Homemade pizza dough + a fun dinner party (recipe + lots of photos and topping suggestions at the bottom)
Last year my boss introduced me to a New Jersey band called Personal and the Pizzas, whose album Raw Pie includes songs like “I Don’t Wanna Be No Personal Pizza,” “$7.99 For Love” and “Pizza Army.” Usually around 5 p.m. on Fridays, I’d hear a blast of “PEPPERONI, PEP-PEPPERONI! PEPPERONI PEP-PEPPERONI!” (from the track “Pepperoni Eyes”) coming from his computer, to signal the end of the work week. So, this band was obviously a no-brainer excuse to throw a pizza party! Whenever I hosted sleepover parties in elementary school, my mom would make a bunch of pizza dough and we’d each get to top our own personal pizzas. It’s a perfect hands-on activity to keep kids entertained, and, as I learned on last weekend, still just as much fun for the big kids, too.
This was my first time making pizza dough and it was surprisingly easy! I do recommend timing it so you use the dough right when it’s done rising, as I’m not quite sure to preserve it (I did a test run earlier in the day and wrapped it in plastic wrap in the fridge, but that dough was so set on continuing to rise that it broke through the plastic wrap, which reminded me of Buddy Love turning into Professor Klump in The Nutty Professor… That aside, I don’t think I’ll ever buy pizza dough again, even the $1 bags at Trader Joe’s, because this was so easy, probably even less expensive, and, honestly, it tasted better and had a better texture. Mom would be proud!
Adapted from my mom’s cookbook. I made three batches and it was perfect for 15 personal pizzas.
1 1/2 to 2 c all-purpose flour
1 1/2 c whole wheat flour
More AP flour for rolling out dough
1 1/4 c lukewarm water (separated)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp dry active yeast
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
2 tsp dried herbs (I used a combination of oregano, marjoram and basil)
• Dissolve sugar and yeast in 1/4 cup lukewarm water. Let sit for 10 minutes. Add the olive oil and 1 cup of lukewarm water to the yeast mixture.
• Mix the whole wheat flour, 1 1/2 cups AP, salt and herbs in a large bowl.
• Add the yeast mixture to the dry ingredients. Use your hands to mix everything together and knead for about five minutes, until the dough doesn’t completely stick to your fingers (You will probably need to add more AP flour as you go.)
• Place the dough in a large, oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. The dough should (at least) double in size.
• Uncover the dough and punch it down.
• Divide the dough (5 pieces for about 8- to 10-inch pizzas; 2-3 for larger pizzas. I did three batches of dough and made 15).
• Roll each piece out onto a well-floured surface.
• Transfer to a baking sheet greased with cooking spray and sprinkled with cornmeal (make sure the cornmeal is only on the part of the tray where the pizza will be; otherwise it will burn).
• Add toppings, then bake at 500 degrees Fahrenheit (or the highest your oven will go to) for about 10 minutes, until the crust is crispy.
Here’s what we put on our pizzas!
Me: Pesto and olive oil, fresh mozzarella, tomato, kalamata olives, zucchini, broccoli, onion, mushrooms
Molly: Red sauce, mozz, broccoli, prosciutto, chorizo, fresh basil
Monica: Red sauce, broccoli, olives, onion, mozz, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes
Chad: Pesto, mozz, basil, prosciutto, chorizo, tomato, olives, tomatoes, zucchini, mushrooms
Jill: Pesto + olive oil, onion, chorizo, mozz, basil
Matt: Pesto + olive oil, mozz, kalamata and green olives
Missy: Pesto, tomato sauce, basil, mozz, mushrooms, tomatoes, kalamata and green olives
Nnamdi and Kyle: Ginger-roasted potatoes, mozz, basil, onions, prosciutto, kalamata olives, mushrooms
Nick: Red sauce, chorizo, prosciutto, mushrooms, potatoes, mozz, onion, basil
Eugenia: Half 1 — pesto, basil, mushrooms, mozz, zucchini, onions, sundried tomatoes; Half 2 — red sauce, broccoli, prosciutto, chorizo, basil, tomatoes
Sneha: Red sauce, mozz, broccoli, onion, mushrooms, chorizo
Laura: Red sauce, prosciutto, basil, cheese