Get your taste buds firing with this easy homemade pizza from scratch. Find out how to make your own crusty dough and pizza sauce from fresh tomatoes as well as a yeast-free alternative base. There are also suggestions for the best cheeses to use.
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It took our tomatoes a while to start ripening, but when they did, we had a glut on our hands. So along with all the courgette recipes I’ve been making recently, I’ve been using a lot of tomatoes too. We have red ones, yellow ones and black ones. How very exciting.
Fresh Tomato Pizza Sauce
The key to a good pizza is the quality of the tomato sauce you use. You want it to be rich and tangy with strong umami notes. You can of course buy it and there are some good commercial brands out there. But how much more satisfying to make your own from scratch.
You can use tinned tomatoes, but for the best sauce, juicy flavoursome and ripe fresh tomatoes are the bee’s knees.
What makes this tomato sauce so easy to make? The secret is the judicious use of a good blender. As soon as I come across a recipe where you need to peel the tomatoes before you can use them, I’m turned right off. What a faff!
If you don’t peel the tomatoes, you’re left with stringy bits of tough skin in the sauce, which some people find most off-putting. Use a power blender, such as my Froothie Evolve*, however and the skin is blitzed to a fine sauce along with all of the other ingredients.
Another bonus to using a good blender is that you don’t even need to chop the tomatoes or the garlic first, so the process is just so super speedy.
So the first step to making this sauce is to blend everything together until smooth. This takes about thirty seconds in my blender. Then it’s just a case of cooking the sauce down until it becomes almost paste like. This takes about thirty minutes. It starts off almost pink in colour, but becomes redder and darker as it cooks down.
See how easy this pizza sauce is to make? Just be sure you leave it to cool a little before your spread it on your pizza.
Spoon any leftover sauce into a jar and seal. It will keep in the fridge for up to a week. Use to flavour soups, stews and other dishes or just have it with pasta.
Homemade Pizza Dough
Traditional yeasted pizza dough is really easy to make, but you do need time to allow the dough to rise. How long you need will very much depend on the quality of the yeast you use, the flour and the room temperature. But the longer you can ferment your bread, the easier it will be to digest.
For this recipe I’ve used dried yeast, but you could use eight grams of fresh yeast instead. Start by dissolving the yeast in tepid water. Use a large mixing bowl if you’re going to knead the dough by hand or if not, the bowl of your stand mixer. Give the yeast a good stir, then cover with a clean cloth or plastic bag and leave it to activate for fifteen minutes.
To make the dough, throw in the remaining ingredients. If kneading by hand, stir together with a knife or your fingers until the mixture forms a dough. If it feels too dry, add a little more water. Turn out onto an oiled surface and knead for ten minutes until the dough is soft and elastic.
If you’re using a stand mixer, let that do the work. Knead on a low speed for eight minutes when the dough should be soft and elastic. Keep an eye on it and if it’s too dry, add a little more water.
Once you’ve kneaded the pizza dough, you need to leave it to double in size. This could take anywhere from one to three hours. If it’s a warm room, your flour is fresh and your yeast active, it will probably take less than an hour. Cover the bowl with a clean tea towel or plastic bag whilst the dough rises.
When you’re ready to make the pizza, just roll the dough out as thinly as you can. Then place on oiled baking trays and leave to rest for ten minutes.
I decided to make rectangular pizzas as they fit better on my small baking trays, but the shape is up to you and traditional round pizzas always look appealing.
How to Make Homemade Pizza Dough Without Yeast
For an authentic Italian homemade pizza, you’ll need a yeasted dough or sourdough to make the crust. But not everything is about authenticity. Often you want something you can make fast and with ingredients you have to hand. Fake it until you make it.
For such times, you can make a perfectly acceptable pizza dough with either self-raising flour, or flour and baking powder. Here is my flatbread recipe, which you can also use to make a good pizza base.
- Weigh 100g self-raising flour and 100g of wholemeal flour. If you don’t have self-raising, use plain flour with ½ tsp baking powder.
- Pour into a mixing bowl and add ¼ tsp fine sea salt.
- Stir, make a well in the centre and pour in 100ml warm water and 2 tbsp olive oil.
- Stir with a knife, or your fingers, from the inside out until everything comes together as a dough. Knead briefly and form into a ball.
- Cover with a clean cloth or the inverted bowl and leave to rest for fifteen minutes.
- Roll out as needed in the recipe below.
Just one thing to note. If you use this non-yeast dough to make your pizza, do it after you’ve got the tomato sauce cooking. By the time your dough is ready to use, the sauce will most likely be ready and you’ll be good to go.
Which Cheese is Best For Homemade Pizza?
Everyone knows mozzarella as it’s the classic topping for pizza. If you’re after something stretchy, this is the one to go for. It’s probably also the easiest pizza cheese to get hold of and the cheapest.
Port Salut is a mild but flavoursome French rind washed cheese with quite a pungent aroma. It’s not a hard cheese, but it’s not nearly as soft as cream cheese. In fact, it’s a semi-soft pasteurised cow’s milk cheese first created by Trappist monks back in 1816. It was named after their abbey, Notre Dame du Port du Salut in Entrammes, Pay de la Loire. The rind has a distinctive orange colour.
To my mind it makes a much tastier and more interesting cheese for pizza than the ubiquitous mozzarella. So it’s perhaps no surprise that it’s the one I’ve used in my recipe for homemade pizza.
I’ve not yet tried a commercial vegan cheese, principally because I haven’t found one with a list of ingredients I like the look of. However, it’s easy to make your own vegan cream ‘cheese’ and you can use blobs of this on the pizza for a tasty alternative to dairy cheese.
If you use a plant-based cheese, this homemade pizza is entirely vegan.
Other Vegetarian Cheeses
Really you can use any vegetarian cheese you like that melts well. Fontina, dolcelatte, Emmental, Jarlsberg and ripe brie are all good. Even good old cheddar produces a well flavoured pizza.
Homemade Pizza From Scratch
As you can see from the above sections, it’s really quite easy to make homemade pizza from scratch. Once you’ve made the dough and the sauce, the rest is just an assembly job. Oh – and don’t forget the all important decision on what toppings to use.
For this pizza, I’ve gone with olives, sliced yellow tomatoes and cheese. You could keep things really simple and just top with cheese. Or you could go wild and add all of your favourite ingredients. Artichoke hearts are really good. Just putting it out there. The choice is yours.
Depending on what size pizzas you’re after, you can divide the dough into four, for smallish pizzas or two, for large ones. Make sure you place the bases on oiled baking trays before you add any toppings or they will be difficult to move. Unless you have a pizza peel that is. I don’t.
Spread a layer of tomato sauce over the base, but leave a one centimetre gap around the edges. Then add your toppings of choice, not forgetting the cheese.
Bake in a preheated hot oven for about fifteen minutes. By this time the dough should be risen and crusty and the cheese nicely melted. Tuck in and relish your homemade pizza whilst it’s nice and hot. It’s lovely with a green salad.
Homemade Pizza Top Tips
- Add a large pinch of sugar if the tomato sauce is a bit too tart or bitter. Alternatively, if you’d rather stay sugar free, add a small pinch of stevia powder or xylitol.
- Although fresh tomatoes will give a particularly luscious sauce, you can use tinned tomatoes instead if you need to. It will still be tasty.
- Swap the yeasted dough for my sourdough flatbread and use that as a pizza base instead.
- If you’re really stuck for time, you can make pizza dough without yeast. It won’t be quite the same, but it will still be good. See above section for the recipe.
- If you can’t get hold of Port Salut or don’t have any mozzarella use ripe brie or another good melting cheese instead. Thin slices of cheddar cheese are a good standby. Just check that your cheese is vegetarian friendly.
Other Tomato Sauce Recipes You Might Like
- Courgette sweetcorn fritters with chilli tomato sauce
- Easy tomato sauce
- Quick tomato sauce with seaweed
- Stuffed red peppers in tomato sauce
- Vegan rice bowl with maple tofu and smoked tomato sauce
- Veggie meatballs in tomato sauce
Keep in Touch
Thanks for visiting Tin and Thyme. If you have a go at making this homemade pizza from scratch, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below. And do please rate it. Have you any top tips? Do share photos on social media too and use the hashtag #tinandthyme, so I can spot them.
If you’d like more bread recipes, follow the link and you’ll find I have quite a lot of them. All delicious, of course.
Homemade Pizza. PIN IT.
Homemade Pizza From Scratch – The Recipe
Homemade Pizza From Scratch
- 150 millilitres water
- ½ teaspoon dried active yeast or 8g fresh yeast
- 250 grams flour – half strong wholemeal, half plain or half strong plain and half wholemeal
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 450 grams (1 pound) ripe, juicy fresh tomatoes or a 400g tin
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic – peeled
- 1 small red chilli (seeds removed if you don't like it too hot) optional
- leaves from 4-6 sprigs of thyme, marjoram or oregano or a mixture of the three
- 10 large olives – halved or 20 small ones left whole – optional
- 2 tomatoes – sliced – optional
- 100 grams Port Salut, brie, mozzarella or melting vegan cheese (or blobs of my homemade cashew cheese)
- In the bowl of your stand mixer, or mixing bowl if kneading by hand, stir the yeast and water together until it's dissolved. Cover with a clean cloth or plastic bag and leave to ferment for 15 minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients and knead for about eight minutes with the stand mixer or ten minutes by hand or until the dough is smooth and elastic. If it seems too dry add a little more water, but go carefully.
- Cover the bowl with a clean cloth or plastic bag and leave to rise until doubled in volume.
- Whilst the bread's rising, make the sauce.
- Blitz all of the ingredients in a power blender until smooth. You don't even need to chop the tomatoes.
- Bring to the boil in a large open pan and simmer for about thirty minutes or until the tomato sauce has reduced by about half. The sauce should be thick enough to spread on a pizza without running off the edges.
- Leave to cool until needed.
- Turn the oven on to 220℃ (425℉, Gas 7).
- Divide the dough into four for small pizzas or two for large ones. Roll each piece into a round, square or rectangle as thinly as possible.
- Place onto two oiled baking trays. Cover with a clean tea towel and leave to rest for ten minutes.
- Spread a layer of tomato sauce over the base of each one, leaving a one centimetre gap around the edges.
- Distribute your toppings of choice over the tomato sauce in as even a layer as possible.
- Ensure the oven is properly hot. Place one tray on the top shelf of the oven and one on the middle shelf for about fifteen minutes. After ten minutes, swap the trays over. They're done when the dough is risen, bronzed and crusty and the cheese nicely melted. If not, place back in the oven for a few more minutes.
- Tuck in and relish your homemade pizza whilst it’s nice and hot.
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