I’m headed out of town for almost a week for a work function and anytime I go out of town Betsy asks me to make her some frozen meals or else she threatens that she will do nothing but eat at McDonald’s everyday. I think this is mostly an empty threat, but I usually just play it safe and make her some frozen things to eat while I’m gone.
Normally, this is burritos because she’s a Tex-Mex kinda gal. But when I mentioned burritos this time around she had an even better idea! She said that I should try to figure out how to make frozen personal pizzas like you can buy at the store.
I asked for toppings ideas in last week’s poll and you guys answered with artichokes and pepperoni. Easy enough!
1) To make the dough it's best to split it into two batches, especially if you're using a mixer. Add all the ingredients except flour to a large bowl or the bowl of a mixer. Stir and let sit for 5 minutes until yeast foams. Add flour and mix until it comes together.
2) If you're using a mixer, mix on low with the dough hook until the dough forms a course ball, about 4 minutes. Let it rest for a few minutes, then continue to mix for another 5 minutes on medium-low.
If you're mixing by hand, dip a hand or a spoon into a bowl of luke warm water and mix vigorously until it forms a soft ball. Whether you're mixing by hand or by mixer, the dough should be soft but not really sticky and it should pass the windowpane test.
3) Divide the dough into 6 ounce balls and put them in oiled plastic bags. Let sit at room temperature for 15 minutes, then store in the fridge overnight. Be sure to let the dough come to room temperature before using.
4) To make the sauce, blend all ingredients until smooth.
5) To make pizza, roll out dough to an 8 inch pizza, sauce lightly.
6) Preheat the oven to 450 degrees with a pizza stone if you have one.
7) Slide formed pizza onto stone and cook for 5 minutes.
8) Remove pizza. It won't be cooked all the way but will be partially cooked.
9) Top pizza with a few tablespoons of sauce, cheese, and any toppings you want.
10) Put in freezer for 10 minutes to chill.
11) Double wrap pizza with foil and label. Store in a plastic freezer bag for up to 3 months.
12) To reheat pizza, unwrap and cook at 400 degrees for 20 minutes or until crust is browned and cheese is melted.
13) Eat it up!
The Freezing problem
I wasn’t quite sure how to tackle the frozen problem. I couldn’t cook the pizzas entirely because then they would be like cardboard when you re-heated them. I also couldn’t leave the dough raw just because it would be hard to work with and might burn on the outside but not cook through on the inside when re-heating.
My solution: The half-cook. Basically, I semi-cooked each pizza round, then topped it, and then froze it. This works surprisingly well!
I’m getting ahead of myself though. First, let’s make…
I knew that it would be really hard to maintain a perfect crust through the freezing process so I didn’t go with a really thin style crust like I normally use. This crust will end up a bit thicker and slightly more doughy which is a good thing for this kind of recipe.
If you’re in a rush, you can use store bought dough for these pizzas without too much of a problem. I just really enjoy making pizza dough actually so I always make my own.
I want to focus more on the freezing procedure in this post rather than the dough procedure. If you want detailed instructions on the dough, check out my farmer’s market pizza post. It uses the exact same procedure as I used for this dough, but instead of 10 ounce dough balls, I cut each ball down to 6 ounces which makes each pizza a bit smaller.
You can also check out the printed recipe for this post where I list the entire dough making procedure. Remember that this recipe makes 12 pizzas. If you’re going to freeze pizzas, I feel like that’s a good number. To do less than that wouldn’t really be worth it in my opinion.
I whipped up a basic marinara sauce for all my pizzas. I wanted something simple and quick.
I just added my canned tomatoes to a blender (you could also use a food processor or just buy tomato sauce rather than whole tomatoes). Then added a bunch of different dried spices until I had a flavorful sauce!
That’s all there is to it!
Before you start making your pizzas make sure you have all of your toppings chopped and ready. The pizza process is kind of a crazy assembly line and the last thing you want to have to worry about is chopping or grating stuff while you’re doing it.
This is the set-up I came up with to make my life easier for this project.
– Pizza Stone. I put my pizza stone in the oven and pre-heated it to 450 degrees which is slightly cooler than I normally bake pizzas.
- 2 Sheet Pans or plates. I set up two sheet pans. One to move a pizza crust to after it comes out of the oven and one in the freezer to cool off the pizza once it’s topped.
– Pizza Peel. A good peel is pretty essential for this.
- Foil. I double wrapped each pizza individually in foil to ward off dreaded freezer burn.
- Gallon sized freezer bags. After the pizzas are wrapped, I stored them in large plastic bags which will make sure they keep for even longer. I was able to fit three pizzas in a bag so I needed four bags total.
I was able to get into a serious groove while doing this and was able to completely finish all my pizzas in a little over an hour. That’s well worth it in my opinion to have 12 ready-made meals in the freezer for future use.
To start, take a ball of dough and roll it out into a rough circle. I was shooting for about 8 inch pizzas. Add a very light layer of sauce to the pizza which just keeps it from puffing up too much while cooking.
Slide this onto a hot baking stone and cook it for about 5 minutes. While it’s cooking, go ahead and roll out the second pizza, but don’t put it on the peel yet (because we need the peel to take out the first pizza).
After five minutes, pull out the first pizza and toss it on your reserve sheet pan. Add your second pizza to the peel, lightly sauce it, and slide it in the oven.
You’ll end up with this partially cooked crust:
Add a Tablespoon or two of additional sauce, cheese, and any toppings you want. I did four different varieties for my pizzas: Artichoke, pepperoni, mushrooms and peppers, and BBQ chicken using some leftovers from my BBQ chicken nachos.
This is my artichoke version.
After it’s topped, slide it into the freezer on your sheet pan. You should have time to then roll out your third pizza before you take your second pizza out of the oven.
The reason it’s important to put the topped pizzas in the freezer for 10 minutes or so is to give them time to cool way down before you wrap them. Otherwise, you’ll have a lot of moisture and condensation in with the pizza and that’s bad news for freezing things.
As you repeat your process though, eventually you’ll have two pizzas on the sheet pan in the freezer and when you need to move your third pizza into the freezer, take your first pizza out and wrap it in foil. It should be pretty cold by this point.
I double-wrapped my pizzas in foil and labeled them with the topping and date!
Eventually you’ll have 12 tightly wrapped pizzas ready for the icebox!
Someday, you’ll want to eat one or two of these beauties and when you do, it’s as easy as unwrapping them and putting them on a baking sheet.
Bake them at 450 degrees until the cheese is melted and the crust is golden brown, probably about 20 minutes.
You’ll be well-rewarded.
I judge pizza by the crust and the crust alone generally.
And for a frozen pizza, I have to say I was really impressed. It wasn’t perfectly crisp, but it wasn’t soggy at all either. And the edges were really good actually.
It had some chew to it and a slight bite which is good. I’d put it up against any frozen pizza on the market any day.
This is one of those posts where I expect to receive many emails about my insanity for wanting to make my own frozen pizzas.
I get it. It’s a little weird and might seem like a lot of work, but let’s add up the time quickly and see where we stand:
Making dough: 30 minutes (This is if you’re doing it by hand!)
Making sauce: 10 minutes
Chopping/grating toppings: 15 minutes
Making/freezing pizzas: 75 minutes
Clean up: 10 minutes
Total time: 2 hours and 20 minutes which is less time than it took you to watch Avatar.
And you get 12 delicious meals out of it when Avatar just left you with an intense desire to watch Avatar again.