We are big fans of homemade pizza. As the weather has cooled off the last few weeks, it’s been making it’s way back onto our menu.
A few years ago, I went through a huge DIY phase… I was making all of our own bread, bagels, soups, and we even canned tomatoes, tomato sauce and salsa. I say “phase” because having L slowed this waaay down, but I still get a lot of satisfaction out of making some of our food from scratch.
Good friends of ours introduced the pizza peel concept to us many years ago, and as we were making pizza this weekend, I thought I should share it with you, too.
The benefits of using a peel in combination with a pizza stone is that you can get the stone really hot (500 degrees) and toss the pizza right in, similar to the way a pizza shop makes it. The entire pizza is done perfectly in 7 minutes, and delicious.
(Note: You can use prepared dough and sauce, but I’ll share our recipes.)
We start with the dough.
I make a whole wheat dough enough for three pizzas and freeze two for later, although we’re soon going to need to make two pizzas as one no longer leaves us with leftovers!
- 1/2 c. warm water
- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1 c. warm water
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
- 2 c. whole wheat pastry flour
Dissolve yeast in 1/2 c. warm water in a medium bowl and let it sit for ten minutes, until foamy. Add 1 more cup water, oil, salt and whole wheat flour. Gradually add the whole wheat pastry flour and knead it until smooth, adding flour as needed to reach the right texture (slightly sticky, but not too wet or too dry).
Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning to coat all sides, and cover with a towel and let it rise 40-60 minutes. Then punch it down and divide into 2-3 portions, rolling each into a ball. Cover again and let it rise 20 minutes.
I begin the sauce toward the end of the dough’s first rising.
- 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1-2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 onion, minced
- optional garlic clove or garlic powder
- 1 tsp each oregano, parsley and basil
- pinch of salt, pepper, sugar
Saute the onion a few minutes in the olive oil, until it begins to brown. Add tomatoes and remaining spices and simmer until sauce begins to thicken (20+ minutes).
As the sauce simmers, I chop and saute the veggies that will be pizza toppings.
This weekend, we used mushrooms, zucchini and onions.
Then it should be time to punch down the dough and shape it into three parts. Cover them and let rise again.
If you’re freezing one or two portions, pull them out now. Later, you can use the thawing time in the refrigerator or a few hours on the counter as the second rise.
The second dough rise is only 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees and place the pizza stone on a low rack for 20 minutes.
When the dough is ready, we roll it out on a clean, lightly floured counter.
This is where the pizza peel comes in. Sprinkle coarse cornmeal on the pizza peel to allow the dough to “roll” or shift around when you jiggle the peel.
Top the pizza with sauce, cheese and toppings as desired. We often spread a little olive oil around the crust as well.
Freeze leftover sauce with the leftover dough for easy assembly next time!
Find a cute helper to finish the job.
Jiggle the pizza peel again to make sure it will easily slide right onto the pizza stone. If it’s sticking in any spots, add a little more cornmeal underneath the dough.
When you’re ready, open the oven and slide the pizza carefully onto the stone.
Set the timer for 7 minutes and bake at 500 degrees. The pizza will be done between 7 and 8 minutes.
Do you make homemade pizza? Have you used a pizza peel?