A few months ago our town moved up in the world. A MOD Pizza restaurant opened. It is one of a growing trend in pizzerias around the country that take the "Chipotle-angle" on service by providing customers the opportunity to customize their order, while still providing a fresh and fast product.
If you aren't familiar with MOD, maybe you have something similar. PizzaRev, 800 Degrees, Blaze Pizza, and Uncle Maddio's are all MOD-like pizza places.
Whether or not you have a fast and fresh pizza bar close by, you can enjoy the benefits along with family and friends right in your own home! I will give you the BEST Pizza Crust recipe, and tips for setting up your own fresh custom pizzeria!
First, make your dough! (Or don't, and buy some pre-made flatbread. I recommend Don Pancho Flatbread, found at many grocery stores).
I have been using an incredible dough recipe for many years. It is my FAVORITE for pizza. It is consistent and is a quick recipe for a yeast dough.
BEST Pizza Crust
Makes 24 8"-10" crusts
4 cups warm water
2 tablespoons yeast
2/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup oil
10 cups flour (I often use half whole wheat)
1. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Stir in sugar, and let sit for 5-10 minutes, until foamy.
2. Stir in salt an oil. Stir flour in 2 cups at time, stirring well until dough begins to be stiff. Knead in remaining flour and form into a smooth ball.
3. Turn dough over once in a large, oiled bowl. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 2-3 hours.
4. Once dough is 2x original size, punch down and divide into 24 1/2-cup balls.
5. Pre-heat oven to 500 degrees F.
6. Roll out each dough ball to desired thickness and poke all over with a fork. Place on greased baking sheets (I sprinkle my baking sheets with cornmeal). Bake 5-8 minutes, just until hard on top. You don't want to brown them yet.
These crusts can be made ahead of time and stored in the freezer until ready to use.
The dough will start to rise some on the counter while you roll out the crusts. If you don't want to make all the dough into pizza crusts, it makes yummy cinnamon rolls, too. ;-)
I go pretty thin on the crusts, since they rise more while baking.
Here are a couple of crusts ready to go in the oven
And here they are right after I took them out. See how nicely they bubble up?! Yummo! They will be baked again with the toppings, so be sure to under-bake the first time.
I have made these individual crusts for family get-togethers, for a birthday party (Ratatouille movie-themed), and just for fun easy meals. You'll love them!
Now, onto the PIZZA BAR!
Sauces: We like basil pesto, marinara sauce, and two varieties of barbecue sauce--one smoky and one sweet. White/Alfredo sauce is another good choice, especially if you are having chicken or shrimp as a meat choice.
Cheese and Meat: I like having at least a couple of cheese options. For meats, I went easy on myself with this pizza bar and bought prepared hard salami and pepperoni. Ground sausage/beef/turkey, shredded chicken, bacon and cooked shrimp are also good options.
Veggies: Consider your eaters, and put it all out there. I was pleasantly surprised to see how many teenage boys were putting veggies on their pizzas. Sometimes all it takes is having it available!
Preheat the oven to 450. Line up the toppings and let the fun begin. Bake each pizza for 6-8 minutes (on baking sheets).
This is the bar after one round of 12 people enjoying it. We had to pull out reinforcements on the sauces and cheese. Notice how dwindled that stack of crusts is. Not pictured: Many happy and satisfied pizza eaters.