Homemade pizza is a great family night activity. Each person can choose their toppings. It's especially easy to make if you have a bread machine. Not only is it budget-friendly, but making your own pizza dough also allows you to know exactly what ingredients are used, be sure there are no additives or preservatives, and to substitute all-purpose with whole wheat flour to give it an extra boost in fiber and nutritional content.
Top your pizza with everything from a quick homemade pizza sauce using fresh or canned tomatoes, a pesto sauce, or white sauce. If you have all three, everyone can choose which base sauce they want on their pizza. Make a pizza bar with ingredients that need cooking and fresh ingredients to add on once the pizza has been baked. There are lots of combinations and ingredients in the tips below.
- For the Dough:
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon dry active yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoons olive (or vegetable oil)
- 2/3 cup water (warm)
- For the Pizza Pan:
- 1 tablespoon cornmeal
For the Dough
Gather the ingredients.
Set up your bread machine.
Place the dough ingredients into your bread machine by following the order of addition that is recommended by your bread machine manufacturer. Select the dough cycle on your machine and turn it on.
If your bread machine proves the dough inside of it, once the cycle ends you're ready to roll out the dough. If, instead, the bread machine doesn't have the proving setting, you need to remove it and place the dough in a greased ceramic bowl, cover it with a kitchen towel, and let it proof for 1 hour at room temperature.
Once the dough has risen, you can roll out your dough on a floured rolling surface using a rolling pin. If you prefer, you can use your hands instead to stretch the dough flat. Flatten dough to 1/4-inch thick.
For the Pizza
Preheat the oven to 490 F.
Have your pizza pan prepared by sprinkling it with about 1 tablespoon of cornmeal. Place the dough on your pizza pan and prick it all over with a fork.
Bake the pizza dough, without toppings, for 5 minutes. This ensures the pizza will be crispy. Remove from the oven.
Add the sauce of your choice over the dough.
Add the ingredients that need to be baked like grated cheese, vegetables, or meats.
Place the pizza into the oven and bake for 8 to 10 minutes. Check your pizza at five minutes and use a fork to pierce any air bubbles that have developed. Your pizza is ready when the crust has browned on the bottom and the toppings are hot and bubbling.
Remove your pizza from the oven and allow it to cool for a few minutes. Once it is cool enough to handle, cut it into portions for serving and add any other cold toppings of your liking.
Ideas for Pizza Toppings
Although pizza combinations are as varied as personal preferences, here are a few favorites:
- Pesto, Fresh Mozzarella, and Arugula: Bake the pizza with a pesto base and slices of fresh mozzarella. Once it is out of the oven, top with fresh arugula, cubed San Marzano tomatoes, a splash of olive oil, and red pepper flakes for heat.
- Brie, Pears, and Spinach: Bake the pizza with slices of Brie cheese and peeled and sliced pears, no sauce. Once it is out of the oven, top with chopped spinach and splash with a reduction of balsamic vinegar.
- Gruyere and Prosciutto: Bake the pizza with slices of Gruyere, but no sauce. Once it is out of the oven, top with generous amounts of thinly sliced prosciutto. Splash with extra virgin olive oil and a dash of fresh pepper.
Ingredients you can have at hand as toppings:
- Various cheeses like Fontina, Gruyere, Asiago, Parmesan, Brie, or blue.
- Various cold cuts like turkey, smoked ham, prosciutto, or pastrami.
- Vegetables preserved in olive oil like artichokes, sundried tomatoes, or peppers.
- Fresh vegetables like cubed tomatoes, mixed greens, arugula, or spinach.
- Grilled vegetables like eggplants, zucchini, peppers, or asparagus.
For a dessert pizza:
- Bake the crust for 8 minutes.
- Add Nutella or caramel sauce and bake it again for 4 to 6 more minutes.
- Top with marshmallows, chocolate pieces, fresh strawberries, fresh bananas, whipped cream, and/or chopped nuts.