What is Friday night dinner for you, because for us it’s been all about this Homemade Stuffed Crust Pepperoni Pizza lately. An easy pizza crust topped with simple pizza sauce, cheese and pepperoni and a crust filled with oozy, gooey cheese.
This all starts with my super simple homemade pizza crust and even making your own pizza base you can have this on the table in just over an hour. That includes rising time and if you have a stand mixer, the effort is very minimal, leaving you to enjoy a glass of wine and catch up on your week.
This is Friday night comfort food at it’s best. It’s simple ingredients, gooey cheese and flavour, flavour, flavour and one of our Friday night favourites now.
The basic pizza dough
This recipe starts with a basic pizza dough – my easy homemade pizza dough recipe – and I use this recipe for everything from calzone to flatbread and have even used it to make focaccia. It’s simple, delicious and creates a nice puffy, crispy crust.
While making pizza dough from scratch does take a little time, very little of that time is hands on, especially if you use a stand mixer to knead the dough. Most of the time is spent allowing to hang out in a nice warm spot and rise.
The speed at which any bread dough rises will depend on how warm the area is where it sits. You want it to be a warm, draught free spot but not hot. Under a rangehood lamp is ideal or next to a warm – not hot – window. The warmth nudges the yeast into life along with a touch of sugar.
Tips for homemade pizza dough
- This is a sticky pizza dough, so lightly oil your hands when you move it around so it doesn’t stick to you.
- It’s ready when it look smooth-ish and elastic. It will no longer be a shaggy dough but not completely smooth and when you pull a little bit with your fingers, it bounces back.
- Don’t punch it down. There is no need to be rough with dough and I find that a gently touch, removes excess air but still leaves enough air to create pockets that turn crispy.
- The dough can be made the day before and left in the fridge to rise. When you’re ready to turn it into pizza, take it out of the fridge then proceed from step 5 below.
How to make the pizza dough
You can start any pizza with this basic homemade pizza dough – meatlovers and tandoori chicken are old favourites for us but more recently I’ve used it to make my Pesto Chicken Calzone and it works a treat.
- Start by mixing together flour, sugar and yeast, then add salt, olive oil and warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer.
- Using the dough hook, knead it on low-medium for 7-8 minutes until it looks elastic.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl, and flip it over so it has a little oil all over.
- Cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise for 30-45 minutes until it’s doubled in size.
- Divide the dough into two pieces on a lightly floured surface and shape them into balls, then cover them with a clean tea towel and leave for 15 minutes for a second proof.
- Roll the dough balls out to 11-12 inch circles using a light touch and now you’re ready for your toppings.
The pizza toppings
For this stuffed crust pepperoni pizza recipe, you’ll use a few really simple ingredients including a homemade pizza sauce (super simple, pinky promise).
Mozzarella (for melty gooey factor) and parmesan (for flavour). The mozzarella is used in the crust as well as one of the toppings but I also often swap that for gouda with great results. You can swap the parmesan for a flavourful cheddar.
I find a block or shrink wrapped mozzarella the best. The fresh mozzarella in water is too wet and will leave you with a puddle pizza. Cut the mozzarella into batons for the crust and grate it for the topping.
Also, don’t use pre-shredded mozzarella. It has a flour coating to stop it from sticking together but this also stops it from becoming nice and smooth and gooey.
Homemade pizza sauce:
This pizza sauce is rich in flavour and the perfect base for this simple pizza plus it is literally a case of mixing together a few ingredients. It keeps well in the fridge (for up to a week) and is even freezer friendly so make a big batch and keep it on hand.
Get your favourite pepperoni and slice it thinly. Mild or hot will both work or even use Italian sausage.
Chilli flakes are an optional extra but a must in our house.
How to make a stuffed crust pizza
Now you have all your toppings and two prepped pizza bases;
- Place mozzarella batons around the edge of the pizza about 1 inch in. Fold the dough over the top and press it down with your fingers on the other side to seal it.
- Brush a little oil over the base, then the pizza sauce generously.
- Now add shredded mozzarella and parmesan
- Finally, add your sliced pepperoni.
- Bake it in a hot oven for about 15 minutes.
Which is the best pizza pan?
There are a number of pans / vessels to use to cook pizza on but my two favourites are either a flat round metal tray with air holes or a cast iron skillet. I get the very best result from a large cast iron skillet, just remember it stays hot for a long time so, after you’ve taken it out of the oven, don’t burn yourself. A metal tray cools down much quicker.
You can use a pizza stone but personally I find them more trouble than they’re worth. The purpose of a pizza stone is to get it really hot first so if you use one, you’ll need a pizza peel too to help you move your pizza from bench top to the preheated stone. I find this part often messy and they aren’t as easy to clean either. Some people swear by them though, so if you don’t like the tray or skillet idea, maybe check out a stone instead.
Pizza is always a social food, don’t you think? I sure do and when you make from scratch, it’s not only incredibly satisfying but it’s also even more social. You can have a glass of wine, chat, get the family involved or make it a date night. Any way you want to look at it, I know you are craving your very own stuffed crust pepperoni pizza, because if you aren’t, why are you still reading, so off you go and enjoy.
More pizza / flatbread recipes
- Easy Homemade Pizza Dough
- Pesto Chicken Calzone
- Tandoori Chicken Pizza
- Focaccia di Recco (Cheese Focaccia)
Homemade Stuffed Crust Pepperoni Pizza
FOR THE PIZZA BASE (Makes 2 x 10-12 inch bases)
- 260 g bread flour (notes, 2 cups / 9.1oz)
- 1 ½ teaspoons instant or rapid rise yeast
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 teaspoons olive oil
- ¾ cup + 1 tablespoon warm water (not hot)
FOR THE PIZZA SAUCE
- ⅓ cup tomato paste
- ⅓ cup tomato passata (notes)
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil (notes)
- 1 ½ teaspoons dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
FOR THE TOPPINGS (for 2 pizzas)
- 500 g mozzarella
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 24 slices pepperoni
- ⅓ cup finely grated parmesan
- Fresh basil to serve
- Chili flakes to serve optional
FOR THE PIZZA BASE
- In the bowl of a stand mixer with dough hook attached, combine the dough ingredients in this order - flour, yeast, sugar - give a quick stir - then salt, olive oil, warm water.
- Mix on low-medium speed for 7-8 minutes until smooth and elastic. See notes for kneading by hand.
- Lightly oil a bowl and place the dough inside, flipping until it's lightly oiled all over. Cover with plastic wrap and sit in a warm place until it has doubled in size - see notes.
- While the dough is rising, prepare your toppings.
FOR THE PIZZA SAUCE
- Mix together the tomato paste, tomato passata, garlic, basil, oregano, salt and pepper in a small bowl.
- Cut 300g of mozzarella into 1cm batons and grate the remaining mozzarella.
MAKING THE PIZZA
- After the dough has risen, remove the plastic wrap and gently turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut the dough into 2 pieces, shape each into a ball and cover with a dry tea towel. Allow them to sit for another 15 minutes to prove.
- Preheat oven to 230C / 450F / 210C fan forced. .
- On a lightly floured surface, roll and gently stretch each ball of dough out into a circle roughly 10 inches in diameter and 5mm thick.
- Transfer to pizza trays or a large skillet.
- Lay the mozzarella batons around the edge of each pizza about 1 inch in from the edge.
- Fold the dough over the mozzarella sticks and press it down into the dough on the other side to seal.
- Lightly brush each base with olive oil.
- Spread half the sauce over each (or to taste), scatter over shredded mozzarella and parmesan, followed by pepperoni slices.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes until the crust is crispy and golden.
- Bread flour works best but you can substitute plain or all-purpose flour.
- Tomato passata is also known as tomato puree or sugo and in some places, tomato sauce (not the ketchup style tomato sauce).
- You can use dried basil instead of fresh in a pinch, but cut the amount in half.
- It's best to use block style or shrink wrapped mozzarella, not fresh mozzarella that is stored in water or whey.
- I use a standard Australian 20ml tablespoon
- All ovens vary – always test for doneness 3-5 minutes before the recipe suggests
- For best results, you should always weigh ingredients like flour and sugar. Kitchen scales are relatively cheap but if you can’t weigh the ingredients, use the spoon and level method (don’t scoop).
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