Homemade pizza - tips and advice

I’ve been called upon to make pizza from scratch at home. This is mostly spurred on by a gigantic can of sliced black olives that was given to us as a mathom (I think I’m the third owner on it). Also, it will be fun (well, that’s my husband’s claim anyways) for everyone to get in on making pizza. I don’t have a pizza stone, but could I just use a tile from Home Despot?

I’ve got sauce and all that down, but I could use some tips on crust. Recipes and general tips are welcome.

I have a pizza stone, but you can use unglazed quarry tile from Home Depot. The pizza stone (or tile) is crucial for me. I like East Coast style pies with thin crusts that get little black flecks on the underside and edges. East Coast pizzas generally are made with a high-gluten flour (i.e. bread flour). I’ve had good success with all purpose flour, as well, though.

To develop flavor, find a recipe that uses an overnight rise in the fridge. I make my pizzas with the stone on the grill, and I shoot for temps of pretty much as high as I can get it. I’m guessing my grate temp gets around 650F when all is said and done. If I do it in the oven, I pump it up to the highest setting (550F) and let the pizza stone preheat for at least a half hour. (Here’s the result of my last effort. Not quite as good as previous efforts, but still tasty.)

For more in-depth tips, be sure to visit pizzamaking.com. I just make my dough with water, flour, salt, and yeast in a food processor. Some recipes might also call for oil and/or honey/sugar. I find the simple recipes are just fine. Also, you might benefit from the use of a pizza peel to slide the dough onto the stone. Otherwise, make sure to flour or apply corn meal to whatever surface you’re going to slide the pizza from in order to avoid ending up baking some bastard version of a calzone cuz the dough stuck.

I agree that some sort of stone is key to making your srust turn out right. And nothing ruins pizza faster than bad crust.

I acutally bought a base from a big terra cotta planter from Home Depot when I couldn’t find any decent tiles. It’s a 16" saucer, and makes an awesome pizza stone.

For the dough, stick to the simple recipes. Or even easier, run to your nearest mom&pop pizza joint and buy the dough from them.

You said you had the sauce figured out.

I don’t think you need toppings suggestions, but for black olives, I would recommend prosciutto and white baby asparagus.

I bake mine on the rack of the broiling pan (the one with the holes). At the bottom of the oven at 400-450oF, you get a nice crispy crust with some dark spots. Just make sure you flour it well and don’t press on it once it is on the pan.

Do you still have the cookbook from the Cuisinart?

I use a simple pizza dough recipe. flour, water, yeast, salt, olive oil. We make it in a kitchenaid mixer.

Just preheat your stone for at least a half hour at the highest temperature your oven will go.

Then, play around with it. You might want your stone in the bottom of your over, or the top, or the middle. It took a few bad pizzas, and a lot of mediocre pizzas before we finally thought we were good.

You might need to play around with the dough recipe.

Life is much easier if you get a pizza peel to build the pie on. No brainer for us. We make pizza twice a month probably. Use cornmeal on the peel, and shimmy it before you build the pizza to make sure the dough is sliding freely.

pulya – great pics. Those look a lot like my pizzas. I still haven’t made it on my grill, but I’m planning on it.

Think: French Bread Pizza.

Slice it lengthwise, apply cheese, tomato paste, olives, sausage, etc.

Bake until it looks done, at 400 degrees.

The last time I was at Trader Joe’s, I noticed that they sell pre-made pizza dough in plastic bags. It’s in the deli case next to the pre-prepared foods. The appearance was good, nice and soft and squishy the way pizza dough ought to be. The next time I make pizza, I think I’ll try it, as it eliminates the most time-consuming step in the process.

I also use a pizza stone, and get it as hot as my oven can make it. I use a pizza peel sprinkled with cornmeal to slide the pie in there, and try to let the crust get bubbled and slightly blackened. My favorite topping is 1/2 spicy Italian sausage and 1/2 whole small shrimp.

Making pizza is fun!

Definitely go with a simple dough to start with. We also have fun playing around with dough variations, but we mostly make them up as we go so I don’t have any recipes. Be careful about how much sauce and toppings you load on - it never looks like enough to me, but if I put on what I think looks right, the pizza ends up soggy and floppy from too much stuff.

Pizza stones are great and we love ours, but we’ve also made some pretty damn good pizzas just using cookie sheets. The crust won’t get as crispy, but they’re still yummy.

Our latest has been grilled pizza. No stone, just on the grill.

Make fairly small pizzas (7-8" diameter max), brush with olive oil, and lay them on the hot grill. Let them cook a few minutes until brown and crispy, then flip and add your toppings. It’ll work better if you have a cooler section of the grill for the second time, so your crust doesn’t burn before your toppings are done.

Keep the toppings for these simple for these. We usually do margherita pizzas, which are perfect now that tomatoes are coming in. That’s olive oil brushed on, topped with thinly sliced or diced fresh tomato and slivered fresh basil. We usually throw in a touch of finely diced red onion, too.

Much fun. We cooked these for a dozen or more people the other night, running two grills, and got rave reviews.

I’m still getting into pizza making ever since I bought a backyard smoker/pizza oven: http://img524.imageshack.us/img524/1975/miniimg1715croppedda3.jpg The bottom chamber is for storing wood, the one above it is the hot box, above it the pizza oven and stone, and on top is the smoker. I precook the crusts generally, put the toppings on, recook it and then serve. I also use hickory when cooking to add a little flavor to the dough.
One recipe that my family and friends go nuts over is my bbq-chicken pizza -
Dough (I cheat and still by frozen bread dough from Kroger left to thaw and rise over night)
Chicken, pan-fried and flavored with liquid smoke
Mozzarella (or you can try a mild cheddar for something different)
Caramelized red or Vidalia onion (I use brown sugar to help with this)
Crumbled bacon is optional
A small amount of feta is also optional (I love me some cheese)
Your favorite, sweet, bbq sauce. You can toy around here, but I prefer the sweet, but not too sweet, to go with the onion

Another favorite spinach pizza -
Fresh spinach, chopped fine and cooked with sauteed onion, garlic, and diced red pepper
For sauce, use either olive oil (my preference) or ranch dressing (everyone else’s favorite)
Add diced chicken if you want, but I haven’t yet.
once that is cooked on the pie with the spinach, add diced tomato and feta, and optionally bacon to the top

Lastly, for the kids, but a lot of people like, including myself, cheeseburger pizza -
For the sauce, a thin layer of catsup followed by a small amount of mustard
On top of that, ground beef cooked with diced onion
On top of that, thinly sliced dill pickles (sandwich stackers I think they are called)
On top of that, Velveeta or cheddar cheese (my first attempt was with American which melts poorly)
Optionally, add bacon crumbles.
I’m dying to try something with figs, crisp duck breast, and goat cheese, but haven’t had the chance yet.

drool So where do you find one of those?!! I keep threatening to build one; I had no idea you could buy one.

Most folks don’t have an oven that gets hot the way a pizza oven does. If you don’t have a stone, half bake the crust first.

2.5 teaspoons yeast
1 cup warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons oil, preferable olive oil
2.5 cups flour

Dissolve yeast and sugar in water, and let it proof for a few minutes. Add oil, salt, and flour. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic. Let it rest for fifteen minutes or so, then roll out, on a lightly floured surface. Place crust on slightly oiled baking sheet, poke all over with a fork, and bake at 375 Farenheit for seven to eight minutes. Remove from oven, cool a little, top with desired toppings, and bake until done to desired style.

Barbecues Galore. The one I got in Atlanta said it was their last one, a floor model, and that they were discontinuing the line because of poor sales. I don’t know how true that is, but I took pictures of mine because there are no other photos of it to be found on the net.

The only negative is that while it is all almost stainless steel, the screws are not and have started to rust already. I will be replacing them tomorrow.

Baker, thanks for the dough recipe. I’ll be sure to try it in the near future. ::goes to hunt through fridge to see what cheeses are available for pizza making::

Real pizza has anchovies and big chunks of garlic.

grrr, timed out and dupe post

Follow this guy’s very detailed dough advice, and your dough will be perfect. I wouldn’t necessarily suggest that you rig the cleaning cycle of your oven as he suggests, but really pump that oven up as hot as it goes. Let it warm up for over an hour.

The other thing is the autolysing of the dough that he goes into. That one little thing makes a HUGE difference.

Something I do to aid transport to the pizza stone is putting rolled out dough onto a sheet of parchment paper, adding toppings, them picking up the parchment and loading it onto the stone. About 2 minutes before it’s ready to come out, yank the parchment out from under the pizza. Less risk than the peel method.

That guy is one of my personal heroes. Swoon

Does this method allow the bottom of the pizza to char a bit (see pics in Fiveyearlurker’s link)? If not, then it defeats part of the point of using a pizza stone.