When Aldona of Aldona B Creative reached out to invite me to a pizza-making class at Sauce Italian Kitchen & Market, my first thought was “YES!” followed quickly by an “oh no!” Yes, now that I’ve learned how to prepare my own pizza dough at home, I’m foreseeing many future years of dietary self-sabotage and overindulgence ahead.
At the event, Sauce owner Jenna Bazzana and her team treated us to a wonderful evening of wine, pizza and new friends. I’ve driven past Sauce on the corner of 17th Ave and 33 St SW so many times since they opened two years ago without any idea that the venue contains a full restaurant, bakery, cafe, deli, market and catering service. All of their lines of business use and sell lots of fresh, local and house made items. If that all doesn’t make them sound impressive enough, Sauce also offers a Social Hour cooking class series that’s unfortunately about to wrap up for the season. I definitely plan to check in with them in the fall when the next “semester” launches!
For the three of my readers who are here for my charming stories about overeating, please feel free to skip to the bottom of the recipe for a recap of this lovely event. I know the rest of you are really here for the recipe, so let’s get to it.
One quick note – you may be wondering about the “00 flour” on the ingredients list. Double zero flour is more finely ground and generally made from durum wheat, so it results in less chewy pasta and pizza crusts than if you’d used all-purpose flour. You can try this with all-purpose if you must, but 00 flour is carried at most Italian markets, including Sauce ($3.99 per 1 kg bag as of today). I highly recommend it!
Homemade Pizza via Sauce Italian Kitchen & Market
- 2 ¼ tsp dry yeast
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp salt
- 1 ¼ cup warm water
- 3 ½ cups 00 flour
- ¼ cup olive oil
- extra flour for rolling
- your favourite pizza toppings
To make the dough:
- Whisk yeast, sugar and warm water in a small bowl, then leave it loosely covered in a warm place for 10 minutes, or until it looks foamy on top. (There are photos in the event recap if you feel the need to peek!) You’ll be tempted to mess around with it – just give it time to do its thing.
- In a large bowl, mix salt and flour with a fork. Create a well in the middle of the flour.
- Once the yeast mixture is foamy, pour it into the well. With a fork, slowly bring the flour down from the sides of the well while slowly pouring in the olive oil.
- Continue slowly bringing flour down from the sides of the bowl until all three are incorporated.
- Once the fork has outlived its usefulness, get your hands in there instead. Mix the dough by folding it over and over until it’s sticky, but firm. If you’ve incorporated all the flour and it’s still too wet and sticky, mix in a bit more flour as you fold.
- Flour the surface of your table generously, then transfer the dough onto the table.
- Knead the dough until it reaches a soft, silky consistency.
- Place in an oiled bowl and cover with cling wrap, then let it sit in a warm area for about 30 minutes.
- You can freeze the dough for later (I suggest cutting it into 2-3 pieces first) or save it in the fridge in a ziploc bag for up to about four days.
To bake your pizza:
- Set your oven to 425 F.
- Cut dough into desired size (about a third of the batch you just made should produce a lovely thin-crust pizza) and flour your table generously.
- Roll the dough out to approximately 10 inches. Don’t be like Matt and allow it to form a Pacman-like shape – keep rotating it between rolls so you’re getting a more evenly rounded base.
- Cover with your favourite toppings (less is more, seriously!) and bake for 25 minutes or until the edges look lightly golden brown.
- Don’t burn your mouth while you enjoy!
No, Matt hadn’t already taken a bite out of it – it was just the misshapen pizza crust he was stuck with after he struggled with the rolling stage.
Now that the recipe nerds are done reading, we can get to the good stuff. While we waited for everyone to gather, we had a bit of a chance to wander around and admire all the fresh and reasonably priced treats in the bakery. I’m coming back for some of those 10 for $1 meringue bites! Sauce staff poured us each a deep glass of wine, then patiently walked us through making the dough and assembling our pizzas. While our pizzas were baking, they served us some of Sauce’s own wood-fired creations to show us how the pros do it. (Spoiler alert – theirs were way prettier than ours!)
We learned to watch our mixture of yeast, sugar and warm water for the telltale frothiness to signal it’s ready to be poured into the well we made in our flour and salt.
We gently used forks to bring the flour and salt down into our well while we slowly poured in the olive oil. After a lot of stirring (and then folding with our hands) we had each made a beautiful ball of dough!
Next we rolled the pizza dough out nice and thin. Guys, I tried to help Matt – he’s just not very good at this. (Sorry, honey!)
Then we got to top the pizzas with sauce made according to Jenna’s grandmother’s recipe. Jenna’s team had also prepared shiny mounds of fresh mozzarella for us to tear apart with our hands like animals (this was obviously my favourite step) as well as a variety of meats, cheeses and veggies. I was pretty proud of my elegant and classic Margherita while Matt went with a more sloppy technique. He put the cheese on, realized with horror that he really wanted to put the pepperoni on first, then emergency lifted the saucy cheese and dropped it back down on top of the meat. As a former pizza delivery boy, his head was hanging in shame for sure.
Next, Sauce staff brought us their pizzas to try! I loved the Limone Ricotta with its bright, citrusy notes over creamy ricotta and salty prosciutto.
Despite not particularly liking mushrooms, we went crazy for the Mushroom Lover. Anything with truffle and/or pesto is going to get a thumbs up from me!
Matt’s first instinct on pizza night is to order the one with the least vegetables possible, so I moved out of the way quickly when I found myself between him and this meat-covered pie. Delicious! You could really taste the high quality meats vs the crumbly stuff that comes out from the major chains.
I absolutely loved this one! The thyme aioli was such a pleasant and tangy surprise.
I was skeptical about this one, but it ended up being my absolute favourite. They had thrown some onions on in addition to the usual recipe and the flavour combinations were insane. Matt hates the idea of fruit (read: pineapple) on pizza, but even he was digging this combo. I absolutely must go back to have this again!
We were sent home with the pizzas we’d made (which were fantastic leftovers), our extra dough and a pair of cannoli along with some really cool swag that they made in-house:
Nonna Rosie is Jenna’s grandmother! This is her signature bolognese recipe, which we plan to crack open over a plate of pasta in due course.
As mentioned earlier, truffle-flavoured anything gets my seal of approval. Sadly for me, a good wife would wait until Matt comes home from work next week to pop this open… right?
The coffee served in the Sauce cafe and sold in packages in their market is roasted in-house. Each roast is named after members of Jenna’s family based on their personalities, so the tasting notes on the “Rosie and Johnny” house blend lead me to believe that they’re pretty great people to know!
Thanks again to Jenna, Aldona and the teams at Sauce and Aldona B Creative for a fantastic event!