Entertainment, Health and Lifestyle

A Pizza Challenge

Some consider pizza the perfect food. It has complex carbohydrates, vegetables, dairy and protein. OK, maybe “perfect” is stretching it a bit, but I remember when pizza was something you shouldn’t eat too much of because it might spoil your dinner. Now it is dinner.

Millions of families rely on pizza because it is quick, cheap and convenient. But is it? To find out, I conducted a somewhat less-than-scientific test.

I ordered a large 14-inch thin-crust tomato and cheese pizza from Domino’s for delivery. As soon as I closed the app, I went to work on my homemade pizza with a no-rise crust.


4 teaspoons olive oil

2 teaspoons cornmeal

1 package dry yeast

1 teaspoons sugar

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water

2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour


1 clove garlic, finely minced

3/4 pound Roma tomatoes, sliced thinly

2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

Preheat oven to 425 F. In the meantime, rub 1 teaspoon olive oil over a 14-inch pizza pan and sprinkle with cornmeal. Stir yeast and sugar into warm water and let stand until foamy (2-3 minutes).

Combine flour, salt and 1 teaspoon olive oil in food processor bowl fitted with metal blade*. Turn on machine. Pour yeast mixture through feed tube. Process until dough cleans inside of work bowl. If dough sticks, add more flour, a tablespoon at a time. If dough is crumbly, add water a teaspoon at a time. When you reach desired consistency, process dough until uniformly supple and elastic, about 40 seconds.

Roll dough immediately on heavily floured board to a 14-inch circle. If dough resists, let rest 5 minutes to relax gluten, then try again.

Transfer dough to pizza pan. Work the edge to form rim. Brush with remaining oil. Sprinkle on minced garlic and cover with an even layer of tomato slices. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake for 15-18 minutes until crust is crisp and golden brown. Sprinkle with basil. Serve!

My homemade gourmet-style pizza was out of the oven, sliced and partially consumed before the doorbell rang. It’s difficult to give an unbiased opinion on the homemade versus the commercial product because, well … I am anything but impartial.

Just let me say that there’s nothing like the taste of fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and freshly grated Parmesan cheese on this freshly baked homemade dough. Note: You could use a bottled sauce, your favorite toppings and mozzarella cheese to customize to your taste and available ingredients.

As for the time factor, I beat Domino’s by a full 20 minutes. And the cost? Mine: less than $3. Domino’s: $28.92 including tip.

Here’s a tip for you: To make your own pizza stone, pick up one or two large unglazed terra cotta tiles at the home improvement store (around $2 each). Move the oven rack to the lower position and place the tile(s) on the rack before preheating. Once hot, scoot the pizza dough from the greased/cornmealed pan right onto the hot pizza stone for baking.

*This dough can be made with an electric mixer or in a bread machine, although a food processor is ideal.

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Mary Hunt

Mary invites you to visit her at EverydayCheapskate.com, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at https://www.everydaycheapskate.com/contact/, "Ask Mary." Tips can be submitted at tips.everydaycheapskate.com/ . This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually. Mary Hunt is the founder of EverydayCheapskate.com, a frugal living blog, and the author of the book "Debt-Proof Living."

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