Homemade pizza has become one of my favorite family meals for many reasons. First ((and most importantly)) it tastes SO good. Second, I am just so very tickled that I have figured out at least ONE way to use yeast correctly; am I the only one who is scared of yeast?! Third, creating new flavors of dough & topping combinations is very liberating ((it’s also an EXCELLENT way to clean out the fridge…))! But most of all, I love how interested in cooking the kids become and the dinner table is certain to be packed with happy eaters.
As you may remember, I was taught to make pizza dough by the head chef ((Tyler Rodde)) of Oenotri, an awesome Italian restaurant in Napa. Chef Tyler definitely got me over the hump of being too afraid to try homemade pizza. But after 12 weeks of working it out in my own kitchen, I finally feel liked I have learned how to make pizza.
Nothing replaces hands on trial and error. Yes – there have been several errors — like ::
- trying to speed up the rising process by setting the trays of pizza dough on top of my hot convection oven. Yes, that actually BAKED the bottom of each dough ball while leaving the top raw.
- storing dough balls lightly with plastic wrap and refrigerating over night. Probably would not be a problem in your kitchen, but my fridge decided to drip condensation all night long — on top of the plastic wrap. By morning, the dough balls were sitting in a pool of water.
- not paying attention to brand & type of yeast. Not all yeast is created equal – believe me.
- baking temperature. After playing with temps for a while, I have figured out preheating the oven ((and pizza stone)) for an hour at 500° and baking at that same temp yields the most perfect, crisp crust.
Yes, I would say I have learned some things!
One of my recent pizza creations is this “Frito Chili Pizza Pie”. I was so easy and ((honestly)) ranks right up there with my all-time pizza favorites. The kids LOVED it – and all commented on how the diced onion made it even better. Only one kiddo likes onion, the other 3 literally cry when they see onions in food – so that tells you just how VERY good this pizza is.
Before we talk toppings, let me pause and tell you about the pizza dough. I have found making a 48 oz. batch of dough is perfect for our herd. Once the dough has had it’s first rise, I divide it into 4 – 12 oz. balls, cover & refrigerate until ready to use. I usually make two pizzas one night and then two pizzas a few nights later.
This dough was made with a mixture of half water & half stout beer. If you make the same recipe adjustment, just make sure the beer is room temperature or else it will stunt the yeast ((and that’s BAD)). I like the extra flavor beer adds to the dough. You can certainly omit it or use all beer.
For the toppings, I used 1 can of Hormel Chili ((no beans)), shredded cheddar cheese, Fritos & diced onions. Just spread ½ of the can of chili over the pizza & top with chips, cheese & onions.
Bake for 8-12 minutes ((depending on the size & thickness of your crust)) at 500°.
Isn’t it beautiful?? After the first bite, I wondered — “why haven’t I seen this pizza before??” It should be on every menu EVERYWHERE! It’s so good! I wonder what pizza I will create next??? hmmm.
- 2 - 12 oz pizza dough balls*
- 1 can Hormel chili ((I prefer no beans))
- 4 c Fritos ((roughly))
- 4 c shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 c diced white onion
- black pepper
- semolina ((for easy transfer))
- Preheat oven and pizza stone to 500° for one hour. Once oven is preheated, stretch out dough to desired thickness. Place the dough on a peel or a pan that has been covered in semolina. Top each with 1/2 of the chili, chips, cheese & onions. Season with black pepper and transfer the pizza from the peel onto the stone. Bake for 8-12 minutes (depending on size & thickness of your dough). Once pizza is done, remove from oven and bake second pizza. Allow the pizza to cool for 2 minutes before slicing and serving.
- Serves 6
- *Either make your own - a link to the recipe I use is in the body of this post - OR use store bought.