With a little local help, making your own pizza is a snap

Dough can be bought, but don't leave the all-important sauce to a jar from the supermarket.

Let someone else handle the crust and focus your efforts on homemade sauce.
Let someone else handle the crust and focus your efforts on homemade sauce.

— Getty Images

For those who want to make pizza at home, there's no shortage of cookbooks to serve as guides.

But for those who don't have the time or inclination to deal with flour and yeast, there's another way to enjoy at-home pizzamaking, and that's having someone else handle the dough-making duties.

Twin Cities supermarkets and food co-ops feature a number of locally made frozen pizza doughs. The semi-homemade results will outshine the usual suspects found in the frozen-food aisle and streamline the process down to a few basic steps: thaw, shape, top, bake and eat.

A superior product comes out of Sunrise Flour Mill in North Branch, Minn., which calls upon its own freshly milled flour — made from a combination of two heritage single-source organic wheats — to create a flavorful dough that requires proofing; the results are worth the extra step. Find it (about $4) at many food co-ops, including Lakewinds Food Co-op (three locations, lakewinds.coop).

The busy bakery crew at Wedge Community Co-op (2105 Lyndale Av. S., Mpls., tccp.coop) uses an organic bread flour for its terrific par-baked and frozen products (both $3.99); the latter is also available at Linden Hills Co-op (3815 Sunnyside Av., Mpls., tccp.coop) and Seward Community Co-op (2823 E. Franklin Av., Mpls., and 317 E. 38th St., Mpls., seward.coop).

Two others worth checking out hail from the newly renovated Surdyk's Cheese Shop ($2.99 per pound, 303 E. Hennepin Av., Mpls., surdyks.com) and Turtle Bread Co. (4762 Chicago Av. S., Mpls., turtlebread.com), which taps the adjacent Pizza Biga for its appealing dough ($3.99).

Value seekers should consider the $1.99 version from Kowalski's Markets (11 Twin Cities locations, kowalskis.com), which is the same robust dough that's used in the pizzas sold at the stores' delis.

Burnsville-based Valley's Own Bakehouse (valleysownbakehouse.coop) makes a gluten-free crust ($4.79 for two) that's available at most food co-ops and some Hy-Vees.

Also look to neighborhood pizzerias — some sell refrigerated or frozen dough. A good example is Broders' Cucina Italiana (2308 W. 50th St., Mpls., broders.com), which offers both fresh dough and par-baked crusts ($5 to $8), plus kits ($45) for staging family pizza nights.

A final tip: Don't leave the all-important sauce to a jar from the supermarket. Prepare a fresh version, because the flavor and color payoffs are enormous.

This fantastic pizza sauce recipe from "Mastering Pizza" by Philadelphia chef Marc Vetri (Ten Speed Press, 2018) requires just four ingredients and a few minutes. You won't want to reach for your pizza stone without it.

Pizza Sauce

Makes 1 quart.

"Tomatoes, olive oil, basil and salt," write authors Marc Vetri and David Joachim in "Mastering Pizza" (Ten Speed Press). "What more do you need?"

• 1 (28-oz.) can whole peeled plum tomatoes (such as La Valle), with liquid

• 1/4 c. packed fresh basil leaves

• 3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil

• 1 tsp. kosher salt

Directions

In the jar of a blender (or in a deep 1-quart container, using a stick blender), combine tomatoes, basil, olive oil and salt, and blend until chunky. Short pulses are best; overblending can make this sauce thin. Use immediately or refrigerate for 4 to 5 days.

For a more uniform texture — without the tomato seeds — pass the tomatoes through a food mill, and chop the basil. In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, basil, olive oil and salt.

For a marinara sauce ("When I want to taste tomato on my pizza, this is my favorite sauce," writes Vetri), omit the basil. Place tomatoes in a large bowl and squeeze them by hand (caution: tomatoes will squirt) until the sauce is chunky with no big tomato pieces; alternately, pass the tomatoes through a food mill to catch the seeds. Stir in the olive oil and salt (makes about 3 cups) and use immediately or refrigerate for 4 to 5 days.