When I was young, my family ate out most Friday nights. One of my favorite outings was going to Pizza Hut for their pan pizza. I loved the crunch on the bottom and sides of the crust with the thick doughy center under delicious layers of sauce and gooey cheese.
Now that I am all grown up, I have a different set of values. I’m trying to be more like my great grandmother, cooking from scratch, using whole ingredients, and avoiding heavily processed foods. That all but eliminates things like take-out pizza. Then, I found this amazing recipe from Six Sisters’ Stuff that claimed to replicate the crunchy, chewy goodness at home. I couldn’t resist trying it out.
(I’ve recently started cooking by weight because it’s more accurate, so I’ve included the weights in parentheses.)
1 package dry yeast
1 Tbsp (0.44 oz) sugar
1/2 tsp (0.1 oz) salt
1/4 C (0.75 oz) non-fat dry milk
1 1/3 C warm water (105 degrees F)
4 C (17 oz) all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp canola oil (for dough)
9 Tbsp canola oil (for pans)
Put yeast, sugar, salt, and dry milk in a large bowl. Add water and stir to mix well. Allow to sit for two minutes. Add oil and stir again. Add flour and stir until dough forms and flour is absorbed.
Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes. Divide dough into three balls**. In three 9″ cake pans, put 3 Tbl. of oil in each making sure it is spread evenly. Using a rolling pin, roll out each dough ball to about a 9″ circle. Place in cake pans.
Spray the outer edge of dough with cooking spray. Cover with a plate. Place in warm area and allow to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Refrigerating the dough for 1 hour after it finishes rising helps to prevent sinking when the toppings are added.
(**In my household, three 9″ pizzas would be way too much, so I rolled out two crusts and let the third ball rise before freezing it.)
Six Sisters’ Stuff recommends the following sauce (simply combining all of the ingredients), but I have an obsession with Classico Marinara with Plum Tomatoes, so I simply processed that in the blender until it was uniformly smooth and used that in place of the Six Sisters’ sauce.
1 can (8 ounce size) tomato sauce
1 teaspoon dry oregano
1/2 teaspoon marjoram
1/2 teaspoon dry basil
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
Mozzarella cheese (or an Italian blend), shredded (1 1/2-2 C)
Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.
Spoon 1/3 C of sauce on the dough and spread to within 1″ of edge. Distribute 1/4 C of shredded mozzarella cheese on top of the sauce. Place toppings of your choice in the following order: pepperoni or ham, vegetables, meats (cooked ground sausage or beef). Top with 1/2 C of mozzarella cheese. Cook until cheese is bubbling and outer crust is brown (between 10-15 minutes).
This pizza turned out wonderfully and brought me back to my childhood. My roommate, Jon, is the consummate take-out pizza aficionado, and he raved about what a perfect duplication it was. Even my significant other loved it, and he’s usually skeptical about homemade versions of popular foods. I would call this experiment a success!