FLF-mandel smith

Pizza can be a quick dinner option for families with busy schedules. What can beat having a pizza delivered right to your door in minutes? How about having a hot delicious pizza right from your oven in even less time. Homemade pizza is a great way to serve a healthier version of a family favorite.

The ingredients for homemade pizza are usually items that are already in the pantry. Basic pizza crust requires flour, yeast, salt, water and oil. To keep pizza healthy, make sure to top it with low-fat, low-calorie ingredients. Pizza toppings can range from tomato sauce and cheese to a combination of lean meat and vegetables.

The process for making homemade yeast pizza crust is simple (see recipe below). Another option for making a quick pizza is to purchase the dough already made. Grocery stores sometimes sell dough in the deli or prepared food section of the store. Also, check the frozen food aisle for frozen pizza dough varieties.

Pizzas can be baked on baking pans, pizza pans or a pizza stone. A pizza stone is made of natural porous stone that absorbs, retains and spreads heat evenly. This helps the pizza develop a golden crust with evenly cooked, bubbly toppings. You can also use the pizza stone for baking breads and flatbreads.

Basic Pizza Dough Recipe

  • 1 teaspoon rapid rise yeast
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 cup bread flour (approximately)

Mix yeast, water, salt and oil. Add about 1 cup flour to make a stiff dough. The amount of flour may vary slightly.

Knead the dough until it is very elastic (it will stretch and not make a hole).

Form your dough into a thin or thick crust, as desired. Lay it on a greased baking sheet to rise while you prepare toppings for pizza.

Bake the pizza at 400 F with desired toppings until crust is browned and top is bubbly.

The dough for this crust also can be prepared ahead of time and frozen. Just wrap kneaded dough in plastic wrap that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and place it in a freezer bag. The dough can be frozen for up to 4 weeks. Thaw frozen dough in the refrigerator.

There are quick options for the pizza sauce as well. You can simply use pizza or even spaghetti sauce from a jar. Or, a simple pizza sauce can be made with a few ingredients.

Homemade Pizza Sauce

1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce, unsalted

Mix the tomato sauce with a combination of any or all the following seasonings:

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Vegetables make a wonderful pizza topping. Some favorite low-calorie vegetable toppings include peppers, onions, olives, tomatoes, mushrooms, broccoli and spinach. Try a combination of these vegetables on your pizza. If you are adding meat to the pizza, make sure to choose lower fat versions such as turkey sausage, turkey pepperoni and low-sodium Canadian bacon.

Making your own pizza is a great way to introduce breadmaking to children. This is also a great way to get the entire family into the kitchen. Homemade pizza can be healthy, fun to prepare and less expensive than ordering from the pizza delivery shop.

The USDA Mixing Bowl website has other recipes for homemade pizza and pizza crust. Try the Whole Wheat Pizza crust, at https://whatscooking.fns.usda.gov/recipes/print/2666, for a version that is higher in fiber and whole grains.

Mandel Smith is a Penn State Extension educator in Montgomery County.