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making a good pizza at home

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 

What does it take to make a great pizza at home?

post #2 of 20

I find using a pizza stone really helps. Of course your dough recipe makes a huge impact.Often I will heat up my grill with the pizza stone and it works out very well.

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Nicko 
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post #3 of 20

An authentic wood fired pizza oven. Barring that you can do a great pizza at home in your standard oven. When you get ready to make pizza place a pizza stone on the center rack and be sure to preheat your oven at its highest temperature setting. That should be in the neighborhood of 550 degrees F. When I say preheat your oven that does not mean wait until the little red preheat light goes out. All those tell you about is the air temperature inside the oven. A properly preheated oven means the ceiling, floor, walls and door are all preheated. That way when you open the door to put the pizza on the stone your air temperature recovery will be very fast.

 

The other two important considerations are the crust and the sauce. The basic crust recipe is as follows:

 

500 grams flour, typo 00 - substitute all-purpose if you can't find typo 00

300 milliliters water

50 milliliters Extra Virgin Olive Oil

10 grams kosher salt

5 grams instant yeast or 7 grams active dry

 

Combine the flour, yeast, and salt in a mixing bowl. Whisk. Add the water and stir to moisten the flour. Let rest for 10 minutes. Add the olive oil. Knead until it comes together into a rough dough. Turn out onto a floured work surface and continue kneading until you have a nice smooth dough, about another 7 minutes. Form into a boule, place in a clean bowl sprayed with non-stick spray, lightly coat the dough with the spray, as well. Cover with film and allow to rise until doubled in volume. 

 

Separate the dough into 4 equal sized pieces. punch them down form into boules again. coat them with spray oil again, and cover and let proof until doubled in volume one more time. Roll out using a rolling pin, sauce, top, and bake.

 

For a great pizza sauce make a simple marinara.

 

San Marzano tomatoes

Extra Virgin olive oil

kosher salt

sweet basil

 

If you nail the crust and sauce and properly preheat your oven you can turn out a great pizza in your kitchen. Remember the toppings are the schmutz - if you hit everything else it's going to be great no matter how you top it.

post #4 of 20

I agree with Chefanthonyd: take care with the toppings  The instinctive reaction is to load up a home-baked pizza with too many toppings; try to start with a minimal amount, and increase as you get more experience.

post #5 of 20

I do a take on Detroit style pizza and I use store made dough for convenience.  I oil it and let it rise under cling in my oven (pilot keeps it warm) then stretch it to fit my pan (blue steel that is lubed with bacon drippings) then cover with a towel and let it raise again.  I dice my peppers and let them hang out between paper towels to wick moisture and my pepperoni and cheese are at room temp with a build.  When its time I put it in a 450 oven for a couple of minutes to set the dough then build my pie and bake.  

 

I make fresh sauce from canned tomatoes, paste, garlic salt and onion powder, pepperoncino and a little sugar.  I let that work at room temp for a few hours.  I add my sauce to the pie then I run my cheese right to the rim of the pan - (that way it caramelizes while cooking) then my toppings and into the oven to finish.  It's done when the bottom of the dough is a deep golden brown and the cheese is brown as well.  The crust if light, airy, but super crunchy on the bottom.  It's an interesting way to make pizza and I just can't order pizza from a shop anymore.  

 

disclaimer:  I was a pizza maker when I was young and I've made thousands of pizzas and have eaten thousands of slices of pizza.  This is a hit every time I make it which is about every Thursday because why?  Thursday is Pizza Night.  

post #6 of 20

Dough. Don't rush it. There are a number of good approaches. Regular rising, retarded rise--particularly for thin cracker type crusts. Rolling, stretching. Even just buying some from your pizzeria is fine. 

 

Hot HOT oven, with a HOT baking surface. Stone is good, quarry tile if food safe, cast iron pizza pans/griddles, baking steels. Oven at the highest temp, baking surface preheated minimum 30 minutes. More is often better. 

 

Toppings and sauce. Less is usually more. The thinner the crust, the sparser the topping must be. 

 

Skip the cornmeal for lubrication and just use trimmed parchment paper. A rimless baking sheet or a pizza peel is very helpful for putting pizza on the stone and getting it off. 

 

Standing time. A pizza is better if it has a few minutes for the cheese to cool a bit and bind to the sauce/crust before cutting. 

 

A wheel works for cutting, but a pizza knife/rocker does it better and is worth it if you're serious about pizza. 

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post #7 of 20

We like to make our pizza on our outdoor gas grill.  You can get the temp up very hot, very quickly.  I just use a basic pizza dough recipe, roll out a smaller disc size (think personal pizza...6" or so), spray the grill with cooking spray ( -before- you start the grill), throw the dough on the grill (no pan or stone...just throw directly on the grill grates), close lid and grill for 5-6 minutes, spray top side of dough and flip, then put on your sauce (When it comes to the sauce...I feel less is more....I make my own pizza sauce...a simple marinara) and toppings/cheese, close lid and grill for another 5 minutes or until browned and cheese is melted.  My grandkids love pizza made this way.  Super easy and the pizza tastes much like one from a brick oven.  

post #8 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by chefanthonyd View Post
 

An authentic wood fired pizza oven. Barring that you can do a great pizza at home in your standard oven. When you get ready to make pizza place a pizza stone on the center rack and be sure to preheat your oven at its highest temperature setting. That should be in the neighborhood of 550 degrees F. When I say preheat your oven that does not mean wait until the little red preheat light goes out. All those tell you about is the air temperature inside the oven. A properly preheated oven means the ceiling, floor, walls and door are all preheated. That way when you open the door to put the pizza on the stone your air temperature recovery will be very fast.

 

 

This is some solid advice... thanks @chefanthonyd.

Works for just about anything that is baked .... set to desired temp then wait 15-20 min after the light indicates it has been reached.

An oven thermometer (or 3) doesn't hurt either.

 

mimi

post #9 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve TPHC View Post
 

 

I am in favor of Pizza from Rome Italy. It is made with a sour dough starter and special flour which includes Italian 000 (2/3) and classic European artisan bread flour (1/3) that has some ash and is made from hard winter wheat. Also necessary are sea salt and a little olive oil. If the flour is not right, the crust will never be great. See King Arthur for these flours.

 

My bread starter is fermented until the lactic acid makes is smell sour, which involves feeding it over a minimum of three days (room temperature), or longer if your yeast is not the instant variety.

 

King Arthur has an excellent pizza blend as well as a flavor enhancer that enriches the doughs flavor.

 

I let the mixed dough mature a whole day or more in the refrigerator, then rise again at room temperature until it doubles its size. This also improves the nutrition of the crust.

 

The pizza is best in a very hot wood fired pizza oven. I use my BBQ grill equiped with a ceramatic floor tile and a wood smoke box at 600~650 F.

 

degrees. A thin crust pizz cooks in 6 minutes or less. 

 

Because I teach techniques, I found it useful to make a short video on using the BBQ Grill for making homemade pizza. Let me know what you think.

 

 

 

 

 

post #10 of 20

I use quarry stones in the oven instead of a proper pizza stone. It works.

I totally agree with keeping toppings to a minimum. Too much makes the pizza soggy.

 

I found this video class by Peter Reinhart (free) very helpful as well: http://www.craftsy.com/class/perfect-pizza-at-home/186?_ct=sbqii-sqjuweho-dum&_ctp=1&rceId=1448171510014~gysi3rmp

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post #11 of 20

Peter Reinhart also has a good book, American Pie.  It is about pizza.

post #12 of 20

Back in my early college days I was all about piling on the toppings.  Now it is crust, sauce cheeses and 2 - 3 things that play well together. There's a chain called Pizza Rev that I sometimes hit for lunch. My favorite that I build is white sauce, mozz, mushrooms, anchovies and garlic. Mushroom and black olives on classic red sauce is another favorite.

 

These folks are SERIOUS about pizza:

 

http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/index.php

 

 

 

mjb.

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post #13 of 20

I'm on the purist side when it comes to pizza - no more than three toppings.  No BBQ sauce, no chicken, no avocados, no calamari . . . My kids order this BBQ chicken thing (they call it pizza) and I shudder when they eat it.  :rolleyes:

post #14 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike9 View Post

I'm on the purist side when it comes to pizza - no more than three toppings.  No BBQ sauce, no chicken, no avocados, no calamari . . . My kids order this BBQ chicken thing (they call it pizza) and I shudder when they eat it.  rolleyes.gif
You should go to Italy then and see what they put on their pizza you'd be shocked

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post #15 of 20

Made pizza for dinner last night - let the dough raise twice then fresh sauce, four cheese Mexican blend around the edge, mozzarella on the rest, pepperoni, mushrooms, red pepper, shaved garlic - delicious.

post #16 of 20
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike9 View Post
 

Made pizza for dinner last night - let the dough raise twice then fresh sauce, four cheese Mexican blend around the edge, mozzarella on the rest, pepperoni, mushrooms, red pepper, shaved garlic - delicious.

A kindred spirit!

Try a sprinkle of onion powder on top of the blend sometime.

Sometimes I only eat that part and leave the rest lol.

 

mimi

post #17 of 20

Home-made dough in KA stand mixer.  A bit of a "dump" recipe.  About a cup of warm water & about a TBSP of powdered yeast.  My sister buys 1-2 lb package of yeast (at Costco, I think) and sends me about a pint jar full.  It just lives in freezer and is VERY active.  A little olive oil, a little salt & enough flour.  It doubles in an oiled and covered bowl in no more than half an hour.  I like Don Pepino's pizza sauce... in a can, tastes like stuff on pies from local pizza place.  Nice long preheat of stone at highest temp possible on oven... like 500, I think.  Without having an actual pizza oven, find cheese will brown some rather than just melt.  Thinking pizza oven does the job in maybe 5 minutes or so... not possible with regular oven.

 

I like to make what I call a "garbage pie"... onions, mushrooms, peppers, black olives, pepperoni... whatever I have and choose to use.  Last pizza I made, started with sauce and all toppings EXCEPT the cheese for about half of total bake time.  Cheese for second half of maybe 15 minutes total... cheese doesn't get overly brown that way.

 

After a few times of almost losing the whole thing while shuffling it off corn meal dusted peel, I build it on parchment and just bake on that on top of hot stone.

 

Now I'm hungry for pizza... thinking some TURKEY will be included in the "garbage"?!?

post #18 of 20

15 minutes on a stone? I get a perfect pizza in half that.

post #19 of 20
Mine take about 12 to 15 minutes.
I am planning to try one on the charcoal kettle braai. That should be quick!

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post #20 of 20

All of the above plus this forum here.  8)

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