It’s well established that I love the Everyday Food magazine. I recently picked up the first of the Everyday Food cookbooks at the liquidation sale at Borders. The second cookbook has been in my collection for quite a while now and I find that I pull it out over and over again because of the pizza dough recipe.

We use pizza dough to make homemade pizzas of course but also make calzones and something the kids call pizza balls.  The photo above is our pizza flowers that we made using silicon flower cupcake molds. A pizza ball is a small piece of dough rolled out and then pushed into a muffin tin, filled with tomato sauce and cheese and then the dough is folded over before baking. They have become a favorite item to pack for school lunches the next day.

When you are planning to make homemade pizza dough it’s best to plan ahead as it takes about an hour for the dough to rise. It also works well to make it a day ahead and then store it in the fridge until you are ready to use it. Bring to room temperature before rolling out.

Basic Pizza Dough

(from Everyday Food Fresh Flavor Fast)

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 2 packets (4 1/2 tsp) active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp course salt
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting (substitute up to 2 cups of flour for whole wheat to make whole wheat dough)

Place the warm water in a large bowl; sprinkle with yeast. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Whisk sugar, oil, and salt into yeast mixture, then stir in flour with a wooden spoon until a sticky dough forms.

Remove dough briefly from bowl, brush the inside of the bowl with oil and place the dough back into the bowl turning to coat with oil. Cover bowl with plastic wrap; let stand in a warm spot (I always place on top of the fridge) until dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.

Turn out dough onto a well-floured surface. With floured hands, knead until smooth, about 15 seconds; divide into two equal balls. To freeze dough, set balls on a plate (they should not touch); freeze until firm, about 1 hour. Then freeze in a labeled resealable plastic bag up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge.

My son loves to help make pizza dough. One of the most jaw-dropping moments since I started this blog occurred while we were making homemade pizza. I was washing mushrooms to slice for toppings (the kids usually just have cheese pizza) when my son walks over and casually picks up a mushroom and says “I want this mushroom on my pizza.” It was unbelievable but he ate the pizza with mushrooms and even liked it.

I love to make pizza at home because you can customize with any type of toppings. Husband loves pepperoni but I used zucchini slices instead. He joked that my pepperoni looked off. Our whole family rates this recipe  5 stars.