There is really nothing better than homemade pizza. Of course, homemade pizza fulfills a much different role in life than delivery or takeout pizza. The latter is the ultimate in convenience, while the former…well, it requires a fair bit of planning and timing. Maybe that’s why not that many people make their own pizza from scratch. Once you do, though, you will be hooked!
This pizza comes from the California Pizza Kitchen cookbook. It’s their original recipe that is now imitated by everyone – barbeque chicken pizza – but with a few adaptations that I feel are improvements. First, I cooked the chicken in the Crock-Pot and shredded it. I like the shredded barbeque on pizza rather than the more standard grilled or sauteed chunks, because this way you get a little chicken in each bite. Second, I carmelized the red onions instead of just putting them on the pizza raw. Perhaps the most useful part of this post, however, is the dough recipe. This is a great pizza dough. If you want to make homemade pizza almost as easy a meal as takeout pizza, you can double this dough recipe and freeze half so that you will have dough on hand.
CPK Pizza Dough
Source: The California Pizza Kitchen Cookbook
- 1 tsp. yeast
- ½ cup plus 1 Tbsp. warm water (105 to 110 degrees)
- 1.5 cups bread or all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, plus more for coating
1. Dissolve the yeast in the water and let stand for 5 to 10 minutes.
2. Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the middle and pour in the liquids. Use a wooden spoon to combine the ingredients. Once the initial mixing is done, lightly oil your hands and begin kneading the dough. Knead for 5 minutes. When done, the dough should be barely beyond sticking to your hands.
3. Lightly oil the dough and the inside of a large glass bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and seal air-tight (with plastic wrap or the lid). Set aside at room temperature until the dough has doubled in bulk, 1 ½ to 2 hours.
4. Punch down the dough, re-form it into a ball, and return it to the bowl. Cover again and place in the refrigerator for at least several hours, or up to overnight.
5. Two hours before cooking your pizza, remove the dough from the fridge. Use a sharp knife to divide the dough into 2 equal portions. Roll the smaller doughs into round balls, being sure to seal any holes by pinching.
6. Place the newly formed balls in a glass casserole dish (9 x 13 works well), spaced far enough apart to allow for each to double in size. Seal air-tight with plastic wrap. Set aside at room temperature for about 2 hours. At this time, the dough should be smooth and puffy.
7. To form dough for pizza, sprinkle flour over a clean surface. Remove a dough ball from the glass dish, being careful to preserve its round shape (a large spatula may help) and place it on the floured surface. Flour the dough liberally. Use your hands to press the dough down, forming a flat circle about ½ inch thick. Pinch the edge to form a lip around the edge that rises ¼ inch above the center surface. Continue stretching until the dough reaches about 9 inches in diameter.
For Barbeque Chicken Pizza
Inspired by California Pizza Kitchen
- Cornmeal for handling
- 1/2 cup barbeque sauce, plus more for coating chicken
- 1.5 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/2 cup shredded smoked Gouda
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- If making shredded barbeque chicken, 1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1. Cook the chicken as desired. For shredded chicken, coat generously with barbeque sauce, place in Crock-Pot, and add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Cook on low for 6 hours, then shred with 2 forks, adding a little more sauce if desired. For cubed chicken, grill or saute, then coat with barbeque sauce.
2. Place a pizza stone in the (cold) oven and set the oven to 500. Let the stone preheat for at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour before using. Meanwhile, caramelize the onion in a small saute pan over medium-low heat.
3. Sprinkle a layer of cornmeal on a pizza peel and carefully move a dough round to the peel. Spread 1/4 cup barbeque sauce over the dough. Top the sauce with 1/2 of the onions, followed by an even layer of chicken. Sprinkle with half of the mozzarella and half of the gouda.
4. Transfer the pizza to the stone and bake until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbly, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove the pizza to a wooden cutting board and let cool several minutes before slicing. Devour, then repeat the process with the second pizza.