As I bake my homemade pizza, the fragrance makes me think of my mom and Grandma Jennie. They always had staples like flour, sugar, yeast, vanilla extract, and olive oil in their kitchen. When I think back on it, it’s amazing the wide variety of dishes they could make using those staples. One of my favorites was pizza.
Grandma made her own pizza dough. She never measured anything when she baked or cooked; she just knew how much of an ingredient to add from experience. I can still see her with a big mound of flour on her large wooden pasta board. She adds warm water and activated yeast, mixes it, kneads it by hand, and puts the big ball of dough in a bowl to rise, draping a dish towel over the top.
After the dough rises, Grandma puts it on an oiled pan and carefully spreads the dough so it doesn’t tear. She tops it with tomato sauce — maybe fresh basil or oregano, salt, and pepper — and mozzarella cheese and pops it in the oven. Delicious!
Sometimes, Grandma would use pizza dough to make a treat she called “pizza frita” (fried pizza). She fried little disks of the dough and covered them with powdered sugar. Piping hot, they tasted better than donuts or cake!
Unlike Mom and Grandma, I don’t bake often enough to keep my kitchen stocked with flour and yeast; it would just go to waste. So, when I make pizza, I buy the dough to make my crust. But I still make my toppings from scratch and I like to experiment with the ingredients.
When I have leftovers, I’ll often try to use up them in my pizza topping. I’ve used leftover chicken, spinach, roasted peppers, and more. Homemade pizza, what a delicious way to reduce food waste!