Pizza has long been one of my favorite foods. I look forward to eating it at least once a week. When I was younger, I could eat pizza five days a week for lunch and not blink an eye. I probably could still eat it five days a week, but I’d have to blink both eyes now.
Growing up in Middle Village, everyone ate pizza at Carlo’s Pizzeria. When we go home, we all flock back to Carlo’s for a slice of the best pizza in New York. My family really couldn’t afford to order pizza often, but when we did what a delicious treat. I’m guessing my love affair with pizza can be traced back to those carefree days growing up in the best small town ever.
Flash forward many years and I still love pizza. I wouldn’t say I ever found a pizzeria that I love as much as my childhood one, but Staten Island has some darn good pizza. The thing is as I’ve continued on this journey, I’ve worried about the quality of the ingredients being used in these commercial pizza pies. We all know there are corners to be cut and money to be saved when running a business. I don’t want my health to be connected to anyones bottom line. I want to ensure that my pizza is made with the healthiest, freshest organic ingredients out there. The only way I know to do this is to make it myself.
I’ve been making homemade pizza for years now and I must say once you make the switch you may never go back to store bought. It’s really not a complicated process and knowing each ingredient used puts my mind at ease. It’s been a journey of trial and error to perfect the recipe. When I first started, I was buying the dough already made, but that sort of defeats the purpose of making homemade. And, please don’t use jar sauce on it either. If you are committing to your health and taking the time to make the pizza at home, please be selective about your ingredients, as well as toppings.
Here are a few options for the pizza crust, some healthier than others. If you are not gluten free, consider using my favorite crust.
- 1 teaspoon yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons oil
- Add all ingredients in order listed to your bread machine.
- Use Pizza Dough setting
- When finished let dough rest for at least 5 minutes before using
- Place on lightly greased pizza pan
- Add sauce, cheese, etc.
- Bake at 400 for 20 minutes (check readiness before removing from oven)
Here’s the directions if you do not have a bread machine, but I highly recommend getting one. You can also buy a dough attachment for your Kitchen Aid mixer. I have this as well, but prefer the bread machine as it takes the dough through the whole cycle including rising without me standing there. Here are the directions if you do not have either of those options,
- Dissolve yeast and sugar in water.
- Beat in ½ flour.
- Add salt, oil and rest of flour (add more if needed to make handle-able dough).
- Rise in lightly oiled bowl.
- Place on lightly greased pan.
- Add sauce, cheese, etc.
- Bake at 400 20 minutes.
Here are two options for dough making at home:
Mine is an older version, but I like that this one has a gluten free setting. I may have to upgrade!
Gluten Free Pizza Dough
I experimented with gluten free versions, but since I am not gluten intolerant and only eat pizza once a week I don’t often make it. Here’s the recipe I found the easiest to make and closest in taste to traditional pizza dough. Further, it’s one of the only ones that didn’t have an ingredient list a mile long and is pretty darn good.
- 1 cup white rice flour
- 1 cup brown rice flour
- 1 cup tapioca flour
- 3/4 tsp xanthan gum)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3 Tbsp sugar, divided
- 1 Tbsp yeast
- 1 1/4 cup warm water, divided
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- In a small bowl, combine yeast and 3/4 cup warm water. Too hot and it will kill the yeast! Let set for 5 minutes to activate.
- Sprinkle in 1 Tbsp of the sugar a few minutes in.
- In a separate bowl, combine flour blend, salt, baking powder and remaining 2 Tbsp sugar. Whisk until well combined.
- Make a well in the dry mixture and add the yeast mixture. Add the olive oil and additional 1/2 cup warm water before stirring. Then stir it all together until well combined, using a wooden spoon.
- Lightly coat a baking sheet or pizza stone with non-stick spray and plop your dough down. Using your hands and a little brown rice flour if it gets too sticky, work from the middle and push to spread/flatten the dough out to the edge. You want it to be pretty thin – less than 1/4 inch.
- Put the pizza in the oven to pre-bake for roughly 25-30 minutes, or until it begins to look dry. Cracks may appear, but that’s normal and totally OK.
- Remove from oven and spread generously with your favorite pizza sauce, cheese and desired toppings. Pop back in oven for another 20-25 minutes, or until the crust edge looks golden brown and the toppings are warm and bubbly.
- Cut immediately and serve.
Recipe Credit: Minimalist Baker.com
If I update my bread machine, perhaps I can revisit this recipe and use the machine for the dough.
I’m including the recipe here, but I’ve only tried it once. It was just OK for me, but my friends loved it. I am a traditional pizza girl at heart and if I’m eating it, I want the real deal.
2 pounds cauliflower florets, riced
1 egg, beaten
⅓ cup cheese for topping
1 teaspoon dried oregano
pinch of salt
- Preheat your oven to 400F.
- To make the cauliflower rice, pulse batches of raw cauliflower florets in a food processor, until a rice-like texture is achieved.
- Fill a large pot with about an inch of water, and bring it to a boil. Add the “rice” and cover; let it cook for about 4-5 minutes. Drain into a fine-mesh strainer.
- THIS IS THE SECRET: Once you’ve strained the rice, transfer it to a clean, thin dishtowel. Wrap up the steamed rice in the dishtowel, twist it up, then SQUEEZE all the excess moisture out! It’s amazing how much extra liquid will be released, which will leave you with a nice and dry pizza crust.
- In a large bowl, mix up your strained rice, beaten egg, goat cheese, and spices. (Don’t be afraid to use your hands! You want it very well mixed.) It won’t be like any pizza dough you’ve ever worked with, but don’t worry– it’ll hold together!
- Press the dough out onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. (It’s important that it’s lined with parchment paper, or it will stick.) Keep the dough about ⅓” thick, and make the edges a little higher for a “crust” effect, if you like.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes at 400F. The crust should be firm, and golden brown when finished.
- Now’s the time to add all your favorites– sauce, cheese, and any other toppings you like.
- Return the pizza to the 400F oven, and bake an additional 5-10 minutes, just until the cheese is hot and bubbly.
Slice and serve immediately!
A grain-free alternative to traditional pizza crust, that you can pick up with your hands!
This recipe and other easy recipes can be found in this book –
If you have a favorite homemade pizza recipe, please share it below. I’d absolutely love to try it!