Gramma Karen’s Homemade Pizza

By | 2018-01-29T20:38:26+00:00 January 25th, 2018|

My mom made the best homemade pizza. Hers was nothing like the pizza you get today from the popular chains. She would make a large thin-crusted cheese pizza in a big and very used (aka seasoned) cookie sheet. It was a simple cheese pizza, but it was covered with a lot of good Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese!

Gramma Rose – The Original Gramma Karen

Gramma Karen’s mother, Gramma Rose

In addition, she made a pan full of roasted sweet Italian sausage and red peppers and serve it with the pizza. The pizza was cut into large rectangles and we wrapped the pizza around the roasted sausage (kind of like a taco). My mouth is watering as I write this.

Italian Sausage with Roasted Peppers and Onions for homemade pizza

Today, that “pizza taco” idea has faded away. We have a few picky eaters in the bunch and cheese is their favorite topping! The good news is the 4 year-old, Jack, loves pizza and he loves making pizza with his Gramma. Of course he likes kneading and squishing the dough, but he also enjoys watching the yeast bubble up. He is fascinated at how big the dough can rise. He (with the help of his mom) actually did their preK science project on “What Food Makes Yeast Rise Faster” (and yes there was a science fair for preschoolers!).

Jack's What Makes Yeast Rise Project

Jack’s “What Makes Yeast Rise” Project

Jack is a big eater! He loves all kinds of pizzas, from the basic cheese to sausage, olives, pepperoni, and, mushrooms.  He is a true pizza lover and I love making pizzas with Jack!  And he loves MY Pizza. 

Actually, because I live 1500 miles from Jack, he and his family often go to a local pizzeria not far from their home.  Jack use to say that their pizzas were just a little bit better than mine. But, on my last visit I finally won. Jack said mine were better… Ahh, success.

So now I am sharing the recipe for the world’s best pizza, according to Jack!

Gramma Karen’s Homemade Pizza

1 ½ to 2 Hours Easy
15-20 Minutes 6-8

Gramma Karen's homemade pizza

  • 5 cups of bread flour – divided
  • 1 envelope dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups warm water – divided

Mix 1 cup water, sugar and yeast and let sit for a few minutes and let the yeast activate

Add 2 ½ cups flour with yeast/sugar and mix well by hand or in a mixer with a dough hook.

Add the remaining flour and drizzle in the remaining water and knead for about 5 minutes until dough is soft like a baby’s bottom.

Shape into a ball and cover in olive oil. Put in a large bowl, cover with a clean dish towel (or even a paper towel).

Let the dough rise for at least an hour and when it doubles in size, punch it back down. If you make it too ahead of time you can let it rise and punch it down several times.

When it’s time to make the pizzas, remove dough from bowl and add more just a little more flour as needed so it’s not sticky.

Split dough in thirds or half depending on the size of your pan and pat with fingers each ball of dough very thin and place on greased pan.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

  • 8 oz. Tomato sauce
  • 2 cloves diced garlic or 1 Tablespoon garlic salt
  • 1 Tablespoon oregano
  • 1 Tablespoon dry basil
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ cup water

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil stirring occasionally to prevent burning.

Reduce to low (to medium-low) heat and let simmer 30 to 60 minutes. The longer it simmers the better the flavor.

Toppings are your choice.

Here are our favorites

  • Lots of shredded cheese from mozzarella, Parmagiano, better yet, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
  • Italian Sausage, cooked and broken into chunks
  • Pepperoni
  • Sautéed mushrooms
  • Olives
  • You name it

Hint: do not put an over generous amount of sauce on the pizza. Less is better especially if you want a crispy under crust. Too much sauce makes your pizza
soggy. And don’t spread the tomato sauce all the way to the edges. Put a little MORE cheese on that you might think and it’s always a good idea to DRIZZLE a PINCH of olive oil over the top before cooing.

Bake each pizza on the lowest rack separately at 450 degrees F for 15-20 minutes checking the bottom crust needs to be brown and crisp.

Let the pizza sit at least 5 minutes before cutting.

Serve with a salad and a light oil and vinegar dressing.

About the Author:

Hello, my name is Karen McCullough. When I am not a Gramma I am a professional speaker who travels across the country working with organizations, businesses and associations on Generations in the Workplace. I love speaking and traveling, but when I am not on the go I really love being the Grandmother. My Family encouraged me to start a blog to share ideas and the fun things I do with my grandkids. I am really thrilled that they notice, and encouraged me to create a space to share and connect with other Grams. That said, I hope you enjoy my website. I will try and keep you updated on the adventures, activities, ideas and recipes of Gramma Karen.


  1. J-Bird February 1, 2018 at 5:51 pm - Reply

    Maybe I’ll get brave and try to have a relationship with pizza dough. I’m scared but it sounds really good!

  2. Karen McCullough February 1, 2018 at 6:46 pm - Reply

    Thanks J-Bird. Can’t wait to see your site so I can link it to my sites in blogs!!!

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