Homemade Pizza (3 ways)

Ok, what follows are my tips and tricks to making restaurant style pizza at home!! Just remember Pizza is Love!!

First, use a pizza stone. Pizza stones make for the best crust and even cooking which means you can turn your oven up higher to get melty, toasty cheese without worrying about your pizza being in too long. DO NOT under any circumstances buy an expensive $30+ specialty pizza stone! Instead, do what I did and go to the hardware store and get a ceramic floor tile! They are about 12”x12” (the perfect size for an oven) which is much bigger than any pizza stone I have seen. This is nice because you don’t have to worry about placing your pizza perfectly on that small stone or it falling off leaving you with a mess on your hands. Make sure to get a tile that is high heat resistant with a smooth surface and to clean it really well be for use.

Second, use a pizza paddle! This is mostly a convenience thing; it’s so much easier to get your pizza in and out of the oven with one. But if you don’t want to spend the money you can use a sheet pan turned over with parchment paper. When you are ready to put it in the oven, carefully slide the pizza with the parchment paper onto your pizza stone. To remove pull the parchment paper and slide back onto your sheet pan. If you are using a pizza paddle the trick to removal is one quick confident fluid motion. I learned this the hard way. The first time I used a pizza paddle I got panicked and went to slow…I ended up pushing the pizza off the stone and onto the heating element...fire ensued and it was a disaster. Confidence is KEY when using a pizza paddle.

Third, hot AF (as flip) oven. Seriously, set your oven to as high as it can go! Mine goes to 550 degrees!  If you have ever been to a place that makes wood fired pizza you will know what I’m getting at, the delicious char!! Wood fire ovens can reach temps of up to 900 degrees. So crank those ovens!!

Forth, par-bake your crust. Doing this adds a few more steps but it makes the dough easier to work with once it’s partially cooked. You can load on the topping and not worry about your soft dough getting stuck to the paddle. You really only need to bake it about 2 minutes; I included this step in the recipe instructions as well.

Fifth, use a good sauce. A few tips for making good sauce: most importantly use good tomatoes! I used San Marzano tomatoes which are the gold standard in the restaurant industry. Also, sometimes canned tomatoes can have an acidic, metallic taste to them which does not make for good pizza.  Two ways to fix this are 1: use a good dash of sugar which helps bring out the sweetness of tomatoes. And 2: you can use the smallest pinch of baking soda, the baking soda will actually change the ph balance of the tomatoes from acidic to alkaline.  You will be amazed at how well this trick works! I included my sauce recipe with a contingency for both the sugar method and the baking soda method. It’s all about tasting and seeing what it needs.

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Tomato Sauce Recipe

  •     2 Cans Tomatoes (San Marzano)
  •     4 Cloves Garlic
  •     1 Bunch Fresh Basil (about 4-5 leaves with stems)
  •     1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  •     ¼ Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes

Optional:

  •      1 Teaspoon Sugar
  •      Smallest pinch of Baking Soda

Place all ingredients in a pot. Simmer on medium heat for 15 minutes. Pour into a blender and blend till smooth. If you like a chunky sauce chop garlic and basil finely before adding to tomatoes, no need to blend.

Pizza Dough

  •      2 ½ Cups Warm Water
  •      ¼ Cup Olive Oil
  •      ¼ Cup Honey
  •      2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
  •      1 Tablespoon instant yeast
  •      4 cups White Flour
  •      2 Teaspoons Salt

Add water, honey, yeast and whole wheat flour to stand mixer, mix for two minutes then add white flour, olive oil, and salt. Mix for another 8 min. cover and let rest 20 minutes before using. This recipe uses instant yeast so it’s ready to use almost immediately.

Now that everything else is covered, here’s the actual pizza recipe:

Topping options:

  •      Tomatoes
  •      Fresh Mozzarella/ Regular Mozzarella
  •      Pepperoni
  •      Sausage
  •      Olives
  •      Pineapple
  •      Ham
  •      Basil
  •      Sliced Onions
  •      Parmesan Cheese
  •      Fresh Arugula
  •      Balsamic Vinegar
  •      Garlic Olive Oil
  •      1 Dough Recipe
  •      1 Sauce Recipe

Pre-heat oven to 550 degrees with pizza stone in oven. Pull off knob of dough about the size of a baseball and roll it out on a well floured surface using a rolling pin. Dough should be about a ¼ inch thick maybe thinner if you like thin crust. Place dough on floured pizza paddle and slide dough onto hot stone. Bake for two min. remove from oven and arrange topping of choice while crust is still on pizza paddle, once arranged slide pizza back onto pizza stone and bake 8 to 10 min.

 

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Combination options:

Margarita

  •       Tomato sauce
  •       Sliced Tomatoes
  •       Fresh Mozzarella
  •       Basil (add fresh basil to hot pizza after it comes out of the oven)
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Hawaiian

  •       Tomato Sauce
  •       Regular Mozzarella
  •       Pineapple chunks
  •       Ham
  •       Sliced Onions
  •       Chopped Basil

 

Veggie

  •       Garlic Olive Oil (as sauce)
  •       Sliced Tomatoes
  •       Fresh Mozzarella
  •       Chopped Basil
  •       Fresh Arugula (tossed with Balsamic Vinegar, Garlic Oil, salt and pepper. Added to the pizza after baked)

Meat

  •       Olives
  •       Sausage
  •       Pepperoni
  •       Tomato Sauce
  •       Mozzarella
  •       Parmesan Cheese