Toppings can be changed, it's all about the dough

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.

Pizza Dough

  • 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.

Pesto, mushrooms, green onion and olives smothered in mozzarella

About Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

This blog attempts to collect some of the things I try to create with food and booze. Sometimes I succeed and sometimes I fail. My hope is to entertain and maybe help people think a little harder about what they decide to eat and drink.
This entry was posted in Dinner, Food, Italian, Recipes and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to Pizza

  1. Yuri says:

    My Sunday tradition consists in me taking the day off [no cooking/baking] and eating out delicious chinese dimsum, I’ve missed it because of my detox but this Sunday its gonna be a DimSunday! I love working with yeast and flour. Its like magic!
    Love the flavors in your pizza 🙂

    • A_Boleyn says:

      I love dim sum. My last birthday lunch consisted of a take home order for $65 … mostly made up of dim sum though I did pick up a couple of other dishes for my mom to enjoy too. 🙂

  2. Dough makes me nervous, but MAN those pizza’s look amaaaaaaazing! I am learning, slowly but surely to overcome my yeastphobia. You better believe this will be on my list of To Make when that day arrives. 🙂

  3. Looks like an amazing pizzas dough!

  4. I love the look of your pizza and the tradition you family had eating them on Sundays. Thanks for sharing the dough recipe!

  5. Karen C. says:

    I think you just stole my heart. Being in shanghai, there is rarely good pizza…my boss, (french-italian and I work for a restaurant in marketing) mentioned a few places but they are ridiculously priced….

    Looks like AMAZING dough… mmm thin crust.

  6. Great pizzas. I posted a recipe for Pizza yesterday.
    🙂 Mandy

  7. ChefMom says:

    I just had some pizza for breakfast. It’s the perfect food when you think about it. All of the food groups. 🙂 Your dough looks fantastic and your red sauce sounds perfect. And I like your family’s tradition of a snack dinner after a big dinner. That sounds just about right to me. Have a good weekend!

  8. saminacooks says:

    YUM. Great looking pizzas 🙂 I just made pizza a few nights ago! Its one of my husband and my favorite dinners.

  9. Alison says:

    This looks so good! Thanks for sharing such a great recipe! I am definitely going to try it out.

  10. I love your comment about feeding your Italian family a snack if they haven’t eaten for four hours- so true!!

  11. Laura says:

    I love making homemade pizza and I’m always trying out a new crust recipe so I will definitely try this one. I love your family’s Sunday pizza tradition! When I was in Italy my friends and I went to a restaurant in La Spezia and we always refer to it as the mafia restaurant because we were the only girls in the restaurant, other than the waitresses. But the other interesting thing was that everyone ordered their own pizza as an appetizer and also ordered an entree.

  12. imakeeper says:

    Looks yummy! Homemade pizza is the best to make… I discovered recently that the spinach/mushroom combo is very delicious (and somewhat healthy). Great post!

  13. SimpleP says:

    My husband often cooks our pizzas on the smoker and they’re delicious. We’ll give this dough recipe a try. Looks fantastic.

  14. That looks totally awesome…yep I could eat that pizza now. Excited to try your recipe out soon!

  15. nancyc says:

    Those pizzas look amazing! I especially like that pesto pizza! I will have to try that dough–it’s true that it’s all about the dough!

  16. A_Boleyn says:

    I love pizza but haven’t mastered a good white version yet. My last one was a combination of ricotta, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses and garlic powder. Didn’t have quite enough oomph though … no fresh basil unfortunately and the dried stuff wasn’t even considered.

    Have you tried a 3 sauce (tomato, pesto and white) version? It’s gimmicky but I think it would be a fun party pizza. 🙂

  17. JamieAnne says:

    I love homemade pizza. It’s far superior to store bought, major pizza chains and some restaurants.

  18. Making your *True White Pizza* on Sunday! Any suggestions for the wine? And when, exactly, do you put the basil on the pie? Every time I do it, it burns, so I’m guessing you put it on after removing from the oven?

    • Put the basil under the cheese and bake. It’s not as pretty but it won’t burn. Remember to use a good deal of olive oil to keep the white pizza from burning. For wines, a sauvignon blanc from Chile, less fruity, or a pinot gris from Oregon.:)

  19. I’ve been looking for a great pizza dough! I think I’ll give yours a whirl 🙂

  20. ChgoJohn says:

    Your pizzas all look great and have me thinking of making my own. It’s been a while since I’ve done it but, this time around, I’ll give your dough recipe a try.

  21. Colline says:

    Just what I was looking for – a pizza dough recipe. Thank you 🙂

  22. Sara says:

    Someday we will have a tradition of Friday night pizzas…What could be better?

  23. nrhatch says:

    We had a pizza tradition too ~ homemade pizza while watching Perry Mason courtroom dramas.

    I still make pizza dough occasional, but more often order pie from our favorite pizza parlor ~ Oma’s.

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