Dinner, Mains, Spring
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Homemade Margherita Pizza & Dough

When making homemade pizza, having a tasty crust is essential. While some may like thin crust pizza (I actually only like thin crust from take-out pizza shops), I love making thick-crust style pizza at home— mainly because of this amazing pizza dough recipe.

This pizza dough is like a cross between regular pizza crust and a foccacia bread. It’s flat and holds up against the toppings just like a regular pizza crust should, but it is also thick, soft, moist and airy just like a foccacia.  This is from adding one special ingredient to the dough…olive oil! I add quite a bit of olive oil to the dough (5+ tablespoons) which makes the dough so moist, flavourful and crispy once baked. I really have not found any restaurant or pizza place that makes their dough like this (and I eat a lot of pizza), which is why you need to try this recipe for yourself!

Now I know what your’re thinking. Pizza dough is hard to make, I need special ingredients, tools etc. I’m here to tell you that you don’t— you just need some typical pantry ingredients and time.

This pizza dough contains most, if not all, of the typical ingredients that you would find in your pantry: yeast, sugar, salt, flour and water (basically free from the tap). Simply combine these ingredients as outlined in the recipe, and let the dough rise for a few hours, or overnight. This dough gets so much better the longer you let it sit and rise, so making it ahead of time (and freezing it) is really helpful. Once in a while, you have to punch down the dough (or else it will get too big), but this creates lots of bubbles in the dough and flavour as the yeast ferments.

Once your dough is ready to go, simply press it out onto an oiled baking sheet (haha…more olive oil!) and let it rest again for 15 minutes. This will allow the dough to relax and begin to rise again, creating more air bubbles. Once risen, I like to use my fingertips to prick all over the top of the dough to create little “wells” and to let some (but not all) of the air escape before baking.

The beauty of this dough is that you can top it with whatever toppings you want! Since it is a thick-crust dough, it can really hold lots of ingredients. But remember, when it comes to pizza, having more isn’t always a good thing…sometimes a few simple, high-quality ingredients can really speak for themselves and be delicious on their own. Case in point: Margherita pizza, which is what I made here. I used a homemade tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella cheese and fresh basil leaves to make this pizza. Simple and delicious. Of course, I need more olive oil, so I drizzled a bit on the pizza once it was baked. And chili flakes…can’t forget those!

I bake this dough at 400 degrees F for 20-25 minutes. During that time, the smell that comes out of the oven is insane! The baking time really depends on how thick the dough is, how much moisture is in it, and differences between oven temperatures (my 400 degrees F isn’t likely to be the same as your 400 degrees F). So, from having lots of experience making this pizza dough in many different settings, I like to check it after 20 minutes. If it is not golden brown on the bottom (gently lift up a corner of the pizza using a spatula) and is still soft or not crisp, I leave it in the oven for a bit longer to cook. Once the dough has become crisp and golden brown, it is ready to some out and be sliced up and served!

If you are good and have some leftovers (I highly doubt that there will be any though) you can go ahead and freeze the leftover pizza in an airtight container for about a month. Simply reheat the pizza from frozen in the oven. Also, you can freeze half of the pizza dough (since this recipe makes two pizzas) in a plastic bag and have it ready to go whenever you get a delicious pizza craving. Just make sure to take the dough out of the freezer and let it thaw overnight in the fridge.

Let me know in the comments below if you are: 1) drooling, and 2) going to make this recipe at home! For the full recipe, click here!

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