The Fast Way to Homemade Pizza

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Life has gotten crazy. My work schedule this year is more strenuous that it has ever been. For years I have done freezer cooking, but one of the meals that hasn't worked well for me is freezer pizzas. I have made complete pizzas and frozen them to bake later, but the prep time on them is overwhelming to me. I have put unbaked pizza dough in the freezer so that I could do homemade crust at a later date, but I never perfected how to thaw it and use it. A month ago I read online (wish I could remember where) that I could mix up pizza dough and freeze it immediately without letting it rise. Early the morning of serving I pulled it out and set it on the counter to rise ALL DAY. With all the other ingredients ready, I needed only about an hour to make fresh pizza that night! And most of that time is time in the oven, not hands-on work! When pizza dough rises for a long time it improves the flavor so this method is perfect! Even my family noticed it was a great-tasting crust!

Here's how I did it...

Pizza Dough

{From Breaking Bread with Father Dominic, but any dough recipe will work. This recipe makes two crusts.}

1 package active dry yeast (or 1 T. yeast if you buy in bulk)
1 T. brown sugar
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 cups lukewarm water
1/4 cup olive oil
1 T. salt (I use less)
4 to 5 cups white flour

Put all the ingredients in your mixer with a dough hook. Mix well (about 5 minutes). Spray the inside of a gallon Ziploc bag and place the dough in the bag. Freeze immediately. 

On the day of serving...pull out the dough and let it rise on the counter for 8 to 12 hours. I leave mine in the bag, but after an hour or so I pull it out and put it in a large bowl because it needs more space than what the bag provides. When you are ready to make the pizza, shape the dough and place it in a 450 degree oven to pre-bake for about 7 minutes. Pull the crusts out and top them with sauce, cheese, and your favorite toppings. Return them to the oven and bake for another 10-15 minutes until the cheese starts to bubble and brown.

To-Die-For Pizza Sauce

{A friend of ours shared this recipe, and I am so glad he did! Best sauce recipe ever! I make it ahead of time and freeze it.  I pull it out with the dough to thaw at the same time.  This is enough sauce for two pizzas.}

2 T olive oil
1 T butter
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup celery
1 garlic clove, minced
1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
1 (6 oz) can tomato paste
2 T grated parmesan cheese
1 t. dried basil
1 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. sugar
1/4 t black pepper
1 small bay leaf
1 t. fennel seed

In a large skillet, melt butter with oil and then saute the onion, celery, and garlic. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer for 30-60 minutes. {NOTE: I didn't have fennel seed and the sauce was fine without it.} Remove the bay leaf.  At this point you can use the sauce or freeze it.  I tend to double or triple the recipe and freeze it for later.

So why not enjoy a pizza night?  So quick and easy!


Anonymous said...

I bought all the ingredients to make the dough and sauce, but failed to pay attention to the fact that I need a dough hook. I do not have one. Can I mix it and knead it by hand? - Amy

Debbie P said...

Yes, Amy. You can totally do it by hand! :-) It is easier with a dough hook, but doing it the old fashion way works, too.