Monday, April 11, 2011

Perfect pizza crust

We are pinching our pennies. Tucking our money into savings. We are practicing the art of being tightwads.

Frugality is one of J.'s key principals and probably why he is so successful, I love the concept but seem to have a way of being rather impulsive. Total opposites.

J is still towing the line, I am searching for the elusive source of income, we are dreaming of adventurous places to call home in the coming year. It is exciting, the world is our oyster.  We want to be in a town that offers great outdoor adventures within a stone's throw, a vibrant community, sunny days out number grey skies and ample work to fund our passions.

We have been brainstorming and love the idea of Colorado and Utah. Hello mountains, rivers, trails, uber athletes, sunny skies, desert, skiing and new people. Hello change, lets be friends.

Moving takes coin, lots of it so we are tightening our fiscal belts.

I can spend a lot of money on going out to eat. I find comfort and excitement in trying new restaurants and exploring new dishes. In our sprawling desert town, the dining choices are putrid. Dining out is a total waste of time unless endless amounts of Mexican food is what you crave.  We always are game for tacos and naturally we can hit a taco truck or our favorite grill in Pasco and not break the bank or even bat an eye. Anything cuisine besides Mexican food in the Tri Cities is better spent sucking on coins or sticking to a liquid diet of wine, the wine is worldly but so is the price tag.

I am trying harder than ever to create meals at home that make me want to stay at home. Pizza is inexpensive to put together, we always in some form or another have toppings in the house and the biggest bonus, we both adore a few slices.

I have been on a soup kick, enjoying a roasted garlic and onion soup. Then pizza, I can never get sick of pizza, home made pizza that is. A little cheese, a few thinly sliced vegetables, a simple sauce smeared over a home made dough and we are off to the races.

Soup and scratch pizza are total tightwad meals that are easily adaptable to whatever is at hand and rarely relies on meat as a staple.

I enjoy a home cooked meal and I stay in the house squirrelling away hard earned coin for looming bike trips, climbing adventures and fun toys.

This my friends is a fancy inexpensive meal that uses up the goodies in the fridge.

Frugal can be fancy!

Homemade Pizza Recipe

Source, Simply Recipes

Simple directions for a perfect crust, really we have gone through a lot of flour to find this gem. Use Your imagination for the sauce (or lack there of) and toppings.


Pizza Dough: Makes enough dough for two 10-12 inch pizzas
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (105°F-115°F)
  • 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) of active dry yeast (check the expiration date on the package)
  • 3 1/2 cups bread flour (can use all-purpose but bread flour will give you a crisper crust)
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
Pizza Ingredient Suggestions
  • Olive oil
  • Cornmeal (to slide the pizza onto the pizza stone)
  • Tomato sauce
  • Mozzarella or Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • Feta cheese
  • Mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • Cappers
  • Olives, chopped
  • Bell peppers, stems and seeds removed, thinly sliced
  • Chopped fresh basil
  • Pesto
  • Onions, thinly sliced
  • Garlic, thinly sliced


Making the Pizza Dough

In the large bowl of a heavy duty electric mixer, add the warm water. Sprinkle on the yeast and let sit for 5 minutes until the yeast is dissolved. Stir to dissolve completely if needed at the end of 5 minutes.

Attach a dough hook to the mixer. Mix in the olive oil, flour, salt and sugar on low speed for about a minute.

Knead using the mixer and dough hook, on low to medium speed, until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. If you don't have a mixer, you can mix and knead by hand. If the dough seems a little too wet, sprinkle on a bit more flour.

Place ball of dough in a bowl that has been coated lightly with olive oil. Turn the dough around in the bowl so that it gets coated with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap. Let sit in a warm place (75-85°F) until it doubles in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours (or several hours longer, a longer rise will improve the flavor).

At this point, if you want to make ahead, you can freeze the dough in an airtight container for up to two weeks.

Preparing the Pizzas

Place a pizza stone on a rack in the lower third of your oven. Preheat the oven to 450°F for at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour.

Remove the plastic cover from the dough and punch the dough down so it deflates a bit. Divide the dough in half. Form two round balls of dough. Place each in its own bowl, cover with plastic and let sit for 10 minutes.

Prepare your desired toppings. Note that you are not going to want to load up each pizza with a lot of toppings as the crust will end up not crisp that way. About a third a cup each of tomato sauce and cheese would be sufficient for one pizza. One to two mushrooms thinly sliced will cover a pizza.

Working one ball of dough at a time, take one ball of dough and flatten it with your hands on a slightly floured work surface. Starting at the center and working outwards, use your fingertips to press the dough to 1/2-inch thick. Turn and stretch the dough until it will not stretch further. Let the dough relax 5 minutes and then continue to stretch it until it reaches the desired diameter - 10 to 12 inches. Use your palm to flatten the edge of the dough where it is thicker. You can pinch the very edges if you want to form a lip.

Brush the top of the dough with olive oil (to prevent it from getting soggy from the toppings). Use your finger tips to press down and make dents along the surface of the dough to prevent bubbling. Let rest another 5 minutes.

Repeat with the second ball of dough.

Lightly sprinkle your pizza peel (or flat baking sheet) with corn meal. Transfer one prepared flattened dough to the pizza peel. If the dough has lost its shape in the transfer, lightly shape it to the desired dimensions.

Spoon on the tomato sauce, sprinkle with cheese, and place your desired toppings on the pizza.

Sprinkle some cornmeal on the baking stone in the oven (watch your hands, the oven is hot!). Gently shake the peel to see if the dough will easily slide, if not, gently lift up the edges of the pizza and add a bit more cornmeal. Slide the pizza off of the peel and on to the baking stone in the oven. Bake pizza one at a time until the crust is browned and the cheese is golden, about 10-15 minutes. If you want, toward the end of the cooking time you can sprinkle on a little more cheese.

Shared with YeastSpotting


  1. wow, this pizza looks fanstastic! I'm so bad at making the crust though, it never turns out right so I usually just buy the premade dough..

  2. Your pizza looks very irresistible. It's hard for me to me a perfect crust, but you've nailed it here.