I love making pizza and calzones, they’re easy and kid-friendly. They’re also a great way to use up leftovers and make cheap ingredient seem gourmet, and it allows everyone in my family to have exactly what they want without making 7 different meals.
The key to good pizza (and calzones) is a good, pliable dough. Canned and bakery-prepared dough is difficult to work with, super sticky and expensive. Making your own dough allows you to control the ingredients and cost, and it doesn’t take a baking expert.
The following recipe is something I came up with after experimenting with several recipes. It’s super easy and can be made without a dough hook. It makes 2 large pizzas, 6-8 personal pizzas or 6 good size calzones. Shake it up a bit and add your favorite spices for a little extra pizzazz.
5 cups flour, give or take
1 Tbsp honey OR 1 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp oil (I use olive) + more for topping**
1 C warm water
1 packet yeast (about 2.25 tsp)
your favorite seasonings (optional)
Pour the yeast into the water water, mix well. Add the honey or sugar and mix again. Let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes. Add oil and mix well.
Put the flour in a large bowl, slowly add the yeast mixture. Add desired seasonings. Mix with a large spoon or by hand until it forms a ball.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for about 5 minutes. The longer you knead it the higher the crust will rise.
Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with a wet, warm tea towel. Allow the dough to rise for an hour (reduce to 30 minutes for a thin, flakey crust and increase rising time to 2-3 hours for a deep dish pizza).
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Grease a baking sheet. On a floured surface sprinkle cornmeal and press the dough into it, then roll out dough to desired size. Transfer rolled-out dough to the baking sheet and brush olive oil on crust. Use a fork to prick holes every few inches in the crust. Top as desired and bake 15-18 minutes.
To make calzones follow the same directions but roll the dough out extra thin, add filling to half of the dough circle. Fold the dough over, pressing a fork against the edge to seal. Brush calzone with olive oil. Prick some holes in the calzone with a fork. Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes.
**You can use any oil you like but I used Filippo Berio Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I’m a Bzzagent and they sent me some to try for free. I love this stuff, the taste is pure and the consistency is perfect!