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Homemade Pizza

I think of myself as a master pizzaiolo. I have tried many different ways of preparing dough, stretching dough, making sauce and yes even making the cheese myself. I have perfected my own personal technique and was wondering how all you other homemade pizza aficionados prepare your pizzas.

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  1. Well- I have been called a fine cooker- but never a pizzaiolo!

    Our pizza nights include using a recipe for rustic dough- I make it in the bread machine(lemon zest and fresh rosemary) and let it rise again, roll it as thin as I can, and use shredded cheese of the night- it could be mozzarella, smoked gouda, smoked sharp cheddar- or just the bagged Sargento- what ever is on hand. A little sliced Italian sausage is always nice. Fresh herbs, kosher salt and VOLIA- pizza.

    Between my Husband and myself, and a 5 yr old- we do some major destruction on the pie.

    We usually use no sauce, just a little olive oil brushed on- but if we do use sauce, it is a light tomato sauce just to wet the bread.

    I have made hundreds of fancy pizzas- simple and easy homemae cheese pizzas are the best!

    3 Replies
    1. re: JalamaMama

      Would you like to share your dough recipe? I've been making a bunch of different ones, and have found only a couple I like, and am looking for more to try. I like making it in the bread machine because its so easy.


      1. re: LisaN

        Lisa- here is the recipe- this makes excellent dough. I have a stone, but I don't warm it up, and cook my pizzas at 450- works for me. A member of our family heats her stone for 1 1/2 hrs before using. Our pizzas are pretty much the same....

        Rustic Dough

        2 1/2 t yeast 1/4 t sugar 3/4c warm water 1 3/4 cups bread/ap flour 1/2t salt olive oil ( I add lemon zest-1/2 a lemons worth fresh chopped rosemary 1 dab of honey 1 t dehydrated garlic)

        I put the water and yeast in the water and add garlic. Let it sit for a few minutes, then add the honey and lemon and rosemary- then the rest of the dry ingredients all at once.

        Put on dough cycle. After it is finished, I put into a pam'd metal bowl and cover- let rise and then you are ready to go.


        1. re: JalamaMama

          Thanks! I can't wait to try it! That crust sounds like it would be really great for a pizza I do with spinach, roasted red peppers and feta cheese!

    2. I use Italian 00 flour and always make the dough a day ahead of time. I think the key is oven temp. I use a pizza stone on my outdoor gas grill which I can crank up over 600 degrees. The pizzas cook in 6-8 minutes.

      1. I use the pizza dough recipe in the Baking with Julia book. It raises (the way I do it) and sits in the fridge for a week if necessary and is delicious at the end of the week. I've been doing stuffed pizzas/calzones lately with chard, feta, and lots of very garlicky EVOO, and they're lovely. We also really like margherita pizzas in season with fresh mozz. Our local cheese shop is getting water buffalo mozz from CA now, and I can't wait to try it with fresh heirloom tomatoes.

        1. I've been making my own pizza now for years. My dough, is 2 3/4 AP flour, tsp sea salt, 2 T olive oil, 1 packet of yeast mixed with 7/8 cup warm water 112 degrees/ with 1 tsp sugar. And its so important to make the handle for the pizza. This dough make a wonderful handle. Befpre baking and the sauce goes down, I brush olive oil all over the base and the handle, and give a fair grinding of sea salt all over. Bread and salt after baking is divine!

          I have tried all sorts of tomato sauce, home prepared, to canned/jarred marinara. I find that the jarred marinara is just as pleasnt. The key is the cheese. Lots of mozzerella, fontina, and provolone, make the pizza. We like best mushrooms, onions, fresh garlic, olive with pepperoni. Dried herbs. (I use fresh tomatoes to serve the pizza with afterward, never cooked). but being able to layer the pizza right with cheese placed just right makes the best pizza I find.


          2 Replies
          1. re: chef chicklet

            >>Lots of mozzerella, fontina, and provolone

            Excellent, chef chicklet, I have to try that combo next time.

            My pizza making is too lazy to be chowish.

            1. re: chef chicklet

              And I wanted to add, make sure that you knead the dough enough. When the dough is ready, ir should feel like your ear lobe. Really.

            2. See, I knew everybody has their "thing" that they do with pizza. It is so versatile and fun to play with. Keep it coming! I want to see more......

              1. Lenox, I've just started working with making pizza doughs, breads and pasta at home. Would love to learn from a master pizzaiolo the best techniques and recipes. Care to share?

                3 Replies
                1. re: scubadoo97

                  I buy Caputo 00 flour through Pennsylvania Macaroni Co. 650 Mansfield Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 1-800-223-5928. 500 gms flour, 20 gms sea salt, 3 gms yeast and 325 ml ice water. Ice water is really important (for me). I use my Kitchenaid Mixer on low for 2 minutes, medium for 5 minutes and back to low for another 2 minutes. Form the dough into a ball with a stretched skin and put in lightly oiled bowl cover with plastic wrap and into the fridge, ideally over night but from morning until afternoon is o.k. 1 1/2 hours before cooking I take the dough out of the fridge to warm up for half an hour. I then separate the dough into 3-4 pieces and make into balls and let rest covered for 1 hour. After the dough has rested you can shape in whatever manner you choose. Toss, roll or press into shape on a peel with cornmeal sprinkled over it. I have a pizza stone that I preheat on the bottom of the oven then I move it to the next to last position from the roof of the oven. My oven only goes to 550 and I have found that the height will cook the toppings without burning the underside of the crust. I wish I had an oven that went to 800 and then I wouldn't have any problem with the cooking times. I agree with mrbozo that too many toppings will make the pizza cook improperly. Balancing all the toppings in ratio with the crust and sauce is imperative.

                    1. re: Lenox637

                      Pizza is such a personal thing. The thickness of the crust, a bit of sauce or too much sauce (yes I don't care for), the cheeses etc. I personally like a lot of toppings, for me that would be the fresh veggies, for dh that would be meat. I don't have a problem at all with things cooking properly, but them I don't know what toppings you're speaking about. Thinly cut mushrooms, green pepper, my favorite raw onion and garlic. Do you have an order of layering the toppings that works best?
                      Better yet, do you have a photo, with your experience making pizzas I'd sure love to see one. Also how are you making the cheese??? I have renet tablets and have always wanted to make my own....TIA!

                  1. I make my dough using tipo 00 flour and I keep the toppings to 2 or three to prevent sogginess since my oven maxes out at 500 degrees. Nothing beats homemade (well, a lot of the time).

                    1. My husband makes great homemade pizza. We're vegan and I'm gluten-free so it's tough for us to get pizza out. We like to make enough food so we have leftovers to take to work for lunch the next day. He discovered that he can make deep dish personal pizzas in our pyrex bowls.

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: lgss

                        Hey lgss- we have a gluten -free in our family- its no big deal- really- I always remind folks it ain't chemo. Deal with it. Glad your Hubby goes for it with homemade pizza- we try our hardest for our gluten free family- we go out of our way!!!

                      2. How about sharing info on how you make your own mozarella. I would like to try to
                        make some.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: paul balbin

                          Here is a link to a recipe I have used in the past. I know a guy in the milking parlor of a local dairy who lets me have a little raw milk for my own experiments, otherwise try and find unhomogenized milk if possible.http://www.italianfoodforever.com/iff...

                          1. re: Lenox637

                            Thanks so much. I can't wait to try it.

                        2. One small idea that we like a lot--add some cracked peppercorns to the dough (very rough grind). Looks and tastes great.

                          1 Reply
                          1. When I get home from work, turn the oven on all the way up.

                            Take the shortening and butter out of the fridge.

                            Start cooking the Italian sausage. After a bit, put some onions in and cook them together. When the sausage is cooked, pour in a can of diced tomatoes and let that simmer.

                            As for the dough, I make a biscuit-y dough with cornmeal, flour, and buttermilk. When it's mixed up and laid out in the pan, pop that in the oven for about five minutes.

                            Now's a good time to shred the mozzarella (for pizza I don't use the fresh stuff--I find the mega-mart mozzarella works best).

                            Take the crust out of the oven. Put the sausage/tomato "sauce" onto the crust. Next go the black oilves. Next goes the pepperoni. Then the mozzarella. Then I top with a bit of grated parmesan.

                            Back in the oven for another five minutes or so (I consider it done when the cheese just starts to brown). There you go, pizza in just under an hour. It's not a classic pizza but it is my very own :-). Yummy, too.

                            1. I too think of myself as a master pizzaiolo! But what continues to be my biggest thrill is to always learn new techniques, recipes, and tips from others. The day I think I know it all regarding cooking will be one of the saddest days of my life, and may that never happen! The following is one of the ways that I do pizza.

                              Chicago Deep Dish Pizza Pie
                              1 3/4 cups flour (7.7 oz.)
                              1/4 cup cornmeal (40 g.)
                              1/2 tsp. Salt
                              1/2 package dry yeast
                              1/2 cup plus 1 1/2 tb. water (4.75 oz.)
                              1/2 cup plus 1/2 tb. water (4.25 oz.) and 1/2 oz. crushed garlic (this crust is my deviation from the original recipe)
                              3 tb. Olive oil (42 g.)

                              Assemble the above as you would any yeast dough, and let it rise once. I like to let the dough rise overnight in the fridge.
                              An alternate method of preparing the dough is one that I use for most of my pizza recipes.
                              Into a standard sized food processor, place all of the dry ingredients, including the yeast.
                              Pulse the dry ingredients to combine and then pour the combined wet ingredients through the feed tube in a stream.
                              When the dough forms a ball, let the dough process for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, enough heat is generated to activate the yeast.
                              Put the dough into a non-reactive container, cover and let rise. If time permits, let the dough rise in the fridge overnight. I’ve never bothered to bring the dough back to room temperature before assembly and baking the pizza, and I have yet to be disappointed with the results.
                              Into an oiled 10 1/2 inch cast iron skillet, pat or roll the dough out dough to cover the bottom, and about 1 and 1/2 inches up the sides. If the sides of the dough don’t want stay up, and they tend to shrink back down, don’t worry. As the topping ingredients fill the pizza during assembly, it is easy to push the sides back up, by pressing down into the “corners” of the skillet. The filled pizza will keep the sides in tact.
                              In the order given, layer the following ingredients into the dough.
                              1/2 pound of shredded cheese (I use equal parts of aged Provolone or Asiago, whole milk Mozzarella, and Jack)
                              1/2 pound cooked crumbled sausage
                              2 chopped cloves of garlic (of late, I now thinly slice garlic with abandon, and probably end up using 6 or more cloves, which is about an ounce.
                              One 14 ounce can of chopped tomatoes, drained well in a strainer.
                              1 1/2 tsps. dried Oregano, crumbled
                              2 tb. (.5 oz) Parmesan cheese

                              If desired, you can completely assemble the pie, and keep it in the fridge for hours before baking.

                              Place cast iron skillet onto the middle rack of a COLD gas oven. Turn the heat to 500. When it reaches that temp, turn the oven down to 400, and let the pizza bake for 30 minutes. In a gas oven, only the bottom heating element is used during the preheat, and the toppings will not burn during the fairly long preheat to 500 degrees, and the 30 minute bake time at 400 degrees.

                              I am not sure if this deep dish pizza baking technique will work in a standard electric oven, as the preheat cycle may make the bottom and top broiler elements both heat the oven. But if you have an electric oven which has a “pure convection” mode (where the heat comes only from behind the back of the oven), I have had excellent results. I have a Dacor convection wall oven that has one convection fan. I also have a Wolf convection range, which has 2 convection fans, and they perform in a slightly different manner.
                              For my Dacor wall oven, I place the assembled pizza into the middle rack of the COLD oven. Set the temperature to pure convection 475. When the temperature reaches this point, reduce the heat to 375 pure convection, and time for 30 minutes.
                              For my Wolf range with 2 convection fans, I place the assembled pizza into the middle rack of the COLD oven. Set the temperature to pure convection 450. When the temperature reaches this point, reduce the heat to 350 pure convection, and time for 30 minutes.

                              The above recipe, I’m told is standard for a Chicago Deep Dish Pie. I have particularly been impressed with the concept of chopped canned tomatoes, versus a sauce. Somehow the chopped canned tomatoes seem to meld into a different texture, and they are not watery at all.
                              After making this pizza for years, I now have my own rendition of a Chicago Deep Dish.
                              I omit the cooked crumbled sausage.
                              In order I place the following ingredients:
                              Cheeses from the above recipe
                              Tomatoes from the above recipe
                              Garlic from the above recipe
                              Oregano from the above recipe
                              Parmesan from the above recipe
                              Sliced black olives to taste
                              Sliced mushrooms (I used canned, well drained) to taste
                              3.5 oz. of thinly sliced Pepperoni, fanned out in concentric circles, to completely cover the pie.
                              Baking in the cast iron pan, with the intense heat transfer, creates the crispiest, yummiest pepperoni you’ve ever had, as long as you put it on last. It’s like Pepperoni “bacon”.


                              8 Replies
                              1. re: JeffW

                                I continue to tinker and play with my recipes as well. I think that is one of he greatest things about making your own, there are no rules.

                                1. re: Lenox637

                                  You are so right. My son and I went for pizza one night. He and I are the most daring and flexible and love to try new things. We went to town. Artichokes, garlic no extra garlic, onions, extra onions etc.... We LOVEd it I don't think there was a bit of meat on it. We were in heaven, but the best part was the white sauce. I doubt I'll ever figure it out!!! oh and fresh arugula dressed in a light vignagrette on top, makes it!

                                2. re: JeffW

                                  thanks jeffw! I have been wanting to try a deep dish pizza for so long. Every time they show it on one of the cooking shows my husband always looks at me and says-
                                  CAN YOU MAKE THAT!!! It looks SOOOO good!
                                  Thanks for the recipe! You'll be hearing from me!

                                  1. re: chef chicklet

                                    I just got an Italian sourdough starter that I'm going to use for my pizza dough. Should turn out great. In the meantime I make a basic dough similar to the ones mentioned here. I also make my own sauce: dump a large can of crushed San Marzano tomatos into a skillet, add a few tablespoons of olive oil, 3-4 large cloves of crushed garlic, S&P to taste and and 1/4 cup of fresh grated cheese (parm-reggiano or grana padano. Cook it down until it reduces and gets nice and thick and syrupy.It keeps well in the fridge for a few weeks, so I can just spoon out what I need and spread it on the pie. Last night's pie had mozzarella, ricotta, roasted peppers and fresh basil. Top with some grated parm-reggianno and bake on a pizza stone. I drizzle with a bit of olive oil right after it comes out of the oven. It lasted about 15 minutes. :-)

                                    1. re: SharaMcG

                                      Did you make the starter? Or you purchased it? Do you make this into a deep dish???

                                    2. re: chef chicklet

                                      :) Enjoy this rendition if you end up making it, chef chicklet.

                                    3. re: JeffW

                                      JeffW, You put the cheese onto the dough then add the tomatoes on top of the cheese? Just want to clarify, to be sure I make it to your specifications since we usually put the tomatoes on 1st.

                                      1. re: michele cindy

                                        Hi Michele,

                                        Yes, the cheese is placed directly onto the dough. If the tomato part was a "sauce", I agree about placing it first. But we're talking well drained chopped canned tomatoes, and I'm pretty sure that this is the authentic way that a Chicago deep dish is constructed. All I know is that it works for us, every time!

                                    4. If I'm making a pizza just for me, it's a basic marguerita with raw yellow onions and mushrooms (dry-fried in a non-stick pan to remove moisture). Usually though I like to make pizzas with friends, in my oven on a terracotta tile. I sometimes make one directly on my weber (it's a bit acrobatic, involving flipping the pizza and then applying toppings, so it cooks evenly) and then I usually put on slices of brie or camembert and fresh pear slices, and then a put on handfuls of arugula once it's off the fire. Sort of like a pizza-salad starter. Always well received.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: Gooseberry

                                        This thread is running alongside the one about the Sullivan Street Bakery Potato and Onion Pizza. The dough is really interesting: You put the ingreds into a stand mixer, turn it to medium, and let it go for 20 minutes. By that time, the dough is very shiny and quite sticky. It takes some work stretching the dough out to the edges of the pan....The rest of the info is on the other thread. It makes a really terrific pizza!