I promise you that after this recipe, you will never be getting takeout pizza again. From the dough to the sauce to the amazingly spicy & sweet sauce, everything is from scratch. The best thing about homemade pizza is that everything is so, so fresh. I find that when making simple recipes like this, choosing the freshest ingredients and toppings make such a difference in your food so now is the time to use those fresh herbs in your garden or pick the juiciest, red roma tomatoes.
I know you may be thinking "honey? on pizza?". Just trust me here. I mean a PB&J is salty and sweet -- that's the same idea here, you get the salty from the pizza and that sweetness from the honey with a little bit of spice. After this, you will want to put this on everythinnngg.
I know that making fresh dough can be intimidating but don't worry, pizza dough is fool proof. When making your dough, the first thing to make sure is that your yeast has foamed in your water --- it will look like a science experiment. You will see bubbles and the bacteria (because yeast is a bacteria) growing which is exactly what you want --- this means the yeast is alive and will make your dough rise and become fluffy. The top left picture is what you want your yeast to look like when you put it into the bowl and the bottom right is after it has risen and ready to be rolled out.
Ohh and now the sauce - my favorite part of the recipe. When I was younger, my family would make homemade pizza with the Trader Joe's pre-made pizza dough and my Grandma would make her pizza sauce. Bringing her own Indian flare to the dish, it wasn't you traditional pizza sauce but it's what I remembered and loved. The one odd ingredient here is bell pepper but I'm telling you, it adds such a nice sweetness --- also such an easy way to sneak in veggies!
The assembly is where you can get your entire family, even kids, involved! It doesn't get easier than forming the dough in a circle (you don't even need a rolling pin, just your hands), spreading the sauce and then adding the toppings of your choice. When baking it, you want your oven to mimic a pizza oven and the best way is heating your oven up to as high as it can go (like 500 or 550 degrees Fahrenheit) and preheating your baking tray or cast iron pan. By making the pan super hot, you will be able to create a super nice, crispy crust on the bottom. Okay now what are you waiting for?
Homemade Pizza with Hot Honey print
In a large bowl, combine your warm water, yeast and sugar. Make sure your water is warm to the touch but not so hot that you burn yourself- you need the warm enough temperature to activate the yeast but not kill it. Mix and let it sit for 5 - 7 minutes until you see bubbles and foam forming; if nothing changes then either your yeast has expired or the water was too hot --- try again if this happens. Add the flour, 3 tbsp olive oil and salt. Mix together in the bowl using a stand mixer or your hands. Once a dough forms, dump it out onto a cleaned, lightly floured surface and knead it until a smooth ball forms. Add a little bit of water or flour as needed to get the right consistency. Oil a bowl with the remaining 1 tbsp of olive oil and place your dough ball in it. Cover it with a towel or cling wrap. Keep in a warm place and let it rise for one hour until tripled in size. Read further for cooking directions.
In a saucepan, add the oil, salt, sugar, onions, garlic and bell pepper. The bell pepper brings in some sweetness and also an easy way to sneak in veggies into the sauce. Saute for 5 - 7 minutes on medium low heat until the onions turn translucent and everything is soft & jammy. Add in your tomatoes (along with the sauce in the can), dried herbs, black pepper, red pepper flakes and sugar. Mix together and use the back of your spoon to break the tomatoes up. Turn the gas to low and cover your pan with a lid; cook on low for 10 minutes.
Turn off the heat once done and add in the freshly chopped basil if using. Set aside until using; this is great to make ahead and keep in the fridge until needed.
¼ cup honey
1 tbsp red pepper flakes (less if you don’t want it super spicy)
1 garlic clove
Combine everything in a small pan on low heat. Mix together until everything becomes bubbly -- remove from the heat immediately as you do not want this mixture to thicken. Pour into a heat proof container. Store until ready to use; can be stored where you normally keep honey or on the counter. The longer this sits, the more flavor it develops. Perfect on anything salty such as this pizza, cheesy bread, plain bread...etc. I like to warm it up in the microwave before serving as it makes it easier to drizzle.
Preheat your oven to as high as it can go --- 500 or 550 degrees Fahrenheit will work perfectly. If you have a cast iron pan, this will make an amazing crust for your pizza. If not, you can use a baking pan. Place either in the oven while it’s preheating and let it sit for 10 minutes longer so it can get really hot. While the pan is preheating, flour your work surface and punch down your risen dough. Place the dough onto your work surface and using your fingers, push the dough into the shape of your choice. I like thick crusts so I didn’t stretch the dough much. Layer on your sauce and your toppings (except the fresh basil). Once your pan is hot, carefully remove it from the oven and slide your pizza onto it; you may need the help of some big spatulas or another baking tray. Bake for 10 minutes until the dough is slightly browned and cheese it melty.
Top your pizza with basil, black pepper and the hot honey. Eat immediately!
When choosing toppings for your pizza, I like to choose low moisture ingredients so that the pizza doesn’t get too wet and soggy. If you are using ingredients that have a lot of moisture such as tomatoes or buffalo mozzarella, balance out the moisture by ensuring the rest of your toppings don’t have a lot of liquid.
Vegetables that are good to use are mushrooms, squash, onions, figs, bell pepper...really anything. Good cheeses are feta, goat cheese, mozzarella...etc. You can use anything you have in your kitchen but it’s all about having a good balance of flavors and textures.
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