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Homemade Pizza: Easy Ways to Prepare it in Your Big Rig


Among the most versatile of foods to fix on the road is homemade pizza. Whether it

  • is made from scratch –- including the pizza dough -- in your truck,
  • has been prepared in its entirety by your home support team, or
  • requires some assembly from prepared products,

the variations are limited only by your choice of a base and toppings, as well as your cooking apparatus.



Pizza Dough and Crust

One of the most important parts of your homemade pizza is the dough or crust.

  • If you like the taste of your own pizza dough best -– and if you have the yeast, the ingredients and the kitchen materials to allow you to handle raw dough, dough risings, crust formation, and baking –- you can make your own pizza crust. In fact, we will provide our favorite pizza dough recipe below.
  • If dealing with pizza dough is too messy or involved for you, you can use a pre-made pizza crust of some kind. Some stores sell prepared crusts such as Boboli's or Mama Mary's.(1)
  • Perhaps your home support team can make a crust for you to use on the road. Just Google "Boboli pizza crust clone recipe."
  • You can also use English muffins or bagels as the base for your homemade pizza. This option is fast and allows you to make as many or as few as you want.


Our Favorite Pizza Dough Recipe (in 4 different sizes)

When we made pizza dough at home -- or make it on vacation -- we use this recipe (which is modified slightly from one we found in an old bread machine recipe book). Mike likes to make two large, thick crust pizzas at a time, so he quadruples the recipe. Please note that when he does this, he

  • backs off on the olive oil to 2 Tbsp.,
  • backs off on the yeast to 2 Tbsp. (since the type of yeast we use does a really good job) and
  • adds 1/2 cup of sugar.


Ingredient Amount Amount x 2 Amount x 3 Amount x 4
Water 2/3 cup 1-1/3 cup 2 cups 2-2/3 cups
Olive oil 1-1/2 Tbsp. 3 Tbsp. 4-1/2 Tbsp. 6 Tbsp.
Salt 1/2 tsp. 1 tsp. 1-1/2 tsp. 2 tsp.
Bread flour 2 cups 4 cups 6 cups 8 cups
Yeast 1-1/2 tsp. 3 tsp. 4-1/2 tsp. 6 tsp.


When we load our homemade pizza crust with the toppings of our choice, we bake it at 450°F as follows:

  • on a large pan for 16 minutes or
  • on the "big hole pan" for 15 minutes.




Heating Your Pizza in Your Truck

If your homemade pizza was made in its entirety at home, all you need to do is heat up on the road in a toaster oven, Jet Stream Oven or microwave oven.

Notes:

We do not recommend baking a pizza with lightweight toppings in a Jet Stream Oven since the high-speed air is likely to shift them. Also, the Jet Stream Oven's maximum temperature is 400°F, making it impossible to cook the dough at the temperature we use for baking our homemade pizza. For initial baking, we recommend that you use a regular oven or toaster oven.

Once the pizza has been baked and the toppings have been "attached" to the crust with the melted cheese, we have found that a Jet Stream Oven does a marvelous job of warming up the "pie" and making the crust crispy.

Contrast this situation to warming up pizza in a microwave oven, the result being that the crust becomes soggy. Mike notes that when he has heated pizza in a microwave, the cheese tends to ooze off the top of the pizza onto the plate.

Pizza can easily be frozen and reheated at a later time.



Photo Tutorial of Making Homemade Pizza

The following photo tutorial shows how we recently fixed homemade pizza using pre-made pizza crusts and jarred pizza sauce at home. This same technique can easily be used in your truck. Since the pizza crust is already prepared, all you need to do is add the toppings of your choice and bake it.

Mama Mary's pre-made pizza crusts, three to a package.

We chose as our base a pre-made crust from Mama Mary's. The package we purchased contained three pizza crusts.

Upon following the directions for preparation, we noticed that the crust was not as thick as we would have liked.

Also, for our taste, the crust was not sweet enough. Still these pre-made pizza crusts did a decent job. The cost of the 3-pack was $2.50 at Wal-Mart.



This is a photo of the back of the pizza crust package. Farther down on this page, we provide a close-up of the directions at the top. Notice all of the nutrition facts.

The package is vacuum-packed for preservation.

All three of the crusts were the same size. We chose this size pizza crust because we wanted the pizza to fit in our toaster oven.

The back panel from the Mama Mary's pre-made pizza crusts.


Store brand pizza sauce – front label. Store brand pizza sauce – front label.

You can buy prepared "pizza sauce" to put on your homemade pizza, but if you look at the list of ingredients (see image below), you will find that the base is just tomato puree (water and tomato paste).

We personally prefer to use spaghetti sauce on our pizzas, but for the purposes of this page, we used the pizza sauce.

List of ingredients from pizza sauce.


The cost of the pizza sauce (minus tax) was $1.00 for 14 ounces. Just for kicks, Vicki decided to see what would happen if she mixed and matched the store brand of tomato paste and tomato sauce to come up with about the same number of ounces.

The 12 ounce can of tomato paste was (minus tax) $0.75. The 8 ounce can of tomato sauce was (minus tax) $0.26.

Together, they cost $1.01 for 20 ounces of sauce.

Store brand cans of tomato paste, 12 ounces, and tomato sauce, 8 ounces.


Store brand can of mushrooms, pieces and stems.

This is where customization of your homemade pizza gets personal. We personally like a pepperoni-mushroom pizza.

The store brand can of mushrooms meets our needs. Just drain and put on top.

Some folks like to put fresh vegetables directly on top of their pizzas, like mushrooms, tomatoes, green or red peppers, onions, broccoli, jalapeño peppers, banana peppers, etc.



Besides pepperoni and mushrooms on our pizza, we like extra cheese. Mike puts a layer of shredded mozzarella cheese directly on top of the pizza sauce and another on top of all the toppings he adds. Please note that not all cheeses are created equal. Vicki made the photo of this label from the store brand of "natural low-moisture part-skim mozzarella shredded cheese" so that you may see the ingredients. If you are concerned about the foods you eat, please investigate the differences between cheeses.

Label from store brand of mozzarella cheese.


Front panel of name brand pre-sliced pepperoni.

Just as there are differences in cheeses, there are differences in processed meats. We prefer using pre-sliced pepperoni on our homemade pizza. There are two major brands sold where we live and we prefer the brand whose package is shown.

Now the package says that the amount in the bag "makes 4 large pizzas." Of course, this is open to interpretation. How big are those "large" pizzas and how many pepperoni slices are on it?

Restaurants that sell large quantities of pizza may offer a "pepperoni feast" option, which has a higher number of slices than a traditional pepperoni pizza. When Mike fixes a pepperoni feast-type pizza at home, he overlaps the edges of the pepperoni slices slightly.



Directions on back of pre-made pizza crusts package.

The directions on the back of the pre-made pizza crusts package calls for lightly brushing the crust with olive oil.

We're not sure of the reason behind this, other than perhaps to keep the crusts from being too dry. Mike interpreted the brushing instruction to mean brushing both sides. We don't have a pastry brush, so he spread oil on the crusts with a spoon. Since we always use extra virgin olive oil in our pizza dough recipes, we followed suit with this one. Please note that olive oil can be purchased in different grades and different size containers.

Label of extra virgin olive oil.


Preparing the homemade pizza by spreading on the pizza sauce. After spreading on the olive oil on one crust, Mike prepared it by spreading on a layer of the pizza sauce. Mike prefers a "light" amount of sauce. Vicki prefers just a little more. Please note that pies made with heavier amounts of sauce are likely to ooze sauce upon being cut or bitten.


Before baking After baking
Homemade pizza prepared, before baking. Homemade pizza prepared, after baking.






Cost

We estimated the cost of these three homemade pizzas using pre-made pizza crusts as follows:

Ingredient Cost
Pre-made pizza crusts $2.50
Pizza sauce (store brand, half jar used) $0.50
Mozzarella cheese (store brand, double layer on all three pizzas, estimated cost) $1.50
Mushrooms (store brand, one can was enough for all three pizzas) $1.00
Pepperoni (partial bag used, estimated cost) $2.00
Olive oil (estimated cost) $0.10
Aluminum foil for pan (estimated cost) $0.05
TOTAL COST $7.65

Please note that your costs may be different.



Pizza Area

Now, you may wonder about the area of three small pizzas compared to one large pizza. We can calculate the area of a circle online.

  • The small pre-made pizza crusts fit on our toaster oven tray, which is about 7" front to back. The radius is therefore about 3.5 inches, giving an area of 38.484510575. Multiply this figure by three to get the total area for three 7-inch pizzas: 115.453531725.
  • In measuring our two large pizza pans at home, Vicki found that they are 15" across or 7.5" radius. The area is therefore 176.714589375.

Of course, we did not calculate the cost of the toppings that it would take to cover a 15" pizza to see if it is more cost effective than the smaller ones.



Pizza made with English Muffins

When making homemade pepperoni pizza (with no mushrooms) on English muffins, we add a little more than a heaping tablespoon of sauce, three slices of pepperoni and a very small amount of cheese (one layer) to each half. Since the muffins have already been baked, the only baking that is needed is to cook the toppings. This is a very fast snack.



Pizza Varieties

When it comes to making pizza, the sky is the limit on toppings. You can find ideas for pizzas online.(2)






truck drivers money saving tip icon

Money saving tip: Making homemade pizza can be much more cost effective than buying a store- or restaurant-prepared pizza.

On top of that, when you have a pizza delivered, it is expected that you will tip the delivery person. When you make your own, you can save the tip.

Although it is not necessarily thought of as a money saving tip, by using ingredients that you personally approve for your pizza and by practicing good hygiene, you can help reduce health-related problems associated with inferior ingredients or workers not using good hygiene. Of course, some ingredients are healthier than others. There are places online where you can find nutrition data.(3) Please use your own best judgment.





Reference:
1. http://boboli.bimbobakeriesusa.com/
2. http://www.dominos.com/home/main_servlet?storeid=9999&COMMAND_MENU
3. http://www.nutritiondata.com/






Return from Homemade Pizza: Easy Ways to Prepare it in Your Big Rig to our Food and Recipes page or our Truck Drivers Money Saving Tips home page.







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