A simple recipe for extra cheese pizza on top of my favorite homemade pizza crust.
Kevin’s favorite food is pizza. And for how often he eats pizza, it was about time I made the man some thick pizza crust made 100% from scratch. He likes his pizza plain and simple. A lot of cheese. Sometimes Hawaiian, sometimes BBQ chicken. But most of the time: cheese. Extra cheese, just like today’s recipe.
I, on the other hand, am all about the stuff. I like my pizza with fun (weird?) toppings like roasted eggplant, goat cheese, sun dried tomatoes, figs, butternut squash, pears, honey, and other stuff Kevin would never touch.
But one thing we can agree on: really good crust. Puffy, chewy, and thick crust. Step aside thin crust lovers, because today’s post is ALL about the crust!
Now before you begin reading, let’s discuss the fact that this is a savory recipe on Sally’s Baking Addiction. (I know!) I posted a photo of this pizza on my personal Facebook page and my friend commented “Finally! A Sally recipe my dentist can support.”
The truth is, I’ve been wanting to incorporate pizzas into my recipe repertoire and wasn’t sure how you would react. Then I thought about it again. It’s pizza. Who doesn’t love pizza? Lucky for you, I have many more varieties of pizza up my sleeve. Stay tuned.
Homemade pizza crust may sound difficult to you. Why waste the time when you can buy frozen? But trust me – homemade crust is nothing like store-bought, delivery, or what you order at a restaurant. Making pizza crust is a lot like making regular bread, only quicker and well, flatter. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that it has taken me several tries to land on my winning pizza crust recipe! We’ve been eating enough test pizza recipes this week to make the city of New York jealous.
Ok, let’s talk dough. Please read the following because knowing the ins and outs before beginning will help you tremendously.
All pizza dough recipes are different, however they typically all have the same ingredients: flour, yeast, water, salt, oil, and some may have sugar. Here is a breakdown of what I use in my recipe.
Yeast. I use Red Star Platinum yeast. I have the best results in my breads when I use their platinum line. Though I am being compensated for sponsoring Red Star Yeast, please know that I’ve loved this yeast even before working with Red Star. Their Platinum line is fantastic; its careful formula strengthens your dough and makes making working with yeast simple. I use only enough yeast to get the job done; I don’t like pizza dough to taste “yeasty.” (Technical terms here, of course.) 1 standard packet (2 and 1/4 teaspoons) is what you need for my pizza crust recipe.
Water. I tested this recipe with many different amounts of water over the past few weeks. I find that 1 and 1/3 cups is the perfect amount. Please use lukewarm water (105F – 115F). Anything over 120F will kill your yeast.
Flour. Please use unbleached all-purpose white flour in this recipe. Bleaching the flour strips away some of the protein, which will affect how much water your flour absorbs in this recipe. You may use bread flour instead, but you’ll have to increase the water by a couple Tablespoons since bread flour contains more protein than all-purpose. I do not know how to make this pizza crust gluten free. For the best results, just stick to the recipe as written.
Oil. Extra virgin gives this pizza crust the best taste. You’ll also line your bowl with olive oil as the dough rises and brush your dough with olive oil before layering on the toppings. This prevents the crust from getting soggy from the toppings.
Salt. Salt gives my pizza crust a little flavor. Pizza dough without salt tastes bland regardless of the toppings. I tested with two different amounts and 3/4 teaspoon is perfect.
Sugar. I add a touch of sugar to my pizza dough recipe. Sugar increases the yeast’s activity, while salt can control it. Furthermore, a slight touch of sugar will tenderize your dough, especially when paired with the olive oil.
Cornmeal. Not all pizza dough recipes use cornmeal to dust the pan, but I prefer it. The main reason you sprinkle cornmeal onto the bottom of your pizza pan is so that the pizza won’t stick to the bottom of the pan. It gives the pizza crust a little flavor and crispy texture as well. You could just regular flour to dust the pan, but you’ll lose the flavor cornmeal provides.
Pizza pan. Some pizza enthusiasts own pizza stones, baking stones, and pizza peels. I own none of those. My kitchen is the size of a closet (no really, it is) and I don’t have the room for fun extras like that. For this recipe, you will use a regular pizza pan or a baking sheet. Some pizza pans have a perforated surface for crisping crust – you can certianly use that if you own one.
Oven thermometer. Please buy one. Mine was less than $10. Most ovens are off by at least 25 degrees and this will have a huge (negative) effect on your baked goods. I highly suggest all of my readers own one. My oven runs extremely hot and I’ve ruined dozens of cookie batches because of it. An oven thermometer solves the issue.
Stand mixer with a dough hook. Having this is ideal for my pizza crust, but you don’t need it. You may simply knead the dough by hand instead as explained in the pizza crust recipe.
The actual process of making the pizza isn’t too hard as long as you plan ahead and read my instructions. In an effort to keep this post from being too long, I have created a separate page with step-by-step photos to help guide you along so you know exactly what you are doing. Trust me, I know what a pizza crust FAIL tastes like. And I don’t want you to experience that mess!
Knowing how long this will take ahead of time is always helpful. Mixing the dough takes 10 minutes, then there is one main rise for your dough: about 1 – 1.5 hours of you are using instant yeast. If not, see the note in the recipe below. Then you will let your dough rest 2 times for 15 minutes each. So about 2 hours 10 minutes for the crust to do its thing, about 5 minutes to top it, then about 12-15 minutes in the oven for your pizza to be ready. So we’re talking about 2.5 hours start to finish.
A very helpful tip: Be gentle with your dough at ALL times. Let your dough rest as I instruct in the dough recipe. The dough is fragile and should be handled with care.
Pizza is Fun.
Turn your homemade crust into something social! Host a pizza night. Have friends over, make a batch of the dough, roll into smaller circles (5-6 inches each), and serve with different toppings. Everyone can assemble their own individual pizzas. There are NO rules when it comes to pizza toppings! However, don’t go too heavy or your crust will become soggy and weighed down.
My pizza recipe below is for regular pizza – with extra cheese the way Kevin likes it. But get crazy! Feel free to pile your favorite veggies or meat on top.
Here are other topping ideas (per pizza):
- Margherita: 1-2 cups diced pum tomatoes, 1/2 cup chopped basil, 3 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese, drizzle of olive oil, pepper to taste
- Veggie: 1/2 cup pizza sauce, 1 small roasted and thinly sliced eggplant, 3/4 cup thinly sliced mushrooms, 1 thinly sliced red onion, 1/2 thinly sliced red pepper, drizzle of olive oil, pepper/ground basil to taste
- Supreme: 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, pepperoni/sausage, 1 thinly sliced green pepper, sliced olives, 1/2 chopped onion, ground basil to taste
- 4 Cheese: 1/2 cup pizza sauce, 6 ounces each: shredded parmesan cheese, shredded Monterey Jack, shredded Asiago, pepper and grated parmesan cheese to taste
And not only that, little bakers can lend a hand making dinner and have fun in the process. Let them help you press down the dough and shape into a circle. They can add their cheeses and make pepperoni faces on top of the pie.
Common, who doesn’t love a smiley pizza?
I’m so thrilled to have found a pizza dough that I love. One that is easy and approachable for anyone, yet doesn’t lack a true chewy, puffy texture or real bready taste.
Homemade Extra Cheese Pizza
A simple recipe for extra cheese pizza on top of my favorite homemade pizza crust. Makes one 12-inch pizza or you can make two pizzas from my entire crust recipe and double the toppings listed below.
Prep Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
- 1/2 recipe homemade pizza crust
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup (127-190g) pizza sauce, depending how much you like (homemade or store-bought)
- 8 ounces sliced mozzarella cheese
- 1 and 1/2 cups (6oz or 168g) shredded mozzarella cheese
- 2-3 Tablespoons (10-15g) grated Parmesan cheese
- ground basil, to taste
Prepare the pizza dough through step 11, including preheating the oven to 475F as described in step 8.
Top the crust with the pizza sauce, then the sliced mozzarella, then the shredded mozzarella, grated Parmesan, then sprinkle with basil.
Bake for 12-15 minutes. For the last minute, I move the oven rack to the top rack to really brown the edges. That's optional.
Slice hot pizza and serve immediately. Store leftover pizza covered tightly in the refrigerator and reheat as you prefer. Baked pizza slices may be frozen up to 1 month.
Please see homemade pizza crust recipe for how to freeze the pizza dough.
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*This is a sponsored post for Red Star Yeast. I have been compensated for making this recipe. However, I was not paid to write a review and all opinions are 100% my own. For more recipe inspiration, visit their Facebook page.