A week before I came up to Alexandria with my son to visit my friend Erica, her husband Justin, and their daughter Dylan, Erica posted a photo of a homemade pizza on her Instagram. I sent her a message and asked if we could make pizza’s when I visited. She is the best friend ever and granted my wish. I’ve never made pizza from scratch because it always seemed so daunting, but it wasn’t. It turned out to be extremely simple and also affordable if you need a quick budget-friendly meal to add to your weekly dinner plan.
Justin had previously declared himself a pizza connoisseur. Apparently since he worked at Papa Murphy’s before joining the Army he became the knower of all things pizza, so I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to have him show me his talents. I was a bit disappointed when he didn’t toss the homemade dough in the air to make his crust which made me quickly question his pizza greatness.
Erica started with 3.5 cups of flour in a bowl and added some Italian seasoning to give the dough some flavor, but that is completely optional. If you wish to stick with straight flour, you do you! In a separate bowl, mix 8oz of warm water with one packet of fast-acting yeast. Add in 1/3 cup of olive oil and stir.
Combine the flour mixture and water mixture together and knead until fully mixed. I watched Erica make the dough because I have this weird thing about using my hands to mix soft squishy things together such as cheese balls, ground beef and apparently, pizza dough.
Once it is well mixed, remove the dough and spread a thin coat of olive oil around the inside of the bowl and compress the dough down. The olive oil will help to keep the dough from drying out as it rises. Once the dough is pressed out, peel it back, flip it over and cover the bowl with a towel. Place the bowl on a warm surface, such as a preheated oven or the top of your refrigerator. Let the dough rise for about 30 minutes. You’ll know it is complete once it has doubled in size.
From here it’s all about creativity and personalization! Break off a section of dough; size depends on how big of a pizza you want to make. We made personal sizes so we only broke off about a fist full of dough.
Set the dough on a non-stick cookie sheet and roll it out with a rolling pin. If you are a professional such as Justin, you can pat out the dough in a circular motion and then braid the crust to give you professional style crust. I chose the rolling pin option but maybe I’ll try the crust braiding on my next go-round.
Add whatever toppings you desire! I went for red sauce (Prego Roasted Garlic and Herb), mozzarella cheese, pepperoni, Italian sausage (that had been fully cooked on the stove) and green bell peppers. Pop it in the oven on a baking sheet at 425* for about 14-18 minutes, depending on how thick your crust is and how crispy you want it.
For my first time making a homemade pizza, I’d say my crust came out perfectly. I love the diversity you have with homemade pizza night because you can honestly put anything you want on your pizza. It would be great for a dinner party because you have the ability to buy a ton of different toppings so every person can build whatever pizza they’re craving. Cut and enjoy with a glass of wine or beer 🙂
Note: fast-acting yeast packets can be found at almost any grocery store in the baking aisle.