A classic Margherita pizza made from scratch at home could be the best thing to reward yourself and your friends & family! This homemade Margherita pizza is the best ever veg pizza I have ever tasted and with my tips & tricks below, you can bake a perfect one at your home too!
If you want to learn to make just one pizza in your life, then that undoubtedly has to be this classic Margherita pizza! When the classic dishes do not fail to impress us, we realize that they have become a classic for a reason and gonna stay like that for many more years. Margherita pizza is no exception and as you drool over the stunning pictures below, you can easily guess that it will continue to make people fall in love with it over and over again and remain a classic for ages to come! Before going into more details, I must make a confession! I never have had a vegetarian i.e. meatless pizza ever while eating out in a pizza place! Yes, honestly! Before I started making pizza at home, I wasn’t too fond of this Italian stuff. But the turning point appeared when I made my very first pizza at home which was the delicious Buffalo chicken pizza and since then I have completely converted into a dedicated pizza lover!
Now enters this mind-blowing Margherita pizza into my life and after making this at home, I realized that my life is not going to be the same again! After making and tasting this amazing Margherita pizza at home from scratch, I simply felt ecstatic and nothing can measure or describe my joy in words. But the best part about making this Margherita pizza at home is that it is playfully easy to make! The topping of Margherita pizza requires just 3 additional ingredients besides the pizza sauce and pizza dough. Making pizza dough is not at all a rocket science and I assure you that you can churn our a perfectly crusted pizza base with little practice and perseverance. Once you get the right ingredients and go through the right techniques, nothing can stop you from making a restaurant quality pizza from scratch right inside your own home and slay with it! That’s a guarantee from me!
Being an Indian and being raised in a traditional Indian family, pizza is of course not something that we have seen our mothers or grand mothers making in their kitchen. My mother could not even think as far as making a pizza at home! My culinary journey has brought me here and my quest for trying new and challenging recipes is at its peak; so you can imagine that churning out a perfectly baked pizza is a dream coming true which makes me helplessly happy and thrilled! I would love it more if I can inspire at least one of you to try and make this gorgeous Margherita pizza at home and feel as much delighted as I was. And if you trust me, then just take it from me – homemade pizza tastes zillion times better than any pizza place once you get the hang of making the perfect pizza dough! And I am here today with my fail-proof recipe of pizza dough with some important tips for your homemade pizza success! If you are as enthusiast as me when it comes to cooking or making something great to eat, then I am sure you are already convinced and all geared up to making this perfect Margherita pizza!
While making the pizza dough at home, you need to particularly take care of three things. If you follow these tips, I can guarantee you that your pizza will turn a killer one!
Firstly, get your hands on the best quality yeast that you can access. Bread baking is not very common in Indian homes even today, hence good quality yeast is not very commonly available in supermarkets. After having multiple failed attempts at baking bread, I have finally found my holy grail yeast online. This is a new brand, called Urban Platter, marketing off-beat ingredients for cooking/baking enthusiasts like us and I have had 100% success rate with their active dry yeast available online on Amazon. Another brand of yeast which is commercially used in India is Golripan and it produces good result too. Also, always remember to store your left-over yeast in refrigerator as they become inactive very quickly if not stored at right temperature. If you are unable to get these 2 brands of yeast at your area, either online or offline, then another option could be getting in touch with your local bakery and check with them about their source of yeast. I’m sure they won’t mind to help you!
Second very important point of making a good bread dough is getting the water temperature right for the yeast to proof. Technically speaking, for active dry yeast, the water temperature should be between 105 – 110 F. If you want to be absolutely correct, then you have to get a cooking thermometer and check the correct temperature; but that may not be feasible for many. So, I can give you a rule of thumb – heat the room temperature water in microwave for exactly 1 minute. Then dip one clean finger of yours into the water, if it feels too hot to your skin, then wait for couple of minutes for it to become cooler. The water should feel warm to touch and not hot as very high heat will kill the yeast and if it is not warm enough, the dry yeast will not proof (which means becoming active) and hence your pizza dough will not double up in volume which is what you absolutely do not want. Also, do add some sugar to the water which act as a feed for the yeast and helps them proofing faster and more effectively.
The final important tip to note is to keep the flour & yeast ratio optimal. My magic ratio is 1 teaspoon active dry yeast for 2 cups of all-purpose flour, if (and that’s a very important ‘if’!) your yeast is newly bought. If it is sitting inside your refrigerator for a while then, you may need to increase the amount of yeast to 1 & ½ teaspoons. Also, since these doughs are kinda sticky, we tend to keep on adding extra flour while kneading which results into a dense dough as the optimal yeast & flour ratio gets messed up. So, a useful trick is to start with 1 & ½ cups of flour and then keep on adding the remaining half a cup of flour while kneading. This will ensure that you don’t use too much of excess flour and still get a smooth, supple and springy dough for that perfect pizza base which you are about to make for that perfectly baked Margherita pizza! Now you are a pro in baking a pizza from scratch and I am sure you are going to slay! Don’t forget to tag me while sharing your creation on social media as I would love to see if I was able to inspire some of you even a bit! Happy pizza making!
- Granulated sugar – 2 tbsp
- Active dry yeast – 1 tsp
- Warm water – ¾ cup (about 100-115 F, not boiling water)
- Salt – 1 tsp
- Extra-virgin olive oil – 2 tbsp
- All-purpose flour – 2 cups + little extra for dusting
- Homemade marinara sauce – 1 to 1 & ½ cup
- Fresh basil leaves – 1 cup or more, basically as much as you like, washed and dried
- Fresh mozzarella – 300 gms
- Tomato – 3, medium
- Extra virgin olive oil – 2 tbsp
- Oregano or pizza seasoning – 1 tsp
- Salt to taste
- Take a large bowl and add the sugar to it. Pour warm water on top and sprinkle the active dry yeast. Make sure the water is not boiling but just warm as boiling water will kill the yeast.
- Let the yeast sit for 5 minutes and become frothy. Then add salt and olive oil. Give it a stir.
- Next add the flour and using the spatula start mixing everything together. Once the flour comes together, knead it using hands for good 10 minutes. The dough should turn smooth at the end of kneading.
- Drizzle some olive oil on the bowl and place the dough in it making sure that oil coats the dough on all sides.
- Cover the bowl with a cling film and let the dough rest in a warm place for 90 minutes. I keep my dough inside the microwave (it is not on of course) as it is quite warmer than room temperature.
- After about 90 minutes, the dough must be doubled in size. Oil a pizza pan generously and place the dough on it. Dredge the dough with flour on all sides.
- Preheat your oven at 450 F / 230 C and place the wire rack at lower most level.
- Using your both hands or a rolling pin, roll the dough out to a 10-inch circle. (Watch the video for demo.)
- Your pizza dough is done! Load it up with your favorite toppings, mozzarella cheese and bake it in the preheated oven for 15 to 18 minutes. If you like more crispy pizza, add additional 2 minutes.
- Cut the tomatoes into ¼ inch thick roundels. Discard the ends or reserve for other dishes and use the similar sized tomato slices for your Margherita pizza so that you get uniform baking.
- Take out the fresh mozzarella cheese from the liquid it comes in and cut it into similarly thick slices as the tomatoes.
- Once your pizza dough is rolled out on a pizza pan, spread the homemade marinara sauce over the pizza base leaving about half an inch from the edges which will form the crispy crust. You can add as little or as much marinara sauce you like but not more than 1 & ½ cups as otherwise your pizza will turn too soggy.
- Then arrange the tomato slices and mozzarella slices alternatively in a circle, covering the middle of the pizza too. Reserve the basil leaves for later.
- Bake your Margherita pizza in the preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown and the cheese slices are completely melted.
- Take it out from the oven and sprinkle fresh basil leaves on top being as generous as you like. Drizzle extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle oregano or pizza seasoning and salt to taste. Slice up your Margherita pizza and enjoy!