From start to finish, it took me almost 24 hours to make all the fixings for a homemade pizza party. Sounds crazy, right? I promise most of the time was hands off and it was worth it.
Homemade pizza can be daunting. It’s comprised of multiple components, a screaming hot oven, and generally involves a lot more work than just getting some pizza pie delivered. But making your own is infinitely more rewarding and becomes something you can brag about.
In my opinion, the quality of the pizza relies heavily on the crust. I found a recipe that offers great results with minimal work. It’s basically just-add-water pizza dough–I literally just combined Grand Traverse Culinary Flour, salt, and yeast then mixed in water. Then left it for a day to rise*.
Here is just after I mixed it.
Then the next day.
Around 4pm the next day, I powdered my hands and work surface with flour and divided the dough into 6 equal pieces. I took each blob and shaped it into a rough rectangle, then pulled the corners into the center and turned it over, seam-side down. I let these little guys rest for an hour before I started cooking.
While they were resting, I took this time to get the oven screaming hot at 525 degrees and prep my toppings. I love mushrooms, so I sauteed some up with garlic, onions, and butter. While they were doing their thing, I shredded some Minerva’s Mozzarella from Oryana Co-op and sliced burrata. For my sauce, I cheated and used some store bought sauce that I doctored up with dried oregano, thyme, and red pepper flakes.
I also tossed a salad with things I had on hand, some spicy arugula from Birch Point Farms, chopped snow pea pods, dried cherries from Traverse Bay Fruit Co., and walnuts. What made this salad really special is that I took some 18 year Fustini’s Balsamic vinegar and made a reduction. Reductions are ridiculously easy, yet really kick the fanciness level up a notch. I just poured a half cup into a saucepan and brought it to a boil, then let it simmer until thickened.
Once my oven was ready, I started slowly warming my trusty 6 inch cast iron pan on the burner at medium low. I grabbed one of the dough balls and started gently stretching it into a round shape, attempting to keep the thickness approximately the same. Carefully, I placed this dough in the hot cast iron pan. Once it started bubbling, I brushed the top with olive oil and seasoned with salt and pepper.
I spooned some pizza sauce in, then topped with cheese and mushrooms**. Carefully, I placed this pan into the oven for 10-15 minutes. It’s important to keep an eye on these pizzas as it’s easy to accidentally burn them in such a hot oven. Once the cheese was bubbling, I reached in a carefully removed the pan from the oven and transferred it to a plate. It was beautiful.
I, of course, had five more pizzas to make, so I continued the cycle. I’m lucky to have a wealth of cast iron, so I used a few different shapes and sizes to keep the ball rolling. Making these pizzas really heats up the kitchen and makes it smell amazing. Don’t be daunted by making your own pizzas, these make great leftovers for a brag worthy office lunch.
*Here is the dough recipe I used from Epicurious:
7.5 cups (1000 grams) of GT Culinary Flour, plus extra for shaping
3 cups water
4 tsp sea salt
½ tsp active dry yeast
Whisk together dry ingredients. Mix in water using a wooden spoon until well incorporated. Let rise at least 18 hours until doubled in size. Plop out onto a floured work surface and shape into a rough rectangle. Divide into 6 equal parts. Pull corners into center and turn over, seam side down. Let rest for one hour before cooking.
**Here is a list of topping ideas. Mix and match and try something new!
Tomato Pizza sauce
Pesto from the Woodland Herb Farm
Barbecue sauce from Harwood Gold
Burrata from Boss Mouse
Feta from Meadow View Goat Dairy
Goat Cheese from Idyll Farms
Sauteed mushrooms from 3rd Day Farms
Fresh spinach from Second Spring Farm
Sliced tomatoes from 9 Bean Rows
Sliced ham or ground sausage from Maxbauer’s Meat Market
Red onions from Tantre Farms
Roasted Garlic from Dyer Family Organic Farm
Hot pepper rings
Anything you want!
See above for cooking method. There is no real recipe for these pizzas, so be creative and give it a shot!