What’s better than a homemade pizza? Nothing. What’s easier than heating up a frozen pizza when you’re hungry? Nothing. What’s better than a individual sized homemade frozen pizza?!?! NOTHING. I cannot even adequately express how freaking excited I am about this. Pizza from scratch. That’s frozen. That’s individually sized. So you can re-heat one anytime you want. And eat the whole thing and not feel guilty because they’re made for one person (or one 6’2, 240 lb husband). You. Are. Welcome.
Ok, let me start from the beginning. Mona is one of my girls. One of my best girls. She stood by my side in our wedding as a bridesmaid and she… Ok, I started to list all of the ways Mona has been an incredible bridesmaid / friend to us but half way down the page I had to stop myself because I started digressing into stories about Walla Walla, Washington!, and Sheriff Mona dying of syphilis. So, you’ll just have to read Mona’s amazing blog to get those stories because she tells them way better. In addition to being my party planner partner in crime, she’s also been my blogging inspiration and cheerleader. Which is super cool. I started this blog mainly as a kind of accountability. Dan and I wanted to cook from scratch, which we were mostly doing before anyway, but by me blogging about it and making a conscious effort to write about it, it made those, “oh yeah, we should do this sometime,” turn into, “I’m going to do this tonight and then blog about it.” I didn’t expect anyone to follow or pay attention. That was never the intent and surely not the expectation. But Mona raved about it and encouraged it and her excitement got me excited. And then, then she sent us a present. A present that she knew would help encourage the blog and something that she knew we’d use and love. Because she’s amazing like that.
A baking stone and a pizza paddle!! Ah-mazing. My husband was just talking about how we should look into getting an oven stone for bread baking and *poof* one shows up at our door. Seriously, Mona and her hubby are so freaking awesome.
So now that we had these pretty kickass new kitchen toys, I thought, “Yeah, more pizza!” But then I thought, “The inaugural uses have to be a little more epic than just a Monday night pizza…” Ohmygod-I’mgoingtomakefrozenpizzasfromscratch! That’s pretty much how it played out in my mind. And then I thought, “Individual sized pizzas so Dan could have them for lunches!” I know. It was amazing. And I was pretty freaking excited.
So this time, this pizza, we were making the good dough. Not the fast pizza dough we’d found online and used just because we didn’t feel like waiting; we were going to use our go to crust. Our 24 hr + prep time crust. Ok, even though it takes some time, it’s really super easy; it just takes awhile. Flour, salt, yeast, water, oil.
First, a mix of the dry ingredients.
And then the recipe calls for ice cold water so I put a few ice cubes in the water while I do everything else so they melt down and chill the water.
Then the oil…
…and water and a mix.
Until it comes together like this. We usually finish kneading it together with our hands.
Then a cover with plastic wrap and a pop in the fridge overnight.
The next day, first thing in the morning, I took it out and left it out in our (60 degree) house to “warm” up. From 6 am until 6 pm it was perfect. Risen and totally workable.
With our pizza dough all ready, all I needed was cheese, pizza sauce, and toppings. The pizza sauce was pretty simple, I still had some canned tomato paste, so I just whipped up some pizza sauce from that.
Mozzarella next, no problem. I’d made it half a dozen times in the past month, at least. I had it down to a science. So I thought.
This is what happens when you try to short cut a step and use a convection oven instead of a microwave. According to my husband, there is a big difference. And the cheese has spoken. It wants the old crappy, ugly microwave back. Yea. My poor mozzarella turned into more of a ricotta / mozzarella mix. It still tasted like mozzarella, kind of, but had a consistency that was more like ricotta. Science is hard. This is where we (and by we I mean me) went wrong: 1. I didn’t remove enough of the whey before re-heating, so my cheese was already in too much whey when I popped it in the microwave… 2. I didn’t pop it into a microwave. I popped it into a convection oven. The convection oven is much more powerful than a normal microwave (apparently you can cook chicken in it and bake freaking muffins in it…) and therefore its power level “high” is wwaaayy higher than the crappy little microwave I put back in the basement power level “high.” So, I ended up way over heating my cheese that already had too much whey that wasn’t drained out, so it was like I made ricotta in the microwave within the mozzarella. Neat. And crap.
Oh well. I was going to use it anyway, dammit. Oh and I bought an extra gallon of milk too just in case, so I made more. This time I drained the whey much better, but we hadn’t come to the conclusion about the convection oven yet so the mozzarella didn’t come out as well as it has with the microwave, but at least it wasn’t a mozzarella/ricotta cheese baby.
By this time, I just wanted to make the pizzas. So I said f-it to the cheese and said they were good enough and moved on. Dan’s favorite pizza is mushroom and onion, so I prepped some fresh mushrooms and sliced up some onion, and I was ready to start making the pizzas!
And I had a new pizza paddle to use thanks to Mona and her hubby!
I hate rolling out pizza dough. I really do. But my husband, despite knowing this, just chatted away at me while I rolled them out. To which I got more and more annoyed with and eventually said, “Don’t you know how much I hate rolling out pizza dough?” To which he replied, “All the more reason for you to practice and get better so you hate it less,” Dammit. Touche.
So I got in a lot of practice. And damn my husband, he was right. I hated it a little bit less when I was done.
After I shaped the dough, I generously floured the new paddle with semolina flour. Why semolina? Because Dan wanted it. Why? Dunno. He walked to New Seasons just for it, that’s how much he wanted semolina instead of regular flour or cornmeal. Whatever. I just went with it.
So then after our new oven stone was all heated up in the oven, I put the dough on the semolina floured paddle and slid it on to the stone. Neat. Someday I’m going to use it to slide pizzas in and out of our brick oven in our backyard. Someday. In the meantime, I pretended that our (embarrassingly dirty) old crappy oven was a brick oven.
5 minutes later, I pulled the little dough back out on to the paddle and slid it onto the foil. I just wanted a little pre-bake on the dough before freezing it.
Then a little sauce and some of the quasi mozzarella cheese…
…and Dan’s favorite toppings…
…and then wrapped up in the foil and put in the freezer. And repeat. Until I’d used all the dough, which actually ended up being most of the two batches of cheese and all of the pizza sauce.
Eight glorious individual (for Dan) sized frozen pizzas!!! Look at that beautiful freezer full of whey (on the left), chicken stock (on the right), a bunch of meat, and homemade, from scratch, lunch sized pizzas! Now, when Dan doesn’t know what to do for lunch, oh hey he can just grab a frozen pizza and stick it in the oven. When we have a busy night and we’re just running in and out but want to eat dinner at the house so we don’t spend a lot of money eating out, oh hey, let’s just throw a couple pizzas in the oven. All the benefits of homemade pizza with the convenience of frozen pizza. WIN.
The next day, my studly husband took one of the pizzas out of the freezer for lunch.
Then it was on to the pizza paddle and into the oven!
And baked on the oven stone at 400 degrees.
30 minutes later, he had homemade, from scratch pizza for lunch.
I repeat: the benefits of homemade pizza with the convenience of frozen pizza. LOVE.
- 4 1/2 Cups of bread or all purpose flour
- 1 3/4 teaspoons of salt
- 1 teaspoon of instant yeast
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 1 3/4 cups of ice cold water
- Semolina Flour or cornmeal for dusting
Stir together the flour, salt, and yeast in a 4-quart bowl. Stir in the oil and cold water until the flour is all absorbed. Develop the gluten by kneading the dough until smooth. The dough should clear the sides of the bowl but stick to the bottom of the bowl. If the dough is too wet and doesn’t come off the sides of the bowl, sprinkle in some more flour just until it clears the sides. If it clears the bottom of the bowl, dribble in a teaspoon or two of cold water. The finished dough should be springy, eslastic, and sticky, not just tacky.
(This part I totally forgot to do) Flour surface and line sheet pan with parchment paper. Cut dough into 6 pieces and roll into balls. Transfer balls to sheet pan, mist the dough with spray oil and slip pan into a food-grade pastic bag (obviously we didn’t do this).
Put pan in fridge overnight to rest the dough. It can keep up to 3 days.
When ready to use, remove dough from fridge at least 2 hours before making. Dust surface with flour and roll out dough to desired shape / thickness.
For the Frozen Pizza
Make pizza crusts. Bake in oven at 400 degrees for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and place on aluminum foil. Finish making the pizzas with sauce, cheese, and toppings of choice. Wrap up pizza in foil, and store in freezer.