Pizza is undoubtedly one of the most popular dishes around the world. A great deal of money is generated by people ordering pizzas at pizza parlors and even more is made from the sales of pre-made frozen pizzas. Pre-made pizza crusts are also sold, as is pizza sauce. The crusts and sauce are sold so people can make their own pizzas. While this isn’t a bad idea, the pizza will nearly always taste better and be healthier if you make your own pizza dough and sauce.
People might think that this is very involved or difficult, but the truth is that it is very easy to make both the dough and the sauce. Start to finish, the dough usually takes less than a half hour to make and the sauce takes even less time.
As a qualifier, let me explain that I managed a busy pizza parlor for some time. We made fresh crusts and sauce daily and this was one of the biggest secrets of our success. The following recipes are authentic pizza parlor recipes, scaled down, with a few touches of my own.
Pizza Pie Dough
~2 1/2 cups flour
1 cup warm water (120 F / 49 C)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 packet active dry yeast
1. Mix 1 1/2 cups of flour with the sugar, yeast and salt, then add the extra virgin oil and the warm water. Thoroughly blend this together and then add the remaining flour a little at the time, while continuing to mix it, until the dough will just barely form a ball. At this point, the dough should be a bit tacky.
2. Let the dough sit at room temperature for 10 minutes, then roll it out onto a lightly floured surface. Sprinkle the dough ball with a dusting of flour, then knead the dough, pushing down in the center, then pulling the edge into the middle, rotating the flour a quarter turn and repeating. Sprinkle with flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to the floured surface or to your fingers.
3. The dough is done when it is elastic. It can then be rolled out using a rolling pin or your hands, until it is about 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch thick (depending on whether you want a thin crust or thick crust pizza). If desired, the dough can be cut so it is round or it can be pressed down into the baking or pizza pan you are going to use to cook the pizza.
Note: If you sprinkle the pan with cornmeal prior to putting the dough in the pan, it normally won’t stick as badly.
2 8-oz can tomato sauce
1 6-oz can tomato paste
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon crushed garlic
1 teaspoon chopped chives
1 teaspoon chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon brown or granulated sugar
Thoroughly blend together all the ingredients and let the mixture sit for a few minutes. This amount of pizza sauce should be enough for the pizza dough recipe above it, however if you like extra sauce, this recipe can be easily increased. This sauce also is a good base for spaghetti and other pasta.
Since the best pizza will have a solid foundation of great tasting and fresh dough and sauce, you can make the above and start off right when making pizza. Neither the dough nor the sauce are difficult to make, they don’t take long, they have no preservatives so they are healthier, both are great tasting and they can be less expensive than what can be purchased in the store, even if the store products are on sale (and also keeping in mind that if you purchase the very cheapest pre-made crust or sauce, they will most likely taste like it.)
Ultimately, besides the reasons for making your own that have already been mentioned, by making homemade dough and sauce, you control what goes into it.