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DIY Artisan Pizza

Easy, Cheap, Delicious

Natalie Hollingshead | Photos by Mary Harper Jan 9, 2019

If there was a time when people were afraid to admit their love of pizza, that time is not now. The savory entree has peaked in popularity, with memes and merchandise devoted to its praise. It’s hard to argue with a T-shirt that declares, “You can’t please everyone. You are not pizza.”

Once exclusively considered junk food, pizza has shed its ultra-greasy rap as boutique pizzerias pop up across the country. These artisanal pizzas are known for their thin crusts and fresh, inventive ingredients. The best part? You can make delicious, trendy pizzas at home without too much work or money. 

Friday Night = Pizza Night

Liz Edmunds of Woodland, Utah, has made pizza nearly every Friday night for 45 years. Known as The Food Nanny, she’s devoted entire chapters to pizza in both her cookbooks. She also runs the Instagram account @TheFoodNanny with daughter Lizi Heaps and hosted four seasons of The Food Nanny cooking show on BYUtv. As such, she’s perfected the process of restaurant-quality homemade pizza.

“You can make pizza for a fourth of the cost of going out,” Edmunds says.

If you’ve got the ingredients, her basic pizza dough takes 10 minutes to make. Her more authentic Tuscan Sun Pizza Dough recipe in her second cookbook takes an hour to rise, but isn’t complicated to make, she says. 

The Right Tools

You don’t need an authentic pizza oven to make mouthwatering pizza at home, but there are a few essential tools: a pizza stone that can handle a 500-550-degree oven and a pizza peel to transfer dough to the hot stone. 

The Right Ingredients

High-quality ingredients make the difference between a so-so homemade pizza and a knock-your-socks off one. Edmunds prefers white kamut flour for the crust, good-tasting olive oil to drizzle (Portuguese, Sicilian or Italian are best), French grey salt and fresh mozzarella.

“The main thing that you need to understand about gourmet pizza is that the ingredients need to be dispersed evenly,” she says. “Go easy on every ingredient for an authentic, thin-crust pizza.”

A little bit goes a long way — with sauce, cheese and toppings — so buy the highest-quality ingredients you can afford, and you’ll be thrilled with the taste, Heaps says.  

Basic Pizza Dough

Makes one 16-inch medium-crust pizza or two 12-inch-crust pizzas or four 9-inch thin-crust pizzas.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water, 105-115 degrees
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 to 4 cups all-purpose flour or half all-purpose and half whole wheat

Instructions

Mix the yeast and water in a small bowl, cover, and let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes.

Mix the oil, honey, salt and yeast mixture in a large mixing bowl. If using a food processor, add 1 cup of flour at a time, up to 3 cups, mixing well after each addition. You may have to stir in the third cup of flour by hand depending on your machine. Or mix in all 3 cups of flour by hand with a wooden spoon.

If the dough seems too wet, mix in more flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough is soft. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and knead in more flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until the dough is moderately stiff and somewhat firm to the touch, about 6 minutes.

Lightly grease pizza pan(s) or cookie sheet(s) with oil. If you are making two or more thin-crust pizzas, divide the dough. With a rolling pin, roll out the dough on a floured surface. Gently stretch the dough to fill the pan(s).

Let the dough rise slightly while you make the sauce and continue with the pizza recipe of your choice.

Fabulous Thai Chicken Pizza

Makes two 10- to 12-inch pizzas.

Ingredients

Peanut Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 fresh garlic clove crushed
  • 2 tablespoons chunky peanut butter

Pizzas:

  • 2 pizza dough balls to make two 10- to 12- inch pizzas
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 fresh garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 cup chicken breasts cooked and torn into pieces or shredded
  • 6 thin slices fresh Buffalo mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons shredded carrot
  • Sliced red onion to taste, optional
  • 1/4 cup cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup whole peanuts

Instructions

Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Prepare the dough for your pizza.

Prepare the peanut sauce: In a small saucepan over medium heat bring the vinegar, sugar, brown sugar, soy sauce, red pepper, salt and garlic to a boil stirring frequently. Remove from heat. Whisk in the peanut butter. Set aside. Sauce must be slightly warm to spread on pizza.

Prepare the pizza dough: Roll out your dough balls one at a time. Place the dough on an oiled pizza pan or baking sheet, or on a pizza peel with a little flour and cornmeal to move pizza to a stone or tile. Mix 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small bowl with garlic. Brush the mixture over the entire pizza dough. Spread on half the peanut sauce. Spread the chicken pieces around. Disperse the cheeses evenly. Sprinkle carrots and onion, if using. Bake 6-8 minutes on bottom oven rack until crisp. Remove from oven and sprinkle on the cilantro and peanuts.

Arugula Pizza

Makes one 10- to 12-inch pizza.

Ingredients

  • 1 pizza dough ball
  • 2/3 cup fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 2 cups fresh arugula
  • 1/2 cup fresh cherry or grape tomatoes cut in half
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • Coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Roll out the dough. Place the dough on an oiled pizza pan or baking sheet, or on a pizza peel with a little flour and cornmeal to move pizza to a stone or tile. Brush olive oil over the entire pizza. Slice the fresh mozzarella cheese and place it on the crust. Bake for 6-8 minutes on bottom oven rack until crisp. Remove from the oven and immediately pile the arugula pieces onto the hot melted cheese and top with tomatoes. Drizzle a little olive oil on top. Season lightly with coarse salt and fresh ground pepper.

Recipes from “The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner” and “The Food Nanny Rescues Dinner Again,” by Liz Edmunds, TheFoodNanny.com

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