A few years back, in 2012, my friends and I threw a pizza party. We prepped a ton of different toppings, I made a pizza dough (for my first bread-baking goal), we invited some people over and all chowed down. I also took some dark, fluorescent-overhead-light-lit photos because it was night-time and I hate flash.
Since then, homemade pizza has been one of my favourite easy dinners to make, especially at home with my family. This dough recipe has continued to be a go-to because of how easy it is, and how perfect the crust comes out every time. The key is to crank the oven up AHAP (as high as possible) – like 500F – so that you get the perfect cook.
Sadly, when I was in Korea I didn’t own an oven. A friend of mine had a teeny tiny toaster oven suitable mostly for melting cheese on a sandwich, but nobody I knew had the hardware to make even a small pizza in their tiny apartments. That, plus the absurdly inflated cost of cheese in Asia meant that we only ever went out for pizza (with occasionally mixed results – sweet potato purée on a pizza, for example).
And now I’m in Ecuador, yet another country where ovens aren’t dime a dozen – though far more common than in Korea, that’s for sure. We have a toaster oven only slightly bigger than the aforementioned teeny tiny one, and my boyfriend’s parents have a regular oven only slightly smaller than the ones we’re used to in Canada. I consider having access to these ovens a gigantic win. After a year without the ability to roast or toast or bake or broil or otherwise make all things awesome and delicious, I am thrilled.
So of course I’ve been baking up a storm. One of the first things on my list was trying to make pizza in our toaster oven – how would that go? It does have temperature settings up to 450F, but it is also a toaster oven. Could it handle it? Was it possible?!?
It’s so possible! Is this obvious to all of you? It certainly wasn’t to me, but I now have the utmost confidence in my toaster oven and have since used it to bake sticky buns and made plans for it to make our pumpkin pie for Christmas.
In honour of this year’s bread-baking goal (which I may in fact augment considering I’ve baked 3 yeasty things in the past two weeks) I tried a new pizza dough recipe from Elise Joy, called The Only Pizza Dough Recipe You Will Ever Need. I can’t say the title is completely accurate, considering my deep enduring love of Jim Lahey’s recipe, but it was excellent. We made a few adjustments, shown below.
- 1 Tbsp yeast (we bought a bag of it and keep it in the freezer)
- 1 tsp honey instead of white sugar
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 1.5 cups white flour
- 1/2 cup wheat bran (we didn’t have whole wheat, but it turned out really well using this instead)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- Cornmeal for rolling out the dough
Mix together the honey and yeast in a large bowl, and add the warm water. Let it sit for about 10 minutes to activate the yeast.
When it’s a bit foamy, add your flours and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon, then add the olive oil. Mix until it’s too thick to stir and then knead with clean hands until it comes together into a nice ball. Let it rise for a few hours.
We found that we could store the dough in the fridge overnight without any problems, and used it for a lunch pizza the next day. Because we have a toaster oven, this recipe made enough for two pizzas on our small tray.
To create the pizza, we coated the bottom of the tray with olive oil and cornmeal. Preheat the oven to 450F. We stretched the dough out with our hands into a rectangle and pressed it into our tray. Although the recipe says to heat up the tray in the oven and then use a pizza peel to slide your pie onto the hot tray or stone, we didn’t have those tools and instead just built the pizza on the tray and then put it in the preheated oven. It still worked!
Bake for 15 minutes, then check it (and turn your tray around if you, too, are using a toaster oven) and bake for 5-10 minutes more.
Simple Tomato Sauce
- 2-3 fresh tomatoes, quartered
- 2 cloves of peeled garlic
- 2 Tbsp tomato paste
- 5-10 leaves of fresh basil
- a little olive oil
- salt to taste
Mix everything together in the blender and season to taste with your favourite herbs and spices. This is a very simple sauce that can be improved by roasting the tomatoes first, or simmering the sauce on the stove after to thicken it, but for this pizza it worked perfectly for us. It is kind of liquid, so careful not to add too much sauce or it may make your pizza slightly soft on top.
For the pizza shown above, we used tomato sauce, caramelized onions and mushrooms, mozzarella and parmesan cheese, and chopped fresh basil. It was delicious.
We’re planning to make pizza every Friday. I’m hoping to share the various topping combos we try out kind of like Elise’s 40 Pizzas project, here on the blog so stay tuned for that! Enjoy, guys.