Steven’s Family Pizza Recipe

I did not make this either. Also steven’s.

The Sauce: Start off with a large can of Redpack pizza sauce – about a gallon size
can. We bring ours down here to Alabama from Erie on each visit. You could
experiment with what is available in your area.

Dump this into a large pot, start warming it. You will only warm the mix while you are preparing it then I put mine into containers holding enough for 2 or 3 pizzas and freeze it. The freezing actually bursts the seasoning and herbs allowing them to mix with the sauce. It seems to get more flavorful after freezing but can be used immediately if you are making a new batch of sauce.

Mix in 1 1/2 cups dried, shredded or chopped up basil leaves.
Mix in 3/4 cup of oregano
1 or 2 tablespoons of virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of granular sugar – less if you prefer a less sweet flavor to the sauce
1 tablespoon of salt
1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper (depends on how spicy you want the flavor to feel)
1 or 2 teaspoons of garlic powder (depends on how much you like garlic or want the flavor to stand out)
1 teaspoon of baking soda
2 small cans of tomato paste – I’ve stopped using this, my wife doesn’t care for it. I’ve been thinking of replacing it with sauce but for now I skip it without any noticeable difference. I’m thinking the sauce might thin it out a little as it thickens up quite a bit.
Containerize and freeze it. You should have enough for about 12- 14 pizzas.
Thaw before using. I use 3 – 6 minutes in the microwave with a power
setting of 4 to quickly thaw it. Any leftover I just cover back up and
throw in the freezer. Small containers work better than large for the
thawing process.

For the shell I use to make it from scratch but I’ve found the Martha
White pizza mix to be just as good and definitely quicker. I use an 18″
round tray, no holes, to bake the shell on. Crispy crust is obtained
with lower temperatures, high temperatures tend to result in a more
doughy type crust.

1 package spread thin across the pan is a very thin crispy crust, 1 and
a half packages over the same is still a thin crust but with a little
more to it. 2 packages will give you a standard crust. I only mix up
ingredients for one shell at a time.

The amount of water you add to the mix is so critical. Try making a
couple using less than, nearly as much, the exact amount and then
slightly more to learn the differences it makes in the crust and to find
out which you prefer. Too much water can make it very tough to handle
as a sticky mess, add some regular flour if you need to dry it up some
or more water if it is too dry. Remember to multiply the amount of
water by the number of packages you are using. Too dry dough will keep
pulling back into a ball instead of spinning out into a shell.
I use virgin olive oil on the tray and my hands to keep it from sticking
while I’m handling it and for baking. Light use of oil will not affect
the crust but a heavy coating can change it, depends on how heavy you
like the crust.

Definitely let it set for at least 5 minutes to activate the yeast in
the mix. Keep it covered with a damp paper towel so it doesn’t dry out.
Sometimes I truly toss the pizza in the air (beware of ceiling fans) and
other times I use a rolling pin to rough the shape. I do it on the
counter, pick it up and then stretch it out across the pan. Use your
palm to build up a ring around the edge for a nice rolled crusty edge.
Push the dough around to even out some of the thin spots or to fix
holes.

With the shell spread on the sheet take a fork to tap small holes in the
shell to minimize any large air pockets from forming while it is
cooking. You want some air pockets of moderate size to make the shell
light and puffy.

Bake just the shell for 6 – 9 minutes, center shelf at 450F. Thin
crusts take less time than thick. This takes practice to learn where
you like the texture to come out at. The thin crust are easier to
recognize because areas will start to brown and its ready quickly all
the way through.

Pull the shell out, start your next shell baking while you add the
toppings to the first one.
After spreading the sauce on the shell, lightly dust with fresh Parmesan
cheese before putting on the Mozzarella or whatever your choice of
cheese is. I put about 2 cups of mozzarella on a single pizza.
I like to add the pepperoni slices and green bell pepper strips last.
Some parts of the country like to bury the pepperoni.
Pull out the second shell, the timer should be going off about now.
Put in the prepared pizza and bake for another 7 – 9 minutes at the
450F. You are watching for the cheese to just start getting the brown
spots appearing, it should be a bubbling mix.

Top the second pizza while the first one is in the finish bake stage.
If the kids are hungry then we bake and eat both. If not I take the
second pizza with its toppings and instead of baking I slip it into a
large plastic bag and set it in the freezer for another night. To cook
I just heat up the oven to 450F, place the frozen pizza on the pan and
bake for 10 – 15 minutes, I watch for the cheese to get just right and
then pull it out.

I use a dedicated wooden cutting board for our pizza. I place a
teaspoon of virgin olive oil in the center with about a half teaspoon of
salt. I smear this around the board with the palm of my hand. When the
pizza comes out of the oven I slide it off the metal tray onto the
cutting board. The pizza picks up a small amount of the salt and oil
that hits your tongue when you take a bite.
The crust can be made crispier by using olive oil to coat the shell or
more bread like by skipping the oil.

This has taken me about 30 years to develop and learn what works and
doesn’t for me but you will need to play and experiment to increase the
flavors you like strong or weak and the dough the way you like it. We
hope you find it enjoyable.

Another variation that you can do for a change is take the rolled out
dough cut it into 4 equal pie slices. Take each slice place your sauce
and toppings on one half of the slice and then pull the other half over
it and pinch the edges off sealing the toppings inside. Place this in
the oven until the crust starts to brown. YUMMY.

I’ve made bread sticks with the mix but coat them with olive oil so
they get a nice crispy brown coating. Dip them in the pizza sauce.
Always be careful not to burn yourself – the cheese keeps the heat in.

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