I thought the first bread recipe I'd share is how to make pizza crust. I couldn't think of an easier beginner's recipe! No one is going to care what your pizza crust looks like once you've covered it with your toppings! And if you are looking to stretch your grocery budget, replacing a weekly carry-out with your own homemade pizza would be one way to do it!
My mom made pizza every Saturday night for years and I can't even begin to imagine the hundreds of dollars (probably more like thousands with the crowd she was feeding) that she saved compared to us all heading to the local pizza place every Saturday night! Get your family hooked on homemade pizza and you might spoil them for anything else! My husband just doesn't get thrilled when the guys at work decide to order in pizza! He still laughs at how in our dating days, almost every Saturday night found us eating pizza at my parent's house before heading off for the evening. My family acted like they liked to have us around, it sure made a cheap date, and we knew we couldn't get better food anywhere else! (Though I'm not saying we never eat out! I've had some hectic days that Ed's words "I'm going to go pick up some Stromboli at Brother's" were music to my ears!)
I put this recipe in one jelly roll pan OR divide it into two small round pizza pans. If you prefer a thinner crust, you can divide it into more pans.
1 cup warm water
1 T yeast
1 tsp sugar
3 cup flour (white, whole wheat, or a combination)
3 T oil
1 tsp salt
In a bowl, mix the water, yeast and sugar together.
Let sit for a few minutes until it just starts to bubble.
Add flour, oil, and salt. (I've added two tsp of Italian seasoning, just for fun!)
Stir well. You may need to use your hands to form a smooth ball of dough.
Rub a small amount of oil on your counter. Knead the dough for about five minutes. Place in oiled bowl and cover with a towel.
Allow to raise until the dough doubles (about a half hour). Turn onto your oiled counter. Cut dough into as many pieces as you wish. Allow dough to rest for a few minutes. (You can skip the rest period but it makes it easier to roll out.) Roll your dough until it is big enough for your pan or pans.
Cover with cloth and allow to rise double.
Spread with sauce.
Sprinkle with desired toppings.
Bake at 425 degree oven for 15 minutes. Allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving. Enjoy!
I prefer to mix and knead pizza dough by hand. It is such a small amount of dough to get an electric mixer out. But if I double the recipe, I often use my mixer with a kneading hook. If you have a bread machine, you could stir and knead on the "dough cycle" - not the "bread cycle". At least that is what I've heard! I have no experience with bread machines.
The above directions are what I consider ideal. But what if you don't have much time? What if you woke up from a Sunday afternoon nap and are hungry for pizza? Or you just got back from a full Saturday of shopping and everyone is hungry now? Here is a couple other options that work quite well!
30 Minute Pizza
Mix up the ingredients as above. Knead dough. Immediately divide into desired portions. Roll out and place in pans. Spread with desired toppings. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes. Eat!
Make Ahead Pizza
(Melody shared this method with me. She often makes up her pizza Saturday morning, puts it in the fridge, then can clean up her kitchen for the day, knowing supper is ready!)
Mix. Knead. Roll out. Place toppings. - all as listed above. But instead of baking, place pizza in the refrigerator. When time to eat, remove pizza. Place in oven and bake.
This is a great option if you are out with friends but will be returning to your house for food! We did this one year when we went Christmas caroling and I think the pizza turned out better then usual! But maybe we had just worked up good appetites!