The crust is the most intimidating part of the pizza for most
people. One quick alternative is to use a purchased crust
or french bread.
The crust itself is not hard to make. What is hard is baking it
correctly. The most common problem is the crust coming out
One of the reasons for this is that our ovens do not get hot
enough to bake a pizza quickly. The ingredients start to burn
before the crust is done.
One way to handle this is to cook the crust first for a short
time, and then add the sauce and ingredients and finish cooking
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Bake the crust for 7-10
minutes. Keep the pizza in the middle of the oven, so the crust
won’t burn. Then take out the crust, and turn the oven up to 400
degrees. While the oven is getting hotter, add the sauce and
ingredients to the crust. Then return the pizza to the oven and
continue baking until done.
There are many recipes for pizza dough. I won’t list any here.
Some people like to add a little whole wheat to their dough, or
other ingredients like sesame seeds.
Pizza dough is very easy to make in a bread machine. Almost all
bread machines come with recipe books. Use one of the recipes
designed specifically for your machine. Later you can tweak it.
The yeast in your bread dough recipe is what makes the crust rise
and gives it those little bubbles and keeps it light. When you
are making your crust, be sure all the ingredients that come into
contact with the yeast are at room temperature. Too hot and you
kill the yeast; too cold and the yeast won’t work.
Be sure your yeast is active before you use it. Always test it
by putting it in a little water with a dab of sugar. If it is
good, it will start making little bubbles in 10-15 minutes.
(Adjust your recipe accordingly - as to the water used)
Yeast likes warmth and moisture. To speed up the rising process,
(if you are not using a bread machine) place your pizza dough in
a greased bowl in the oven next to a bowl of hot water (make sure
the oven is off); or set it on the counter on top of a bowl of
hot water. Be sure and cover the dough with a cloth.
Usually you let your dough rise until double in size (about one
hour) and then punch it down and roll or spread it out.
You can pat out your crust in a round pan, or use an oblong
cookie sheet. Go around the perimeter of the crust and fold it up
to make an edge to hold the sauce and ingredients on the pizza.
Let the crust rise on the pizza pan about 15 minutes before you
start the baking process.
If you like thick crust pizza, let it sit longer so that it will
have more time to rise.
Sauces is easy to make. It’s just a matter of finding a recipe
that you like. You can use sauce out of a can, or you can start
with fresh tomatoes and make it from scratch.
Most people do something in the middle. You can start with any
canned tomato product. Just add water and spices, and boil down
to the right consistency.
If you like your sauce sweet, add sugar. Some of the herbs most
commonly added to pizza sauce are oregano, basil, sage, thyme,
chili powder and cumin- as well as some kind of onion flavoring,
salt and pepper.
Simmer your mixture at least 10 minutes to blend, and taste for
flavor. When it is done, remove from the stove.
You can’t go wrong with the toppings. Add chopped vegetables and
cooked meats, and sprinkle over the top. Do the same with the
cheese. I like to add the cheese first, and then put on the
rest, but there are no rules.
You can experiment with different kinds of cheese. Mozzarella is
my favorite. Mexican pizzas use cheddar.
It will take 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees to finish up the pizza.
Keep an eye on it, so the cheese and crust do not burn. Every
oven is different. The crust should be golden brown, and there
should be small areas of very cooked cheese on top (almost
Don’t be discouraged if it takes a few tries. Making homemade
pizza is a skill worth mastering.