I’ve made friday’s my unofficial pizza days the last couple months.  I make a batch of pizza  dough, freeze half, and then roll out the other half to be my new traditional friday night dinner.

The dough is pretty easy, I make it in the bread machine with the following recipe.

  • 1 1/3 cups water
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons SAF yeast or 2 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast

In my bread machine it takes about 1.5 hours to cook/rise.  Then that batch as I described will get me 2-3 pizzas depending on how large I want them.  I just freeze what ever is left over for the following week.   This dough also makes a good Stromboli or Calzone dough as well.

I’ve always read that you want to warm your pizza stone up for about an hour before you want to eat.  Others say 30 minutes, I’ve done both, and both seemed fine.  Also, some say to warm it up at 500 degrees, and then turn it back to about 425 when you actually cook.   I just leave mine at 500 degrees during the cook.  I find it cuts the cooking time in half, and the crust comes out a better texture.

So while the oven is finishing warming up, the next part is the rolling out the dough.  I find this to always be pretty tricky.  I always shoot for a circle, and wind up with a polygon of some sort.   In terms of thickness, you can make it as thick or thin as you want, its all just preference.  I tend to mix it up week to week, but this week I was going for a thin crust.

I decided I also wanted some sausage on it this week.


Now that the dough is rolled, and the sausage is cooked I’m about to start assembling the pizza.  This is another tricky part of the process, because you need to do it on the pizza peel so you can transfer it onto the already hot stone in the oven.   So you need to thoroughly prep the pizza peel so that your pizza dough doesn’t stick to it.  I’ve tried flour and Corn meal thus far, and out of the two corn meal seems to work the best.  I’ve seen on TV a restaurant use PAM, but I haven’t tried that myself yet.

Next up is the sauce and cheese.  I’m not typically to picky with my sauce, I’ll use spaghetti sauce if we have a jar open.   If a jar isn’t open already, I use a small can of plane ole’ tomato sauce, and then season it myself with oregano, rosemary, basil, garlic, salt and pepper.  This week I then tossed my sausage on top of the sauce and covered it with mozzarella cheese until it looks good.   If you have it available I highly recommend you finish the topping off with some fresh shredded Parmesan cheese.  It really adds a dimension of flavor to the pizza.  Lastly,  I take some olive oil and spread it around the outer edge of the crust just to give it some extra flavor and a golden color when it cooks.

I put it on the pizza stone, for about 5-6 minutes if I’m using a thin crust, and about 8 minutes or so if I’m doing a thicker crust.   Hopefully your prep on the pizza peel has worked out and the pizza slides right off.  But if you’re having a hard time sliding the pizza off the peel and on to the stone don’t worry.   A trick I’ve found to counter this is to leave the pizza on the peel, and keep the peel in the oven ontop of the stone for 2 minutes or so until the dough firms up a bit.  Then you should be able to slide it off the peel and on the stone.

Check the pizza after 5-6 minutes, if it looks golden around the top of the crust then it should be done.   Let it cool for a few minutes, and then dig in!

As you can see in the photo below, my pizza shaping really leaves something to be desired.  In this particular case I made the pizza to large, and it overhung the pizza stone which made it further misshapen.  But fortunately it still tasted great.  I’m really getting the hang of the taste, and the length of cooking.   Now I just need to work on the shape.



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