My kids asked me what my pizza recipe was. I didn’t know, because I just throw stuff together. So, the last time I made it, I wrote down what I did. This is what came out.
Makes three medium-large pizzas.
2 cups warm water
2 tsps yeast
1 TB sugar
5 1/4 cups bread flour. (If you don’t have bread flour, use 4 cups of unbleached all-purpose flour. However, the crust comes out WAY better if you use bread flour– you can stretch the dough over the surface of the pizza pan without it ripping, and it’s stronger and thicker for holding the toppings.)
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup olive oil (plus about a TB more for oiling the bowl)
29 oz can tomato sauce
6 oz can tomato paste
1 TB dried oregano
1 TB dried basil
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp black pepper
½ tsp salt
½ tsp garlic powder
24 oz mozzarella or colby jack cheese (8 ounces per pizza).
6 oz pepperoni slices (or whatever other toppings you like)
To make the crust:
In a large mixing bowl, pour 2 cups warm water.
Sprinkle 2 tsps yeast over the water, then sprinkle 1 TB sugar over the yeast.
Let sit until proofed (about 10 minutes).
Add 5 1/4 cups bread flour (OR 4 cups all-purpose flour, if you don’t have bread flour), 1 tsp salt, and 1/4 cup olive oil. Stir until it comes together as a sticky ball of dough. Turn it out on a floured surface and knead until fairly smooth.
Coat the inside of the mixing bowl with olive oil. Put the dough in, and turn it to cover it with oil. Put a towel over the top of the bowl, and let rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes, or until doubled in size. (If you have time, punch down the dough, turn it to coat it in oil again, and then let it rise once more.)
Grease the three pizza pans. Divide the dough into thirds. Splat each dough onto the middle of each pizza pan, and gently press the dough out to the edges, being extremely careful not to rip the dough. Let rise for 15 minutes.
While it’s rising, space the three oven racks so they’re even spaced from each other and the upper and lower heating elements. Preheat the oven to 425 ̊ F.
In a medium mixing bowl, stir all sauce ingredients. Set aside, letting the spices blend.
Grate the cheese.
When the dough has risen, gently spoon 1/3 of the sauce over one of the pans of pizza dough. Use the back of the spoon to smooth it. Sprinkle 1/3 of the grated cheese over the sauce. Place 1/3 of the pepperoni slices over the cheese. Put it in the oven, setting the timer for 20 minutes.
Then get to work on assembling the next pizza. Once it’s ready, put it on the bottom rack of the oven, setting the timer for 20 minutes.
Then get to work on assembling the last pizza. Once it’s ready, put the first pizza on the top rack of the oven, the second pizza on the middle rack of the oven, and the last pizza on the bottom rack of the oven. Set another timer for 20 minutes.
When the first pizza is done (the crust is golden brown, the cheese is bubbly and toasted, the pepperoni is sizzling), take it out, and you can go ahead and start serving it.
When you take out the second pizza, move the third pizza to the middle rack to finish its bake.
Any pizza that you won’t serve immediately should be allowed to sit on the pan for a couple of minutes, but then you should slide it off the pan onto a cooling rack so the bottom crust doesn’t get soggy.
If you’re storing extra pizza, let it cool completely on a cooling rack before wrapping it up and putting it in the refrigerator.