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How to Make Delicious Pizza at Home [Recipe]

Hand-Tossed Garden Pizza

Once you try this simple, scrumptious pizza recipe, you’ll never want delivery (or DiGiorno) ever again!  There are a lot of steps, and a lot of ingredients, but once you get the hang of it, I promise it’s well worth the effort.  The best thing, as you’ll see at the end of this unusually long post, is that you can customize every aspect of the pizza when you make it yourself.  From the dough (adding/subtracting herbs, making deep dish or hand tossed, or even stuffing the crust with cheese), and the sauce (marinara, pesto, enchilada sauce, etc), to the toppings and garnishes, the possibilities are endless!
Homemade Hand-Tossed Garden Pizza with Herb Crust

The ingredients and tools needed for the Herb Crust.
It’s technically not required, but I like to proof my yeast in warm sugar water first.
The yeast with the herbs added in.
The dough will be sticky.  More flour will be worked in when you roll it out.
Onions, Bell Pepper, Jalapenos, and Sun Dried Tomato.  We also added Spinach and Roasted Mushrooms.
Roasting the mushrooms first was Jameson’s idea.  It was a game-changer.  So good.
Rolling out the dough.  We have a small oven so we make two small pizzas.
The imperfect, but perfect crust.
I’m still working on the “hand-tossed” part, but the crust holds up pretty well.
This is leftover Spaghetti Sauce that Jameson made a couple nights ago.  It was amazing on pizza.
A nice layer of mozzarella cheese.
Finally, all of the toppings, in generous portions.
This is a $2.00 ceramic tile from Lowe’s, but you can also buy an actual “pizza stone”.  It is important though, to get the crust just right, crispy on the outside but soft on the inside.  The stone helps the crust cook more quickly.
Another shot of the finished pizza.
Nice little slices, served with Sriracha and Light Ranch.
Another pizza we’ve made: Basil Pesto, Fresh Mozzarella slices, Spinach, and Parmesan.
One of our favorites, Tex-Mex Pizza.  Enchilada Sauce, Black Beans, Monterrey Jack Cheese, Jalapenos, and Onions.  Garnished with Iceberg Lettuce, Sour Cream, and Chalula Hot Sauce.  Mmm.
For a deep dish pizza, allow the dough to rise for 30 minutes to an hour, then in a oiled, cornmeal-coated cast iron skillet, cook the pizza on the burner for about 5 minutes, then bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, or until done.  Also add an extra layer of cheese at the bottom before layering in the sauce and ingredients.
You can add a ton of stuff to the deep dish pizza, it’s a much heartier alternative to the lighter version of our pizza.  It’s also a good option if you don’t have a pizza stone/ceramic tile.

The Steps:

The Sauce

Jameson and I prefer to make our own sauces, whether it be for pizza or pasta.  The taste difference is worth the effort for us, but sometimes we do get lazy and just use a good bottled marinara.  The sauce we used in the Garden Pizza is actually spaghetti sauce that his mother, Danielle, sent us.  It works surprisingly well on pizza as well as in spaghetti with meatballs.  Here’s the recipe:
  • 2 cans tomato sauce
  • 2 small cans tomato paste
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 white onion, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • (optional, sliced mushrooms)
  1. Cook the onion in the oil on medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until they are somewhat clear.
  2. Mix in the sauce, paste, and water.
  3. Add the spices and simmer on low heat for 15-20 minutes.
  4. You can make the sauce thinner by adding more water, or thicker by adding corn starch in small amounts.
The Crust and Pizza Process
This is the part most people assume is difficult.  I know I did, before I tried it.  The first several pizzas we made, I didn’t have a stand mixer, and we didn’t have a pizza stone.  I mixed the dough and kneaded it by hand, and even then it still wasn’t too hard.  Now that I have a stand mixer, it’s a million times easier, of course.  Either way is delicious though, just have fun and don’t worry!  The instructions are the same for mixing by hand, although each step will take longer.
  • 2-4 cups flour
  • 1 cup warm water (as hot as the tap goes, but not boiling)
  • 2 and 3/4 tsp active dry yeast, or one pre-measured package
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/8 to 1/4 tsp pepper and any other spices you enjoy.  I used basil, oregano, garlic, and red pepper (to taste)
  • Yellow cornmeal, for dusting the tray (this keeps the crust from sticking to the prep try or the pizza stone/cast iron)
  1. Preheat the oven as hot as it will go.  Ours goes to 525 degrees Fahrenheit.  Make sure your pizza stone is inside the oven and clear of any debris.  The pizza stone needs to be hot when you put in the pizza, so that the crust cooks perfectly.
  2. Attach a dough hook to the stand mixer.
  3. Proof the yeast in the warm water with sugar, for 5-10 minutes or until it starts to look foamy.
  4. Add in the olive oil and spices.
  5. Mix on speed 2 (low) and gradually add 2 cups of flour.  Allow it to mix for 2-3 minutes afterwards, to knead the dough.  It should be somewhat sticky but hold together well.
  6. If you are making a deep dish pizza, place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with a wet towel, and allow it to rise for 30 minutes.
  7. If you are making a hand-tossed pizza, lightly dust the dough with flour to keep it from sticking, then separate it into two equal balls.  Knead in more flour until it is no longer sticky, then roll it out into the desired shape (circle, square, heart, whatever suits you).
  8. Coat the surface of a pizza pan (or in our case, the bottom of a serving tray) with cornmeal.
  9. Lightly toss the dough until it has stretched out to the desired size, but be careful!
  10. Gently set the dough on the prep surface.  You want it to stay loose on the the surface, so that you can slide the pizza onto the hot pizza stone without it catching on anything and/or falling.
  11. Build your pizza: Sauce, Cheese, Toppings.
  12. Shake the pizza to make sure it is still loose.  Add extra cornmeal or use a spatula to loosen it if necessary.
  13. Confidently slide the pizza onto the hot stone.  *BE CAREFUL* it will burn you badly.  If you mess up and the pizza falls, you can try to salvage it with a spatula.  It may not be pretty the first few times you attempt this, but you’ll get the hang of it.  The key is to keep the pizza loose and to slide it quickly and confidently.  The pizza will sense your fear.
  14. Cook the pizza for 5-7 minutes, or until the crust is golden-brown and the center is fully cooked.  You know your oven.  If the crust is cooking faster than the center, lower the temperature and cook it for longer.
  15. The pizza should slide right out, using a pizza paddle or spatula.  Again, be careful.  Hot surfaces and whatnot.
  16. Slice it hot, garnish with Sriracha, parmesan, and/or your favorite dipping sauce.  Enjoy!
Like I said before, it seems like a difficult process, but I fully believe that anyone can do it!  It just takes practice!  Have fun with the ingredients.  Make your dream pizza!  I hope you enjoyed this recipe.  Now you know how to make delicious pizza at home!  Tune in next week for more!
– Libbi Duncan, The Cornucopia Woman

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