Friday means one thing in our house, pizza!
It’s a tradition.
If you’ve ever watched Fiddler on the Roof then you know, don’t EVER mess with tradition!
Tradition can be changed-up, such as pizza rolls or pizza pockets, but Friday night always consists of some sort of dough, sauce, and cheese. Tradition!
Before real food, we ate a lot of pizza from a box or freezer section. Can that stuff really be called pizza? Special occasions called for our version of “homemade” pizza. A package of Pillsbury Dough or dough from the bakery of our grocery store.
After turning to real food and label reading, I realized pre-made pizza and dough just weren’t going to make the cut anymore. There is absolutely no reason real pizza should contain over 10, 20, 30 plus ingredients. Even the “fresh” pizza dough from my grocery store was filled with preservatives and dough stabilizers. Ingredients I didn’t want to feed my family.
What’s a tradition-loving girl to do?
Make my own.
My first few attempts were awful. That’s putting it nicely. My pizzas either turned out like a brick or sponge. I just couldn’t get pizza right.
One Friday it happened. The perfect pizza was made. Perfectly melted cheese. The sauce, just the right consistency and flavor. The crust, crispy and soft.
Today, I am going to share two recipes with you: perfect pizza dough and a delicious multipurpose red sauce.
Perfect Homemade Pizza (and Sauce)
- 28 oz diced tomatoes
- 6 oz tomato paste
- 1/2 onion chopped
- 1/2 cup fresh basil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup water warm
- 2 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 cups whole white wheat flour
- 2-3 TB extra virgin olive oil
- For the Sauce: Combine all the ingredients in a blender or food processor. Pulse on high until smooth. If you’re using this recipe for spaghetti, simmer the sauce on the stovetop for 30 minutes. No cooking is required if you’re using this recipe for pizza.
- For the Dough: In a large mixing bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water. After about 5 minutes, the yeast will begin to foam. Stir in the salt.
- Using the dough hook on your stand mixer (you can also mix the dough by hand), gradually add one cup of flour at at time. Mix the flour and yeast mixture together.
- Knead the dough with the bread hook or by hand until the dough is smooth and elastic, adding a tsp of water at a time, if needed. You may not need all 3 cups of flour.
- Coat the dough with olive oil (2 Tablespoons). Cover the bowl with a towel. Let the dough rest on the counter for 1 hour, until doubled in size.
- Place a baking stone in the oven and preheat the oven to 490F.
- While the oven is heating and stone is getting hot, roll out the dough on a well floured surface.
- Remove the baking stone from the oven and quickly place the dough on the hot stone. Top with sauce, cheese, and toppings.
- Bake for 15- 20 minutes, until the crust is golden and cheese bubbles. Makes 2 medium pizzas or 1 large.
Flour Note: I used einkorn flour in the updated photos (2015).
Einkorn is known as the oldest variety of wheat making it an “ancient” grain. The ancient grain is believed to have originated in the Tigris-Euphrates region and is possibly the main grain referenced in the earliest accounts of the Bible. To put it simply, einkorn is the wheat men were eating in the earliest days before modern-day wheat varieties. While modern wheat has undergone hybridization, einkorn still holds true to its original properties. Einkorn is slowly gaining popularity, but is still grown in only a few regions in Europe.
The sweet, ancient grain has a lighter texture and taste than modern-day wheat, and contains a more favorable gluten ratio. People with minor gluten sensitives may be able to consume einkorn without the issues associated with whole wheat due the lack of D-genome, however, einkorn is not gluten-free. Einkorn is packed with nutrition, containing high levels of protein along with the antioxidant beta-carotene lutein and minerals.
Einkorn looks and tastes similar to white flour, so it’s the perfect healthy flour to use when making pizza dough. Einkorn is sold in some health food stores and online.
Einkorn doesn’t like to be kneaded or overworked, so you’ll want to stop kneading einkorn pizza dough once the flour is combined into the dough. If you continue to knead the dough, it will “deconstruct” and turn into a mushy dough that’s impossible to handle.
The secret to making the perfect pizza and cooking instructions:
- Secret 1: You will need a baking stone. Despite my love for cooking and making everything in my kitchen, I hate spending money on new kitchen gadgets, so when I say “You need a baking stone to cook pizza,” I mean it. I actually have three. Pizza cooks perfectly on a baking stone. (My baking stone)
- Secret 2: Oven temperature. A temperature as close to 500º as possible. I have a natural gas oven and this means my oven gets extremely hot. I tend to set my oven around 490º. You want a really hot oven.
My son just said it was the best pizza he’s had his whole life (a whole 11 years). I’ve tried other pizza dough recipes and this one actually came out so good I wasn’t sure what to do with it at first. This is definitely my new go-t0 pizza dough recipe.
That’s so exciting, Abby! I’m so glad your son loved the pizza!!
First time making dough and it came out perfectly! We actually grilled the pizza on a stone on our Green Egg…perfection!
I don’t have whole white wheat flour since I have to order it. Can I use just regular flour until mine comes in? I am new to the real food world and how much would I use
Hey Calli, You can definitely use regular white flour instead. I would use the same measurements, since both flours are pretty interchangeable.
Hi Kristen! I made this dough last night and the kids and hubby loved it! I saw your directions for freezing a made pizza but is there a way to just freeze the dough? On pizza night I could roll it out but would love to not have to remember to start ahead enough time for rising. Thanks!
Hey Brandi, I’m so glad everyone loved the dough! Yep, you can make the dough, stick it in the freezer (in a freezer bag), and then let it defrost on the counter or in the fridge. The dough should expand as it defrosts. Just punch it down, and roll it out :).
Oh my gracious! Thank you so much! I had no idea you could do that. The mess that is left on the stone is why I often (very often) avoid making pizza. Thank you so much for the delicious recipe and awesome tip!!!!!!!
Yay, I’m glad the parchment tip helps :). Yep, the cleanup is so much easier with the parchment paper.
I noticed that you rolled the pizza dough out on parchment. I also notice the cooked pizza on parchment. First, great idea to roll out on parchment as that could really cut down on clean up. Do you place the parchment with the uncooked pizza on your stone and put it in the oven, or is that just for the photograph? Great recipes! Thanks!
Hey Barb, Thank you :). Yes, I place the parchment with the uncooked pizza on my hot stone. This isn’t necessary, but I’ve found that it really helps with cleanup, and the pizza is easier to transfer to the oven and the hot stone.
Hi Kristin! , this pizza was a hit !…i made it for the first time for a dairy supper (they never liked the other whole wheat recipes i tried) along side a spinach quiche with yogurt & cucumber dip,my kids LOVED it!!….and I’ll share something else with you. My oldest of 4 told me tonight “ma I’m starting to get used to healthy lifestyle this is the same kid that a few months ago refused the whole food challenge. I’m forever grateful to having found this blog , and being so inspired by you and the changes you made for your family.
Thank you so much for sharing, Hela!! That’s awesome. I’m excited for you and your family!
I attempted pizza again last weekend using your tips and it turned out perfectly!! Thank you so much!!
Awesome, Shelley!! I’m so happy to hear that. Thank you for sharing!
I attempted this pizza dough last week. It was my first attempt at making dough ever. It turned out spongy. I didn’t pay attention to the fact that I might not need to use the entire amount of flour so I’m wondering if maybe I used too much? Then I also added in a couple tablespoons of extra water because the dough seemed dry to me. Im guessing maybe too much water. I really don’t know anything about dough so I’m not sure. I want to try it again but I wondered if you had any basic pointers that may be helpful.
Even though it was spongy it didn’t totally suck haha we ate it! So I know if I can get it right it will be really great! 🙂
Hey Shelley, Congrats on your first dough!! Pizza dough takes a bit of practice. It’s really all about the texture and appearance. While you’re making the dough, start with a couple of cups of flour, then add the last couple a little bit at a time until the dough appears elastic in texture (but not too sticky). Over-kneading can also cause some wheat flours to become spongy. So, just knead until all the ingredients are incorporated. Pizza dough gets easier and easier each time you make it :).
Can you tell me a little about thawing the dough from frozen? Time?
I also read that you par-bake pizza’s then freeze and bake from frozen. Do you thaw the par-baked at all or straight to the oven? Same temp etc?
I have a heart condition that puts me out of commission at times but my hubby could certainly top with sauce and cheese and bake!
I make both frozen raw and par-baked pizzas, depending on the amount of time available.
For a par-bake pizza, simply bake the pizza crust for about 5 minutes, then allow to cool and top with sauce, cheese, and any toppings. You can freeze par-baked pizza (wrapped) until needed. When you’re ready to make the pizza, preheat the oven to 500F (or as close as it will go) and bake it frozen until the cheese is melted and crust is golden.
For a raw frozen pizza, simply prepare the pizza as you would for the oven, but instead of baking, freeze the pizza on a pizza sheet. Once frozen, wrap the pizza in plastic and/or foil. When you’re ready to make the pizza, preheat the oven to 500F (or as close as it will go) and bake it frozen until the cheese is melted and crust is golden. This method works very well for “personal-size” pizzas.
I love that you’re thinking ahead–what a great idea for your hubby!
hey Kristin! I have to tell you this is our favorite pizza dough! and we love the sauce for the pizza and spaghetti…thank you! thank you! thank you! I was wondering if you think I can freeze the pizza dough? maybe before the rising with the oil…
Hi Sabrina, So happy to hear that! Yay!! This dough freezes perfectly. I would put a little oil on the dough, let it rise, punch down, and then freeze. I actually do this a lot, along with the sauce, when I know we are going to have a busy Friday.
Hi. I was wondering how much sauce does this make? How many pizza’s would you be able to sauce with it? Thanks!!!
Hi Nichole, this makes about 3 cups of sauce. I can usually stretch the sauce out for 3 whole pizzas. If you don’t need it all at once, it freezes wonderfully!
Why does the olive oil get applied to the outside of the pizza dough ball, and not mixed into it? Just curious.
Hi Kim, The olive oil poured over the rising dough is the secret trick to keeping the dough moist and producing a crispy crust once placed on the hot stone.
I noticed some of your recipes use white whole wheat flour. Is that bleached flour? Can you substitute with unbleached or sprouted wheat?
Hi Karyn, I do on special occasion use white flour. I use unbleached organic.
Here’s a great post on why I use white flour at times: http://butterbeliever.com/is-white-flour-really-that-bad/
I think that white whole wheat flour is referring to something different though than white flour. I grind my own wheat and I use white wheat vs. red wheat. The white wheat has a milder flavor and comes in both hard (for yeast breads) and soft (for a pastry flour).
I don’t have tomato paste, is there a substitute I can do?
Tomato paste gives the sauce that thick pizza sauce consistency. You can try making it without the paste, but it will probably be more of a marinara sauce.
I made this sauce and it turned out very “oniony.” I followed the recipe exactly too…what do you think may have happened? Have you ever experienced a strong onion flavor with this recipe? Thanks!
I make it weekly and haven’t had an “oniony” taste yet. Maybe try a bit less onion. I use a medium size onion. The size of your onion could affect how big “1/2 an onion” is and could affect the taste of the sauce.
Okay, I will try that. Thank you.
Woo-hoo! Thanks for this sauce recipe! I made this last week and my family loved it. I usually use Prego meat flavored sauce (I know, I know), but Luke never likes it and the one time before that I actually made sauce from a recipe, Luke liked it, but nobody else did. This one was a hit with everyone and I was so excited that I had all the ingredients on hand. This is my new go to recipe. No more yucky soy bean oil in my pizza/spaghetti sauce! Yeah! Next I might be brave enough to try your pizza dough recipe. So far the whole wheat recipes have been a no-go with everyone around here.
That’s awesome! So happy to hear! I really have tried so many ways to make spaghetti and pizza sauce but nothing comes close to how easy and tasty this sauce is! Thank you for sharing!!
I made the sauce, and it was delish! Thanks for all your hard work sharing recipes. I was in a bit of a rut making the same things and looking for new ideas. So thankful to get your blogs and some new ideas!
So glad you like the sauce! It’s a favorite in this house and so easy to make! So glad to help with some new ideas.