October 17th 2007
archived under: ERRORS

This homemade pizza had not one, but TWO glaring errors.

Number 1… the crust didn’t rise. I haven’t used yeast successfully yet. This was my first experience with it. But I thought that you’re supposed to add the yeast to the warm water/sugar/salt, let it do its thing, and THEN add dry ingredients. This recipe didn’t do it that way, so maybe that’s why. Or maybe my yeast was dead. I’ll try something else later and we’ll see.

Number 2… you know how most pizza sauce has a bit of sweetness? I added sugar to my sauce, but I added WAY too much. Not a fan. Oops.

The husband said, “Well, it’s not totally disgusting.”


Anyway, do you have a failproof yeasty pizza crust recipe? Preferably something that won’t take an hour and a half to do? What about turning spaghetti sauce into pizza sauce? AND… I used mozzarella cheese, which I love, but it didn’t do that stretchy pizza-cheese thing when I bit into it. How is that achieved?

I love pizza and I’d love to know how to make a delicious restaurant-quality pizza at home, but this was NOT it. Please help me!

agnespterry (1 comments)

On a great pizza recipe . . . I know this is belated but I stumbled across your blog and this entry google-ing and thought I would add a comment. Hope you don’t mind. Good luck with homemade pizza, and I hope you have not given up on it!

Here is a Focaccia bread crust that works really, really well. I have used it for years and you can have supper in about 50 minutes, and most of that time is waiting for the rise. It is a recipe passed down from my Italian family– super easy.

Pizza Dough:

1 cup warm water
1 packet yeast, or 2 and 1/4 t yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1 T oil
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt

To test if your yeast is good: add yeast to warm water (think the temp you would serve milk to a baby- hot, but not so hot it is uncomfortable for your fingers); add sugar and oil to promote the yeast to eat. If the yeast is alive it ought to start to sort of foam-bubble at the top after about five minutes or so.

Once that is done, stir in a cup of flour and THEN the salt, then the other cup of flour. (Salt can kill yeast with prolonged, *direct* contact. Flour is a good buffer.) If the dough seems too sticky, add in more flour while kneading the dough. Let sit in an oiled, covered bowl for 30 minutes to rise. You can skip this if you are in an extreme hurry, but the pizza will not be quite as good and you will have a smaller, thicker pizza.

Turn on oven to 400 degrees. Spray a pan, dump the dough onto the tray and oil your hands. Spread out the dough until it is as thin as you like. Add pizza sauce (I use Hunt’s Zesty Tomato sauce), cheese, +toppings. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until cheese is browned.

If you were to make traditional Focaccia, like the kind my great-grandfather would make, you would skip the pizza toppings and instead use 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, cracked pepper and pressed garlic; you would spread out the dough, dimple it with your fingers, spread out the oil and add the other topping to your taste and then bake it for the same time period. Delicious served with spaghetti!

BreadBox (3 comments)

Doug is right about the salt: it can even kill the yeast if you are unlucky. I’d recommend checking out the website of A Year In Bread at http://ayearinbread.earthandhearth.com/
They have lots of good recipes, and in particular some good pizza stuff. I’d also be happy to send you some recipes I wrote up when I was teaching breadmaking on a semi-regular basis. Email me if you want them.

A tip for cutting the prep time after a long day at work: make the dough a day or four ahead of time, put it in a ziplock bag in the fridge (make sure that there is enough room in the bag for the dough to expand!) Take it out a half hour or so before you want to bake it: let it relax, stretch it or spin it, top it and bake it.


yayanana (122 comments)

Absolutely on the whole milk mozzerella! and for the sauce, if you make a seasoned sauce based on tomato paste, you might be real happy.

charlie (11 comments)

Ditto on the whole milk mozzarella. It’s better anyway.

When I made pizza dough, I’d put it in the bathroom to rise while a shower of only hot water was running with the curtain open. Obviously I’d turn off the water at a certain point, but the hot moistness is achieved very easily that way.

Sarah (18 comments)

I’m a big fan of the pizza dough recipe in How to Cook Everything — works every time!

Doug (7 comments)

Unless it is a recipe which explicitly needs a slow rise, starting your yeast separately as you described should be a defaut action. I’d even hold off on the salt until I knew the yeast was started (foamy). Salt slows the little guys doing their job.

Stormimay (20 comments)

Hey, someone else with yeast issues! lol I was a good cook/baker for years before I managed to figure out yeast; I felt like such a failure there. I learned by starting with yeast-based sourdough starters from allrecipes.com I know that using yeast in sourdough starter is cheating, but it works and it’s easier.
I just use plain spaghetti sauce for pizza.
Whole milk mozzarella is much better if you want strings. You may have to look for it in a different section of the grocery store. I haven’t tried it packed in water. I like adding shredded colby/jack to my pizzas too.

mub (25 comments)


That’s the recipe I always use to make pizza dough, but it really does take awhile for it to rise… I just toss it into my breadmaker on the dough setting and don’t mess with it until it beeps. I use basic spaghetti sauce (without meat and chunks of onion) for my sauce and it works out really well. I only get stringy cheese when I use mozzarella packed in water. I don’t know if it’s because the pre-shredded kind has such a low moisture content or what.

I am curious about the recipe you used for the dough, because sometimes I want a thin crunchy non-yeasty recipe!

Leslie (1 comments)

In every yeast dough recipe I’ve used, you don’t mix the salt with the water/sugar/yeast mixture since I believe it kills the yeast. :/

I’ve had good luck with this recipe:

Hope this helps. :)

Amanda (1 comments)

I kinda use spaghetti sauce as pizza sauce. I just use a can of tomato sauce(or crushed tomatoes), add some garlic, oregano, crushed red pepper, and a bay leaf. I let that simmer for an hour or so. I think the tomatoes by themselves give enough sweetness to it so I don’t add any sugar.

And for the mozzarella, I use the big pieces of mozzarella instead of shredded and it gives me the ooey gooey goodness.

I have no crust recipes though. I’m the girl that uses the canned refrigerated dough because I’m too lazy to make my own.

When I make pizza at home, I’ll usually defrost a loaf of frozen bread dough following the instructions on the package. After it’s risen, I press it into my pizza pan, and if I have the time, I’ll prebake it for a little while to get that nice crusty bottom. Otherwise, I just bake the pizza with the toppings already on (my hubby’s favorite is sauteed chicken with lots of garlic and onions).

For the sauce, I almost always use straight spaghetti sauce. I’ve also been known to buy the Ragu pizza quick or whatever it’s called. It’s not bad.

If you really want that stretchy cheese thing, you might want to try whole milk mozzarella instead of the usual skim stuff. I’ve only found it in blocks, never pre-shredded.

Hope this helps!

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