Fresh Homemade Pizza Dough

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I can’t say enough great things about this pizza dough – it’s reliable, can be frozen prior to baking, and frozen after baking, fashioned into muffins, mini pizzas, or full sized.  It’s just the bee’s knees.

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And since it’s summer, I’ve been making it a lot.  So I’m finally posting it here for you lovely people to make for your pizza lovers.  The mini muffin pizzas are perfect to serve as appetizers or a simple snack for kids’ parties.

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My friend Janna was out here visiting with her husband and I made them come over for dinner and make their own pizzas.  Which I thought was a lot of fun.  I made 3 double batches of pizza dough, and suffice it to say – we had plenty.  What can I say, I have issues.

If you really want to gild the lily, you can heat up this spread and dip your pizza in it.  Oh my gosh, it’s so good!

Fresh Homemade Pizza Dough Adapted from The Family Kitchen (double recipe)

2 2/3 cups warm water

3 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons active dry yeast

5 Tablespoons olive oil

2 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt

7 1/2 cups bread flour (approx.)

In a large mixing bowl stir together the water, sugar, and yeast and let sit for 6 minutes.  Add the olive oil and the salt and stir.  Stir in 4 cups of flour.  Add an additional cup of flour as needed.  Continue to add flour until the dough starts to firm up.  Then pour the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes.  Adding more flour as necessary until the kneaded dough is smooth like playdough – you may not need to use all the flour.

Place the dough into a large bowl to rise – cover with plastic wrap and lay a clean (dry) dishtowel over the plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight.

I’ve also had great luck making the dough the same day and allowing it to rise at room temperature until doubled (about 1-2 hours).

When you are ready to use it, punch the dough down and on a lightly floured surface knead it a couple of times.  Divide into 6 – 8 pieces (or more depending on the size of pizza you’re making), and let the dough sit at room temperature covered (if the dough was chilled) for 20 minutes; otherwise, roll out the pizza dough and place on a parchment-lined baking dish sprinkled with cornmeal (or use a well greased cast iron pan), and top with sauce and any other toppings (except cheese).

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes.  Then take the pizza out and top with freshly shredded mozzarella.*  Then return the pizza to the oven for another 5-10 minutes to finish cooking and melt the cheese.

Serve hot or cold!

*If you buy cheese that has been already shredded it will contain an ingredient that prevents the cheese strands from sticking to each other, which in turn prevents the shredded cheese from fully melting together.  For this reason, I prefer to shred my own fresh cheese.

To make meatball mini muffin pizzas:

Simply make small rounds of dough and fill a muffin pan with the dough overhanging, add sauce to the bottom of the dough, and a cooked meatball and bake for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees.  Top with cheese and bake for another 5-10 minutes until the cheese is melted.

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To make frozen pizzas:

Simply make the dough, roll the dough out and top with sauce and toppings (except the cheese) and bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes to parbake.  Let the pizzas cool, then top with cheese and freeze.  Once frozen, about 30 minutes, cover each pizza with plastic wrap and store in a large plastic storage bag.  To heat, remove the plastic wrap and place the pizza on a baking sheet, lined with parchment, and bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes, or until the crust is heated through and the cheese is melted.

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