Save your money for retirement and make your pizza at home. Americans spend over $30 billion on pizza each year. It is difficult to find a pizza parlor selling a pizza for under $10. If you add toppings you are looking at spending over $15. So why not save some money and make it at home? For years, I attempted to make a good pizza at home. It would either come out soggy, undercooked, or burnt. It would taste like soggy bread with sauce and the cheese would have the texture of plastic. I tried recipe after recipe. Finally, after about my 436th iteration, I found the perfect combination.
Tools Needed: Bread Machine, Pizza Crisper:
To solve the soggy pizza problem I finally discovered a pizza crisper. Not only do my pizzas cook faster, but the crust comes out somewhat crispy, like a pizza parlor. The other way to crisp up your pizza is with semolina flour, which I will discuss later. I also use a bread machine to make the dough because it takes out the work of kneading the dough. If you don’t have a bread machine, buy one at a yard sale. You can get them really cheap for $5 or $10. I make enough dough to make two pizzas. Generally I will freeze half the dough for another time.
Ingredients needed for dough:
4 cups bread flour
1 ½ tsp rapid rise yeast for bread machines
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp Olive Oil
1 ½ Cups warm water
Semolina Flour for dusting (for use later)
Put the ingredients (except for the semolina flour) in the bread machine as listed above and press the button!
In the spirit of saving money and as part of getting on the Short Road to Retirement, use marinara sauce that is selling for under $2 per jar. Store brand shredded cheese is fine too. Discount, discount, discount, is my modus operandi. After all, the purpose of making pizza at home is to save money! While the dough is being made in the bread maker, pour 1 cup of sauce into a small sauce pan. Add some oregano and a little bit of sugar for taste (the amounts are up to your taste buds). Simmer the sauce for a few minutes to melt the sugar and incorporate the oregano, then cover the pan and put it aside.
After the dough is made it has to rest. Cut the dough ball in two and freeze one of the dough balls. Cover the other dough ball and let it rest for about 15 minutes. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. If it only goes to 450 degrees, that is fine too. After the dough has rested, sprinkle a generous amount of semolina flour on your table. Take the dough ball, put it in the semolina flour and begin stretching it out into a circle that will fit your pizza crisper. The key is to flip the dough once when you are stretching it in the semolina flour so that you are getting the semolina flour on both sides of the dough. Lightly spray the pizza crisper with cooking spray. Once you have the dough stretched, put it in the pizza crisper and stretch it to the edges of the crisper. Add the sauce and put it in the oven. At 500 degrees put it in the oven for 6 minutes. At 450, put it in for 8 minutes. While the pizza is baking, prepare your toppings. You want your toppings pre-cooked before they are put on the pizza. I like to put peppers and onions so I sauté them at this time. After six minutes elapses, take the pizza out of the oven. Put your cheese and toppings on. You don’t need to put a lot of cheese, just enough to cover the pizza. Put it back in the oven and cook for another 4-6 minutes. The second time in the oven will be dependent on how much cheese and toppings you put. The crust should have a golden color before you take it out of the oven. Voila, you have a pizza parlor style pizza.
The reason you don’t want to cook the cheese with the pizza the entire time in the oven is the cheese cooks faster than the sauce and dough. Cooking the cheese only half the time also allows you to use less cheese and still get the flavor. If you cook the cheese for entire time the pizza is in the oven, it turns into something that has the texture of plastic. Using the above method, the pizza costs less than $4 to make. If you eat pizza every week like I do, you will save well over $300 per year.