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Jun 21, 2008 04:11 PM

So I want to make a margarita pizza...

Hello all. In a couple days, I will attempt to make a difficult pizza...well, ok, a margareta pizza. I bought fresh mozzarella, and it comes in a container in three, four-ounce balls that are submerged in some sort of liquid (there may be some technical terms for this liquid, but I do not know it). I know that if I just take the balls out, slice them, and put them on the pie, there will be too much moisture still present. Should I just dry the outside of the balls with a towel, or how should I go about getting the moisture out of the balls? Also, in making the pizza, my gameplan is to make the dough, bake it for about 8 minutes at 450 to get the crust semi-firm, take the pizza out and brush with olive oil and add tomato slices with sliced mozz. on top, then put in the oven again for about 12 minutes. Are the temps, time, and order going to give me a good pizza? Let me know what you guys think along with suggestions, stories, or recipes. Thanks :)

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  1. Just me but I do as follows: make a basic tomato sauce (canned tomatoes from Italy, minced garlic, EVOO and a bay leaf or two); make my dough and let it rise; prehaet the oven to 450 (I like to give a good hour for it to heat up); slice the mozzarella thin; grow out back and snip some fresh basil leaves; simmer the sauce for 20 minutes and remove from heat; after an hour split the dough in half (I like a thin crust) and roll out one half; place the dough on a cookie sheet; puncture it with a fork; spread a thin coating of sauce (chunky bits of tomato are fine) over the dough; sprinkle rubbed dry Italian oregano (Mexican is less pungent) over the sauce; tear the fresh basil leaves and scatter them over the sauce; top with mozzarella slices; slide into the oven and cook for 12-15 minutes; remove ffrom oven and let cool; see if I can eat only one piece.

    3 Replies
    1. re: mrbozo

      Would you please share with me why you puncture your crust with a fork? I'm just curious.

      1. re: Boccone Dolce

        I do it to prevent the dough from bubbling during baking. Purely a matter of taste (and for me habit); nothing at all wrong with a blistered crust (in fact I imagine for some that adds a note of authenticity).

    2. 500* oven
      Pizza Stone
      Let the dough age overnight
      Let the dough proof about an hour before you slap it
      Shake off mozz, slice thin and layer on dish to dry out 5 min before you top the pie
      Don't forget the fresh basil once you pull it out
      tomato slices are wet too, I say you'll be fine.

      9 Replies
      1. re: Boccone Dolce

        So, should I bake the pizza a little, take out, top, and put back in? Or should I put all the toppings on the raw dough and bake it all at once?

        1. re: pastry634

          If you like it a bit chewier, blind bake the crust for 5 minutes on a VERY hot stone. Baking it only after topping will result in a thinner crust.

          I would dry the cheese before grating because you do not want any extra moisture on a Pizza Margarita.

          Preheat the stone to the maximum temperature possible in your oven for 20 minutes, and then turn it down to 400° before you put the pizza in to bake.

          1. re: Kelli2006

            wouldn't grating fresh mozzarella create a mess? I'm imagining it would be like trying to grate a banana.

            1. re: hill food

              I should have been more careful and said to slice it with a knife. I like to dry the outside of the ball and the pat the slices dry, as there is a lot of moisture in fresh mozzarella.

              Pizza Margarita is as addiction among pizza aficionados at

              1. re: Kelli2006

                A properly honed chef's knife will slice anything as fine as you want.

            2. re: Kelli2006

              fresh mozzarella does not need drying or grating for pizza

              I would suggest the OP practice making a pizza today and tomorrow and the next day to see what technique they need for their particular oven.

              1. re: Cathy

                I have never worried about wringing excess water out of the fresh mozerella. I just slice into thin rounds and lay it on the pizza and it comes out fine.

            3. re: pastry634

              No need to pre-bake the dough.

              Just make sure your oven is well-calibrated.

              1. re: pastry634

                I see no need to bake it, open oven, top and bake more- you lose a lot of heat when you open the door. It's a conventional oven, not a pizza oven that can cook a pie in 7 minutes. You want it as blazing hot as possible. I really don't think the amount of moisture on the mozz will make any difference- just shake them good *but that's just me. Ingredients/mistakes can be expensive... And I wouldn't try to grate fresh mozz- that would just be a mess. Someone said try it and see how it goes then do it again when you mean business. I agree. The thinner you slap out the crust, the less chance you'll get for uneven bake. Take pictures!

            4. We make a variant of this almost weekly.

              I also make my dough the night before. Take it out a few hours before using.

              I have a hard time finding good tomatoes in Arizona and I'm not a fan of red sauce on pizza so I roast my tomatoes for this pizza. I'll use Roma(pre-salmonella...sigh) or grape....slice and toss with some olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 400 for 15-20 minutes. This sweetens them up and helps with the moisture issue.

              I'll buy the fresh mozz in either the big balls or the small boccocini. For the big one I'll slice them and then lay on paper towels for about ten minutes. the small ones I cut in half and also lay these on towels.

              I form the dough, let it rest 15 minutes then brush with olive oil. Layer the tomatoes, fresh basil on that and then the cheese. Not too much cheese. On to the stone, either on the oven or on the grill(500 in the oven, 550 on the grill), for about 12 minutes.

              If I could find better tomatoes I wouldn't roast(and didn't while I had grape tomatoes in my garden in April and May) but just use fresh. There's a little more moisture but not too bad.

              1. Keep it simple. Heat your oven to as high as it goes and let it stay heated for 15-20min before putting anything in put your pizza stone in too, if you have one.. Dough, Tomato sauce, mozzarella, basil. Put it into the oven until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown. Done!

                1. You've already gotten so many different answers so I'll throw in one more. I have had problems w/ the wetness of fresh mozzarella. I slice it thin and then layer it between paper towels. I also slightly sqeeze the tomato after cutting in half to get rid of some moisture (though my favorite way is to oven roast them first slightly). I preheat the oven 450 for half an hour w/ the pizza stone in. I only make small individual pizzas (easy to transfer and we make our own) so they're done in 5-7 minutes. The only time I'll prebake part of the crust is with focaccia dough and I'm making a thick crust pizza.