Saturday, January 31, 2009

Homemade Pizza & Everything You Need To Make It At Home

Pizza is a big part of my life. What can I say? I love it! Thin with cracker-crisp crust. Deep pan pizza with a soft yeasty inside and olive oil crunchy outside. And even some with the crust somewhere in the middle -- but it has to be exceptional crust in that case.

I like to make my own pizza, but I also like to order it and have someone deliver it to my door. That's a big deal, because for eighteen years I lived too far from town for pizza delivery and I didn't have a brick oven in my back yard. Now I live out in the country, but they bring pizza to my door AND I have a brick oven in my back yard.

The moral of that story . . . if you live long enough, you can have all the pizza you want.

But sometimes, even pizza at the front door and pizza out the back door are not convenient. Sometimes I want pizza right in my cozy kitchen from my own oven. That's when I make it myself, and usually that's great pizza too.

I have all the equipment I need to make pizza - a big ol' oven that will get really, really hot. A big pizza stone that lives in the bottom of my oven all the time and is covered with smoked and charred cornmeal. Three, count 'em, three pizza peels - so there is no waiting, of course! A rolling pin - I use my great-grandmother Cora's. A pizza dough docker - I'll show you in a minute. And an excellent pizza cutter. Other than these things, the only other supplies needed are in my pantry.

Of course, I have some specific brands I prefer over others, but the truth is, you can make a most excellent pizza with all-purpose flour, salt, water, yeast, olive oil, sauce, cheese and . . . the other stuff is up to you.

But, you say, I'm afraid of yeast and all the fussiness that goes with using it! No problem, I reply. I have an incredible and fool-proof pizza dough recipe right here, along with a few suggestions you can take or leave, for making delicious pizza in your very own oven. This will be especially useful if you live far from town and just can't abide frozen pizza. I share your pain.

Let's take this step-by-step, shall we?

Equipment and Supplies - If you are not familiar with these tools, you can check them out in my Amazon Store over to the right. Most will be available at stores in your local area, but along with Amazon, other good Internet sources are King Arthur Flour Company, Chef's Catalog, Williams-Sonoma, Forno Bravo and Kitchen Conservatory.

Pizza Stone

Pizza Peel

Pizza Dough/Pastry Docker

Pizza Cutter


1 tsp. yeast
1/2 c. + 1 tbsp. warm water
2 tsp. sugar
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. olive oil for coating
cornmeal or flour for coating pizza peel

Sprinkle yeast in mixing bowl. Add water and sugar and stir. Let it sit for a couple of minutes. Add flour, salt and olive oil (1tbsp.) mix with rubber spatula until dough hold together. Dough will be very wobbly. With remaining oil (1 tsp.) coat the inside of a glass bowl or casserole dish and place the dough ball inside and roll to coat in oil. Cover with a cloth dish towel, or plastic wrap, and let sit in a warm place for 1 hour. Place dough on a flour covered surface and dust top with flour. Rub flour on rolling pin and roll dough out until very thin - should make one 12-inch crust. Gently fold crust into quarters and lay on a cornmeal covered pizza peel and roll with spiked wheel to make holes. Transfer dough to pizza stone in a preheated 500 degree oven and pre-bake just until edges begin to brown. Remove and cool on a wire rack until ready to build pizza.



Anonymous said...

What does it say about me that I love my pizza dough in-between, not too thin, not too thick? Sometimes when I grill pizza, the dough gets too thin or thick, which makes the toppings cook unevenly. Maybe I am just middle-of-the-road....!

Cora said...

Lydia, I would only be concerned if you didn't like any kind of pizza!

Becky said...

You have a brick oven in your back yard? I am so jealous. We're planning for one at the new house, but that's still several years away. Did I mention we love all kinds of pizza too?