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Homemade pizza is my house specialty; I’ve been making it since I was a newlywed. LDB and I received a pizza pan and cook book, Pizza California Style, by Norman Kolpas, as a wedding shower gift, and I gave it a whirl. I wasn’t intimidated by the yeast dough recipe because I had seen my mother make bread since I was a child. Thank ya, Mom! Anyway, for years my family enjoyed “Friday Night Pizza” back when I could count on the three kids to be home. I’d start making the dough around 5:30, and we’d be eating by 7:15. Yes, it is my version of “slow cooking.” I wish I had kept a tally of pizzas that have emerged from my ovens over the years. I’ve forced it on more guests than you can imagine. I even made a gluten-free dough to serve a Little League baseball player from Japan on an exchange trip. Numerous friends have requested my recipe, so here it is in more detail than I’ve been able to offer in the past.

The heart of the recipe is the dough. After that, you can customize as desired. I included a list of several toppings we like, as well as a homemade sauce recipe. The beauty of homemade pizza is its cost and nutritional value: homemade pizza costs less to serve than prepared pizza and enables you to control the ingredients consumed. When we are feeling pudgy, I make an all-veggie pie, and go easy on the cheese. Breakfast pizza? We’ve done it! The dough recipe makes two 12″ pies. My usual combination is to do one cheese and pepperoni, and one “whatever I have on hand” type.

Pizza Dough (from Pizza California Style)


  • 1 packet, or 1 heaping tablespoon, dry active yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sugar, divided
  • 1 1/2 cup very warm water
  • 3 cups all purpose flour (I use King Arthur unbleached) + more for rolling dough
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Other Supplies:

  • 2 13″ round pizza pans, preferably with small holes punched through the bottom
  • Heavy-duty stand mixer (much easier with one, but still do-able without) fitted with paddle attachment.
  • Large bowl
  • Kitchen towel
  • 1 liquid measuring cup
  • 1 small whisk if available, otherwise a fork
  • Flexible spatula
  • Non-stick cooking spray, such as Pam
  • Tablespoon and teaspoon measuring spoons

Get Going with the Dough

Run the tap water until very warm. To measuring cup, add yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar and 1/2 cup very warm water. Using whisk or fork, blend contents briskly. Let yeast mixture bubble up until foamy, about 3-5 minutes, or until it looks like this:

While waiting on the yeast to foam, mix the rest of the dough ingredients as follows:

  • To stand mixing bowl add flour, rest of sugar, Parmesan cheese. With mixer running, add the olive oil.
  • Once yeast is foamy, add to flour mixture and combine. To measuring cup, add 1 cup very warm water. With mixer running, add water – a little at a time – until the dough pulls away from the sides of the mixing bowl. If your dough is too sticky to pull away from the side, add a little flour. It should look like this when ready:

Spray large bowl with non-stick spray. Turn dough out into the bowl using the spatula. Wet a kitchen towel with warm water, then cover bowl with towel.

Put the bowl in a non-drafty area of your kitchen and let the dough rise for about 45 minutes, or until it has doubled in bulk. In winter months, it may take longer for dough to rise.

Lastly, position oven racks to accommodate two pizzas, then preheat oven to 500 degrees.

While dough is rising, prepare your toppings.


For convenience I use prepared pasta sauce, watching the sodium content on the label. Brands I prefer are Paul Newman’s Tomato and Basil, and Muir Glen Organic Tomato Basil. At the bottom of this post is a recipe for homemade tomato sauce which came from my brother. Each pizza requires about 1/2 cup of sauce.

Other toppings

  • shredded mozzarella cheese, 2 cups for each pizza
  • sliced olives
  • veggies: red pepper, green onion, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms
  • meats: pepperoni, regular and turkey, pork sausage
  • goat cheese
  • small sliced wedges of pineapple
  • fresh basil leaves, torn

When dough has doubled in bulk, it will look something like this:

Now you are ready to roll the dough and assemble the pizzas. First, with your hand dusted in flour, punch down the dough as shown here:

Next roll out the dough. Scoop the dough into a ball, and turn out onto the rolling surface. Divide dough in half. Begin rolling into a 12″ circle.

Next, gently lift the dough on to the pan. It’s time to spread your sauce and toppings.

Once you have “dressed” your pizza, bake for 10 minutes in the pre-heated 500 degree oven.

Go ahead, make it a family tradition!

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Pizza Sauce (published source unknown)


  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup minced onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

Steep dry herbs in wine for 15+ minutes. Over medium heat, saute onion and garlic in olive oil. Add tomatoes and paste, then herbs and wine. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and puree in a blender until smooth. Return to pan and simmer without cover until sauce thickens.