Oh no . . . it’s here again. I always try to slither out of it, but it finds me, every day– the dreaded 4:00 hour. You know what I mean . . . that time when you finally come to a bit of a rest after a whirlwind morning of running kids to appointments and activities, doing laundry, washing and putting away dishes, rushing to the Post Office for the obscenely few hours it seems to be open throughout the day (2 hours for lunch? Really?), and then, it hits: the dinnertime trial.
Oh dear. I have 1 hour to prepare something for supper, and I have absolutely nothing thawed out and no idea what to make.
Yes. I have totally been there. In fact, I could be a regular passenger on the “Is it dinner already???” train. I should probably just buy a season pass, since I ride it so often.
This is a great little recipe to help you out of those “Why do they want supper EVERY NIGHT????” conundrums you face. Haha. This recipe is nice, too, because you can make a double batch, freeze your dough, and pop it out of the freezer in a flash. More on that later. But just know . . . this meal is the busy Mom’s friend.
I have been making and tweaking this recipe since I was a teenager, and you can feel free to make and pass along, but please credit back here so no one steals my work 🙂
What are we waiting for? Let’s do this!
1 cup warm water
1 tbsp. white sugar
2 tbsp. olive oil
2 1/2 tsp. INSTANT yeast (not active dry or rapid rise)
3 cups flour (may be more or less, depending on humidity)
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
Mix warm water, sugar, oil, and instant yeast together in a bowl. (*Note: if you are using active dry or rapid rise yeast, you will add a 5 minute “proofing” step. With instant yeast, you can skip the proofing step). Add in about 1/2 cup of flour. Whisk. Add in salt and rest of seasonings, whisking well. Add in just enough flour to form a stiff dough. Knead on floured silpat until dough is soft and pliable, like a human earlobe. Place in greased bowl and mist top of dough with cooking spray. Cover and allow to rise until doubled– about an hour to an hour and a half, depending on how warm your kitchen is.
When dough is doubled, punch down and place on a pizza pan that has been oiled with 2 tbsp. of olive oil. Oiling your fingers, press dough into flat, round shape. Let sit 15 minutes (preheat your oven during this time). Bake bare crust at 425 for 5 minutes and remove from oven. Place your sauce and desired toppings (not frozen toppings) on the pizza. Return to oven and bake roughly 10-15 minutes, or until cheese and toppings are golden. Serve immediately.
Now, in pictures! 🙂
First, add your sugar to your warm water. The water should be pleasantly warm– not hot.
Add your olive oil and instant yeast. More on the types of yeast here
Add in about 1/2 cup of your flour, and then the salt and other spices. Whisk. Don’t add the salt to the yeast by itself, because salt and yeast are like ex spouses at their child’s wedding– they both need to be there, but you need enough other stuff in there to act as a buffer so things don’t get ugly. The flour is your buffer. Add a little of this before you add the salt to the yeast mixture.
Place your dough onto a floured silpat and knead until it becomes a dough that is soft and not sticky. It should feel very much like a human earlobe. I am currently working on a post about kneading. I should have that up shortly, in case you’re new to this “kneading” business.
Place your dough into a greased bowl, mist the top with cooking spray, and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Let the dough rise roughly 1 hour, until doubled in size and puffy. Enjoy the incredible pizza smell from your rising yeast dough. ‘Atsa right! Pizza time soon!
When your dough has doubled, get yourself a nice round pizza pan (roughly 12 inches across). Don’t have a round pan? No worries. Use a 13×9. It won’t be round, but it will still taste delish. The best pan to use is a cast iron skillet– it crisps up that crust like nobody’s business.
Take about 2 tbsp. of olive oil and smear it around the bottom and sides of whatever pan you’re using. Place your dough on the oiled pan, and with a little olive oil on your fingers, smoosh the dough into the shape of your pan.
If you want, you can even cut up a few cheese sticks and wrap the edge of the dough over them. Voila– stuffed crust.
Let the dough sit for 15 minutes, without messing with it. This is a great time to preheat your oven, so it will be ready to go when your dough is ready. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
When the 15 minutes of “sitting” are done, pop that naked crust into the oven. Par-bake it for 5 minutes, with no toppings on it. This just helps to make sure the dough gets done in the center, and you don’t bite into a piece with raw dough in it. Yuck. This is what the crust looks like after 5 minutes of baking.
Remove the dough from the oven and add your toppings.
First, add your sauce. You don’t need tons– just enough to cover the top. You should be able to see a little white through the red sauce. I usually buy the $1 jar of pizza sauce at Walmart, and I use half of it for 1 pizza, and I freeze the other half for next time. It works perfectly.
Next, add your cheese and whatever toppings you want. I also buy the 4 cup bag of cheese at Aldi for $3.99, and then I use half of it for 1 pizza and freeze the rest for next time. So I guess I use roughly 2 cups of mozzarella cheese on one pizza. But feel free to customize to your tastes. Just don’t make the cheese too terribly thick (or use frozen cheese– thaw it, first), or your dough may not get hot enough under all that frozen stuff to bake.
Bake for roughly 10-15 minutes, until cheese is golden.
This is exactly what golden cheese should look like. If you have other toppings, make sure they look toasty, too. I did cheese and pepperoni pizza, today, because that’s what I had on hand.
You can make a double batch of dough anytime you have free time. When you finish kneading the dough, just wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and freeze the whole ball in a freezer bag. When you’re ready for pizza, get it out of the freezer that morning and place (unwrapped) in your greased bowl. Cover with a towel. In 5-6 hours it will be ready to go (AKA, ready and waiting for you after you’ve had a long day and forgotten all about it). You can customize your crust endlessly with your favorite toppings. Exchange the red sauce for a white alfredo, and do shrimp instead of pepperoni. Have the kids help and make your own designer pizzas. That’s where the memories are made.
You did it. And I’m just so proud of you.
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