We’ve brought our popular website feature, The Oven Light, to our blog! Here’s another mom-tested, family recipe we’d like to share. . . You know, we have to help keep the food-area of our lives simple too!

Many times, on the “Ask-a-Chef” Series, I’ve mentioned pizza as a staple in our household because it can be a quick, easy and even healthy meal, especially on those nights when I stare in my fridge and wonder what’s for dinner?
Doug doubles (or triples) our pizza dough recipe, let’s it rise, then divides the dough into large pizza-sized balls, pops the dough balls into small plastic bags and into the freezer they go for those in-a-pinch moments. The dough defrosts quickly on the counter top, and sometimes we even use the microwave to cheat (kneading the dough every 15-30 seconds).
Many listeners have requested our pizza recipe so here it is . . . . It may look long and complicated, but I promise it’s not. If you’re a newbie, I promise it’ll get easier each time you make it.
I also have a very simple homemade sauce recipe I’d like to share. I’ve tried many sauce recipes and this one is the winner in my book. I even double the sauce and freeze it in small batches. As for the toppings go, well, I’ll leave that up to you!

Pizza Dough

1 3/4 cups water, warm
1 tablespoon sugar
1 packet or tablespoon active dry yeast
6 cups all purpose white flour
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon salt

Preparing the dough: Pour the water into a mixing bowl and dissolve in it the sugar and yeast. When the yeast is active, add your first cup of flour, then the oil and salt. Add another 4 1/2 cups of flour, mixing with a large spoon until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl and holds together.

Simple Alert: Use your mixer and let it do the kneading for you!

Kneading: Sprinkle the last 1/2 cup of flour onto your kneading surface. Turn out the dough and knead until it begins to feel as if it really belongs together, adding only enough flour to keep it from sticking to the board or you. Let it rest while you clean and grease your bowl. Continue kneading the relaxed dough until it feels smooth and springy.

Rising: You have 2 options. Full Rise – Form the dough into a nice ball, place it in the greased bowl, turning it so the top is lightly greased also. Cover it and put it where it will be warm and cozy (no drafts). Let this rise until it is doubled (when you can poke your finger in it and the dough doesn’t spring back at you). No Rise – If this is a last minute thing, just give your dough a 5 – 10 minute rest. It won’t have quite the flavor or be as light as a fully risen dough, but it will still be better than store bought.

Shaping the dough: After the dough has risen, punch it down and turn it onto a floured board and knead out any stray bubbles. Cut it into the number of piece you need depending on whether or not you’re a thick or thin crust person. Flatten each piece with your hand and roll out with a pin you’ve dusted with flour. If it’s not being cooperative, let it rest for 3 minutes to relax the gluten. If you like softer crust, lightly wipe your pan with olive or vegetable oil. If you like a dryer, crunchier crust, sprinkle it with cornmeal. If you don’t have a pizza pan, a baking sheet with a lip with do just fine. Slide your dough onto the prepared pan (or stone if you’re using one).

Baking: The best way to bake pizza is on a stone set on the lowest rack of your oven and preheated. This makes the pizza crust crisp and brown. If you don’t have this, place the pizza on the lowest rack and bake in a pizza pan. Bake at 475º. Check after 5-10 minutes and if it is browning too quickly, lower the temperature to 450º. Bake for 15-20 depending on the thickness of the crust. Let is cool for a few minutes to solidify the cheese before cutting.


Pizza Sauce

(2) 6 ounce cans tomato paste
1 1/2 cups water
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder

Mix well in small sauce pan. Simmer, covered with lid vented, for approximately 40 min. Stir often.

Enjoy friends! Happy pizza making from The Thorntons!