. Add toppings of choice and dust with Romano cheese. Bake in an oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes. Add grated fresh mozzarella and bake until cheese melts and browns, about five minutes.
If making thin crust place a pizza stone on the bottom shelf of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. With a rolling pin and your hands, roll and stretch a dough ball into a 12-14” circle making the edges slightly thicker that the rest of the dough. Slip dough onto hot stone and top with sauce of choice. Add toppings and repeat cooking steps for thick crust above. Keep other dough balls covered until ready to be rolled out and cooked.