The Secret to Incredibly Easy Homemade Pizza

Making this homemade Pizza Margherita is simple and gratifying. The pizza dough requires no kneading, and you can use it over the course of two weeks.

| February/March 2012

What’s the secret to easy homemade pizza from scratch? Make a big batch of dough to store in the fridge for a couple of weeks, pull off a chunk whenever you need it, roll it out, and bake for 10 minutes or less. There’s no resting or rising time required, and your active participation will be less than five minutes. The best part? Your stored dough will develop tasty sourdough flavors as it ages in the refrigerator, making each pizza better than the one before it.

Classic Pizza Margherita Recipe

Thin-crust Pizza Napoletana (Neapolitan-style pizza) is our touchstone for great pizza. The standard version — with mozzarella, tomato and basil — is known in Italy as Pizza Margherita, after Italy’s Queen Margherita, for whom this patriotic pie topped with the three colors of the Italian flag was developed in 1889. It’s crispy, thin and delicious.

The crispest crusts are those baked right on a hot baking stone, having been transferred there from a pizza peel (see Pizza-Making Supplies: Build Your Arsenal for our recommended pizza products). The trick to getting the pizza to slide right off the peel and onto the stone is to minimize the time the dough spends sitting on the peel. That calls for one crucial step: Have all of your toppings prepared in advance. You can also bake pizza on a sheet of parchment or a cookie sheet. The following easy homemade pizza recipe makes enough dough for at least 8 pizzas about 12 inches across. It freezes well, and is easily doubled or halved.

3 1/2 cups lukewarm water*
1 tbsp granulated yeast
1 to 1 1/2 tbsp kosher salt
7 1/2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1/3 cup tomato topping (Use sliced, garden-fresh tomatoes, Italian-style plum tomatoes straight from the can, or prepared tomato sauce, with or without seasonings.)
Fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch chunks or slices
6 fresh basil leaves, whole, thinly slivered or torn
Olive oil for drizzling over pizza
Flour, cornmeal or parchment for pizza peel

* Substitute 1/3 cup of olive oil for 1/3 cup of water for a marvelously flavorful, slightly richer dough.

Mixing and Storing the Dough

1. Warm the Water Slightly. It should feel just a bit warmer than body temperature, about 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Using warm water will allow the dough to rise to the right point for storage in about 2 hours. You can use cold tap water and get a great final result, but the initial rise will take longer. (Some people prefer the flavor of slow-risen dough.)

7/11/2014 1:23:11 AM

Whenever I went for a shopping, I will buy a family pizza only for me. Because I love pizza very much. Thank you for the instruction to make pizza in my home. Now I can make my own pizza in my style.

Lisa Wilmoth
3/23/2012 3:46:37 PM

For Rosie Who-----Have you tried Bob's Red Mill Pizza dough. My daughter and I thinks it's really good but of course nothing will ever compare to the gluten you are missing. I am surprised this recipe does not call for high gluten flour as pizza dough usually does. They are using a method of sour dough similar to the friendship bread recipe that has been circulating for years that uses all-purpose flour and little or no sugar. Without the gluten this could be difficult to stretch out. I make my own pizza using our local grocer's fresh dough but I mean to try to make my own dough and will use high gluten flour for a portion of the flour that is called for. I do use a pizza stone that I preheat to 400-450 degrees while putting the pizza together. I grow my own herbs and tomatoes and enjoy using sweet Vidalia onions and fresh sweet or bell peppers and baby portobella mushrooms for toppings. Note: you can saute your onions and mushrooms for a few minutes first to sweat out extra moisture before topping the pie. Otherwise you end up with a lot of extra water on top of the pie. Also, after I bake the pie in the really hot oven until done, I shut off oven and take out pie. Let it set for a few minutes and then pop the pie still on the pizza stone back into the oven and close the door. Wait a few minutes. Take out and enjoy a really crisp crust that does not get further browned or burned. I have experimented a lot and fine this works for me with my convection oven. Just keep cooking!!

3/23/2012 2:00:36 PM

Now that we have a basic pizza dough, it would be great if the authors would try to do this with GF supplies. It is SO difficult to find a decent pizza that is gluten free - I really miss it. And yes, I have tried most of the other versions of GF pizza out there - not up to par at all.

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