Monday Meals - Homemade Pizza

We started a new favorite tradition last summer.

Homemade pizza on Sunday nights.

We didn’t know we were starting something, but it turned out fantastic and we love making our own home made crust, sauce and assembling each pizza as we like them. With a fun woodfire pizza oven that we keep outside, we can prep dinner start to finish in an hour or less. Flavor filled and delicious, I want you to have the crust recipe and sauce recipe to try yourselves. But you might wonder if you have to have your own pizza oven. Good news - You don’t! Cook inside no problem!

Classic Pizza Dough

Flour, salt, water and yeast – what do these simple ingredients have in common? They come together to create the perfect foundation for any good pizza!

Makes 5 x 12in (30cm) pizzas - equivalent to 5 x 5½oz (160g) dough balls
Makes 3 x 16in (40cm) pizzas - equivalent to 3 x 9½ oz (270g) dough balls

1¼ cups (300ml) cold water
2 tsp (10g) salt
¼oz (7g) fresh yeast (if unavailable, use ½ tsp (3g) active dried yeast or ⅓ tsp (2g) instant dried yeast)
4½ cups (500g) “00” flour, plus extra for dusting

Place two-thirds of the water in a large bowl. In a saucepan or microwave, bring the other third of water to boil, then add it to the cold water in the bowl. This creates the correct temperature for activating yeast. Whisk the salt and yeast into the warm water.

If mixing by hand:
Place the flour in a large bowl and pour the yeast mixture into it. Stir with a wooden spoon until a dough starts to form. Continue mixing by hand until the dough comes together in a ball. Turn it onto a lightly floured surface and knead with both hands for about 10 minutes, until it is firm and stretchy. Return the dough to the bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours.

If using a mixer:
Fit the mixer with the dough hook and place the flour in the mixer bowl. Turn the machine on at a low speed and gradually add the yeast mixture to the flour. Once combined, leave the dough to keep mixing to at the same speed for 5-10 minutes, or until the dough is firm and stretchy. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and leave to rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours.

When the dough has roughly doubled in size, divide it into 3 or 5 equal pieces, depending on what size you want your pizzas to be (either 12 inches or 16 inches wide). Place each piece of dough in a separate bowl or tray, cover with plastic wrap and leave to rise for another 20 minutes, or until doubled in size.

It’s also possible to cold-prove your dough, a technique that allows the yeast to work on the sugars in the flour for longer, thus helping the dough to develop a deeper flavor. To do this, use half the amount of yeast listed in the ingredients, and leave the dough to rise in the fridge for 24-72 hours – basically, until the day you need it. Divide the dough and cover it as described in the main recipe, then set aside (not in the fridge) for at least 5 hours, until it is up to room temperature.

Kneading and stretching the dough:
Our top tip is always to start with a perfectly rounded ball of dough as this helps to keep the shape of the pizza base circular during the stretching process. Place the ball on a lightly floured surface, flour your hands and use your fingertips to press the dough into a small, flat disc. Working from the center, push the dough outwards while spreading  your fingers, making the disc slightly bigger. Pick up the dough and gently pinch it all around the edge, allowing gravity to pull it downwards into a 12-inch (30cm) circle. Neapolitan-style pizza bases are very thin, so you should be able to see through the base when you hold it up to the light. Take care when doing this – you don’t want it to tear.

Once the dough is fully stretched, lightly flour your pizza peel and lay the base on it. If at this point you see any small holes in the dough, gently pinch them back together.

This recipe originally appeared here -

Pizza Sauce

Use 1 tsp. of olive oil to soften 3-4 garlic cloves chopped/minced. Be careful not to let them brown to much - keep your temperature low!

Add one can of stewed tomatoes - whole. Now the best part. Squeeze the tomatoes with your hands into the pan. Yep…squeeze them - I know - you can wash your hands when you are done so don’t worry too much!

Let this lumpy mixture simmer for awhile - 10 minutes or so.

Add chopped basil, salt and pepper to taste and 1 T honey.

Continue to let it simmer.

Taste and add seasonings or sweetness until you are satisfied.

Add your favorite toppings and bake your pizzas until the cheese is melted and crust is crisp.

ENJOY - let me know how it turns out for you!