Pizza! Just mention the word and suddenly, dinner is a party and everyone is excited! A quick phone call to the favorite local pizza parlor and within half an hour a steaming hot pizza, loaded with your favorite toppings and dripping with melted cheese is on your doorstep and ready to be enjoyed by young and old. It’s a dream dinner for busy moms on a hectic night — no cooking, very little cleanup and everyone loves it. However, that delicious convenience comes at a premium price that is more and more difficult to afford in our failing economy. The solution? Make your own mouthwatering pizzas at home!
The problem with homemade pizza is that we haven’t been particularly successful in achieving the flavors and crust texture that we love so much in the pizzas from the pizza parlor. Oh, we’ve made many attempts and some were better than others, but in the end we resigned ourselves to saving for an occasional treat from our favorite pizza place, rather than enjoying pizza as often as we might have liked. That was until I discovered that one of my favorite places to shop for baking supplies, King Arthur Flour, has created Perfect Pizza Blend. I quickly contacted them for an opportunity to test some of their excellent tools and products for making delicious homemade pizza. How delighted I was to find they would not only agree to allow me to test and review the products, but sponsor an unbelievably generous giveaway for all of you! I received four products to test.
Perfect Pizza Blend is a combination of unbleached all-purpose flour, durum wheat flour, inactive yeast and a touch of baking powder. Whether you have time to let the dough rise, or you’re in a hurry and want to get the pizza in the oven right away, you can expect to achieve a good rise on your crust. The flour is perfect whether making thin and crispy or thick and chewy crusts. The other bonus, for me, was that the dough was easy to roll, instead of fighting me with each attempt to stretch it. And in case having the perfect texture isn’t enough, King Arthur helps to develop that familiar pizza parlor flavor in homemade pizza crust, using their Pizza Dough Flavor. Just opening the bag, the aroma convinced me that it was the extra touch that our pizza crusts had been missing. After tasting the pizza, I can’t imagine not putting it in every batch of pizza dough! A round stoneware pizza pan and Pizza Seasoning were also included in the package of products to test. The stone baked the crust evenly, golden brown, and could accommodate a large 15″ pizza. It’s made from lead-free stoneware and is naturally stick-resistant. It’s safe in the microwave, freezer, oven and dishwasher. I loved it for baking our homemade pizzas to perfection. The Pizza Seasoning is a blend of onion, garlic, herbs, spices and salt. The intense flavor puts my regular Italian Seasoning to shame. The whole family absolutely loved the flavor it added to homemade pizza sauce.
The recipe I used, below, is the first of many homemade pizzas we will make at home, now that we have found such excellent tools for creating them. I’m also excited to announce that I will be spending two days in Vermont, in early June, visiting the King Arthur Flour Baking and Education Center. One of several exciting educational experiences I will have there is learning pizza-making techniques and then baking them in a brick-fired oven! I can’t wait to share all that I learn there, with all of you! In the meantime, here is how we made our first yummy, pizza-parlor-style pizza, right here at home and a chance for a Busy-at-Home reader to do the same. (P.S. Remember to enter the fantastic giveaway for the four King Arthur products I tested in my own kitchen!)
- 1½ cups warm water
- 1 Tablespoon honey
- 1 Tablespoon yeast
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil (for dough)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil (for brushing crust)
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 4 - 5 cups King Arthur Perfect Pizza Flour Blend (or all purpose flour)
- 1 Tablespoon Pizza Dough Flavor
- Dissolve the yeast and honey in warm water. Set aside.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer*, add the oil, salt, 3 cups of the pizza flour, and the pizza dough flavor.
- Mix in the dissolved yeast mixture.
- Continue adding pizza flour, about ¼ cup at a time, until the dough forms a single clump and is pulling cleanly away from the sides of your mixing bowl. (With the rain and humidity we have been experiencing, I used the full 5 cups in this batch.) The dough will be somewhat tacky, but not sticky.
- Knead on medium speed for 5 minutes.
- Place the kneaded dough into a large greased bowl to rise. (If you're in a hurry, you could roll this out and use it right away, but the best flavor will develop, leaving it to rise for about an hour.)
- Sprinkle a small amount of cornmeal onto the surface where you will roll the dough.
- Divide the risen dough in half and roll each half to your desired thickness for each crust. (We made two 15", thin-crust pizzas and had dough left over.)
- After rolling it to the desired size, I gently folded the dough in half and then in half again, to make it easy to transfer to the pizza stone.
- Place the rolled dough onto a pizza stone that has been lightly dusted with cornmeal.
- Brush the crust lightly with olive oil and poke it with a fork to prevent it from forming large bubbles as it bakes.
- Bake the crust at 425 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes. (I learned, through our testing, that 6 minutes was better, even though it wasn't golden brown, yet. This allowed the crust to brown, nicely, without over-browning after the toppings were added.)
- Remove the partially baked crust from the oven and add your favorite pizza toppings and mozzarella cheese. Bake an additional 8-12 minutes, depending on the thickness of your crust.
Steps to Making Delicious Pizza Crust and Homemade Pizza
- Dissolve the yeast and oil in warm water.
- Place 3 cups of the pizza flour, salt, pizza flavor, olive oil and the dissolved yeast mixture in the bowl of your stand mixer.
- Mix the ingredients, adding more pizza blend flour, 1/4 cup at a time until the dough forms a single mass and pulls, cleanly, from the sides of your bowl.
- Knead the dough on medium speed for 5 minutes. Place it in a greased bowl to rise while you chop vegetables and prepare any other toppings you need for your pizza. (You can definitely roll this dough out, right away, and the results will still be great with excellent texture and a good rise, however you can deepen the flavor, by allowing it to rise about 1 hour.)
- Sprinkle your counter top with a thin dusting of cornmeal. Divide your pizza dough in half and roll out each half to the size you want for your pizza. Lightly dust your pizza stone with cornmeal and transfer the crust to the stone.
- Brush the crust with olive oil and then prick it with a fork to keep it from forming large bubbles in the oven.
- Pre-bake the crust for about 6 minutes in a 425 degree oven. Pre-baking will help keep your crust from getting soggy as you bake the toppings. (This is also the point where I would cool, wrap and freeze the crusts for use in the future. Remove from the freezer, thaw fifteen to twenty minutes, and add your favorite toppings, baking as usual.)
- I mixed one can of tomato sauce with 2 Tablespoons of King Arthur’s fabulous Pizza Seasoning to make the sauce we used.
- Spread sauce over your pre-baked crust.
- Add your family’s favorite toppings to the pizza.
- Cover your toppings with your favorite grated cheese.
- Bake an additional 8-12 minutes in the same 425 degree oven, until the crust is done and your cheese is melted, browning and bubbly. Yum!
King Arthur Flour never disappoints when I’m trying something new in my kitchen. I love working with their products and even though it’s a large company, I never feel “invisible” to them. If I have questions or comments, I know I could speak to someone there who would take me seriously. They provide high-quality products and extraordinary customer service. I’ve purchased items directly from their website, as well as in my local grocery stores. I’m a die-hard fan and I hope you’ll have the confidence to pick up King Arthur products wherever you find them. You’ll be glad you did!
You must be 18 or older and a resident of the U.S. to enter. Mandatory Entry must be completed before any optional entries will count. Winner will be selected in a random drawing using random.org. Deadline to enter is midnight, (CST), Sunday, June 5, 2011.
In a comment below, tell me what your family’s favorite pizza toppings are.
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- Tweet this giveaway (maximum of 1x per day, please). Win a Pizza Party Gift Set w/baking stone, pizza flour & more. Make perfect pizza at home! @KingArthurFlour @busyathome http://ow.ly/4VZIv Leave a comment below with a link to your tweet.
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I received a pizza stone, Perfect Pizza Flour Blend, Pizza Dough Flavor, and Pizza Seasoning from King Arthur Flour, in order to conduct this test and complete my review. No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required. As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own.