I don’t know about you but I LOVE pizza!
But I hate all the junk that is put in pizza, the cost of ordering it, all the grease that is included, and the taste of most frozen pizzas. So I decided it was time to do something about it.
It started with a trip to the dollar store and Walmart (which is in the same parking lot). At the dollar store I found these great pizza pans for only a dollar (shock!) each. Although they aren’t the best quality, they are better than the disposable aluminum pans you can by because these don’t bend (very important when making freezer food, I have learned). I picked up four so that I could make several up all at one time.
At Walmart I discovered yeast that is designed just for making your own pizzas. I decided to give it a try and have had great success with it! It doesn’t require time to rise like normal yeast and isn’t as temperamental as I have found other yeasts to be. But it still creates an amazing pizza dough! (Bonus, the recipe is right on the back of the package!)
The first time I made the pizzas up I tried using cling wrap to cover the pizzas. This did not work at all! Not only did it not stick very well, it didn’t keep the air out, and it meant that my pizzas had to stay in the flat position the entire time they were in the freezer. Another trip to Walmart and I discovered these bags by Hefty. Boy are they big! But they fit my 12″ pizza pans in them perfectly and keep the pizzas nice and fresh! (They did cost quite a bit but they have lasted me several months. The new packages have 15 in them so I could see getting 4-5 months of pizzas out of them.)
Pizza sauce is totally up to you and your preference. We buy Hunts because we like the taste and you just can’t beat the price. It costs me around $1 for a can and I can make 4 pizzas out of it and still have a little bit of dipping sauce left over when I am done. Here’s the one we are using now. I also really like the garlic and onion one. If you want to avoid canned sauce you can easily make it yourself, or you can choose a healthier sauce available in your area.
The only other thing you need are toppings! I usually make my pizzas half cheese (which is my fave) and half pepperoni/mushroom (Aaron’s fave). This month they are all cheese because my pepperonis went bad on me. But you can buy a big bag of pepperonis, use a few, and freeze the rest. They can last you several months that way. I buy my cheese from Sam’s in a giant 10 pound bag. Usually I use part of the cheese to make up a couple of lasagnas as well (these are also great to freeze!). This month we have just been using the leftovers in a variety of different cheese-y dishes like quesadillas and mac n cheese.
Now that you have all the tools, lets get cooking!
The first thing I do is open my can of sauce and pour it into a sauce pan. I don’t like to eat tomato sauce straight out the can. For some reason I always feel the need to add more flavors. With the cheese sauce I usually add garlic powder, onion powder, minced garlic, Italian seasoning, and a little chili powder. You can add all kinds of things to your sauce depending on what you like. Try adding cheese, or basil, or maybe a bay leaf. Whatever you decide to do, allow your sauce to simmer on low while you prepare the rest of the pizza. Here’s what mine looks like when all the flavors have simmered for awhile.
While your sauce is simmering, start making up your dough. I use whole wheat flour for the all of the flour generally, but I do occasionally substitute a portion of Ground Flax Seed for some of the flour. This adds some good for you Omega 3s and I don’t taste it at all in the finished pizza.
Here’s the recipe, as I follow it, to make enough dough for 4 pizzas. I did all the math for you!
If you just want the recipe for one pizza, you can find it on the website (click on the link below) or on the back of the yeast package.
Fleischmann’s Pizza Crust Yeast Crust Directions
Yields 4 12″ regular crust pizzas
4 Cups of Flour (Whole Wheat or White All Purpose), plus additional flour for getting dough to correct consistency
4 Envelopes of yeast
6 Teaspoons of sugar
3 Teaspoons of salt (or garlic salt if you want the garlic flavor)
2 2/3 Cup Water (120°-130°F)
3/4 Cup Oil (I suggest olive oil)
Preheat your oven to 425°F. (Even though you are making frozen pizzas you are going to cook the dough before you assemble the pizzas and freeze them.)
Combine flour, yeast, sugar, and salt into a large bowl. (If you want to add seasonings, like Italian seasoning, onion powder, etc. do so now.)
Add water and oil, mixing until blended.
Add flour as needed to get the dough to resemble a soft ball. It will be slightly sticky.
Pour the ball onto a floured surface. With hands covered in flour knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. This should only take a few minutes.
Divide the dough into four balls (I find a kitchen scale is helpful in getting even proportions).
On greased pizza pans, spread out the dough.
Now here is where their recipe and mine varies.
DO NOT PUT ANY TOPPINGS ON YOUR PIZZA. You do not want the cheese to cook yet.
Bake your pizza crust (ONLY THE CRUST) on the bottom rack for 12-15 minutes. You want your crust to be a light golden color. It is okay if isn’t quite cooked to the texture you like, it will be cooked more later.
Pull out the crusts and allow to cool completely. At this point I stop heating the sauce allowing it to cool as well. You want the crust and the sauce to be room temperature.
Now comes the fun part!
followed by whatever other toppings I am using. Once the pizza is how I want it, I carefully put the pans into their individual bags.
This can be a bit tricky, but a 12″ pizza pan should fit perfectly in one of the Hefty bags. Get out as much air as possible and seal.
Next, stack the pizzas on top of each other laying them flat in the freezer. Once they have frozen (give them a few hours to freeze completely, or just let them freeze overnight) you can put them in the freezer however they fit best. I usually take them out to our deep freeze, and stand them vertically.
And that’s it! You now have your own frozen pizzas!
When you are ready to eat them, pull one out, allow to defrost some on the counter (you don’t have to completely defrost but I find it helps if I let it sit out for a bit) while you preheat the oven. I find that if I cook them in my oven at 375°F for about 15-20 minutes that I get a nicely cooked pizza. You are looking for the crust to be nice and brown (but obviously not burned) and the cheese to be nice and bubbly.
Doesn’t it look fantastic!
Let me know if you give it a try. I’d love to hear how you adapt the recipe!