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Pizza = Crack

Part of me thinks that I shouldn't even post about this, since I made my first pizzas last weekend, using the Alice Waters' recipe for the dough. They weren't great - which may well be because I didn't let the dough sit over night in the refrigerator. Since then, I've gotten a lot of great tips and dough recipes, but, so far, I've only tried using the master recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Well, having just finished a second pizza made that way - the first was on Sunday - it's all I can do to restrain myself from thinking about making another one for dinner tomorrow night, since my husband will still be travelling.

Here's what I've done:

1. Tear off 1/2 pound of the dough, quickly form into a ball, forming gluten coat. Cover with a towel and let rest for one and a half hours. Thinly slice fresh mozzarella, and place between layers of paper towels to dry.

2. One hour before baking, place pizza stone at bottom of oven and preheat to 550.

3 Put piece of parchment paper on peel. Flour hands, and stretch dough into round pizza shape. Place on parchment paper.

4. Brush with wonderful high quality extra virgin olive oil up to 1/2 inch of the edge of the dough. Add thinly sliced red onions, slices of mozzarella, slices of plum tomatoes (remove the seeds if you like). Slide off peel into oven onto pizza stone. Set timer for 8 minutes.

5. Remove basil, parmesan and prosciutto from fridge. Julienne basil.

6. Check pizza after 8 minutes - leave in another two if needed.

7. Remove pizza from oven. Grate on plenty of parmesan, sprinkle with basil, add slices of prosciutto, grate on a little more parmesan, sprinkle on a little more basil, drizzle on a little more fantastic olive oil.

8. Let rest 5 minutes, slice, and enjoy.

 
 
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  1. P.S. Um, I meant to mention, I've never tried crack - just an analogy!

    1. MMR: Your zzas look awesome! (or are those the pix from the cookbook? JK) I've enjoyed making pizza dough for a couple years now. Mark Bittman has a simple (of course) recipe that's quite good.and ATK has a killer recipe for deep-dish style, pepperoni pizza. I've never gotten the hang of using my pizza peel: even though I liberally dust w/ cornmeal or semolina, things just seem to stick. I'll have to try parchment... Same sad story w/ my pizza stone; used it once and I'm still trying to scrape the goo off of the motherf****r. I usually stretch and shape the dough right on a cookie sheet and have had good results. Will have to check out the Artisan Bread Book. Thanx for the post. Adam

      5 Replies
      1. re: adamshoe

        I was using cornmeal at first, and had no problems with sticking, but my oven smoked up terribly - both when making the pizza and later - and the parchment paper seems to work very nicely.

        1. re: adamshoe

          Since I got a pizza peel, I've never had any problems with sticking, I just use good old fashioned flour and it slides right off. Of course, I'm still scarrred from the time before I got a peel and the pizza stuck horribly to a non-stick cookie sheet. So after I stretch the dough on the peel, I keep checking it every few seconds to make sure it still is loose. I also fly through the topping part as well as an extra precaution. After I'm done stretching, I usually have the dough topped and on the stone in maybe 20-30 seconds. A drizzle of oil, some light sauce, cheese and sea salt and into the oven.

          1. re: ESNY

            Here are some pictures of my pizzas. The first one was my first attempt ever and I definitely pulled it out too soon. I also started using olive oil on the crust before sliding onto the stone so it gets nice and dark. THe last pie was fresh mozzarella and heirloom tomatoes and was my best pie yet.

             
             
             
             
            1. re: ESNY

              Just wanted to add my latest creation. Made during halftime of the Giants opening a can of whoop ass on the Redskins (dough made 2 days earlier, pizza put onto the stone at halftime).

              This one is fresh salted mozzeralla and a light dab of fra diavolo sauce. I intended to use oven roasted cherry tomatoes but they didn't have any that looked good at the local store and I was too lazy to cross 2nd ave to go to the supermarket (damn rain) so I used a sauce I had in house.

              525 degree oven, preheated for about an hour or so and cooked for about 6-7 minutes.

              Pic 1 is the whole pizza and pic 2 is the upskirt shot as patented by slice.seriouseats.com.

               
               
              1. re: ESNY

                ESNY,

                You m ind sharing your dough recipe? I can never get NY style dough that I like to come out. It always comes out bready.

        2. Absolutely gorgeous pies, MMR. I'm always a bit nervous about putting parchment into such a hot oven, so it's great to know it's not a problem. Also, I usually use commercial dough, so you've inspired me to put the extra effort into homemade dough.

          After you've had your fill, if you can tear yourself away from your combo, try sauteing a generous amount of garlic in the oil before you brush the dough. That may be a bit overpowering for the fresh mozzarella adn prosciutto, though. Another great topping is Italian fontina...it's an amazing melting cheese.

          Happy pie-making!

          1. For my taste, I would cook the pizza longer to develop the crust more, and to do this, I would totally avoid using paper towel on the mozzarella. The water content retards the browning and burning of the cheese, allowing for the crust to get a lovely, deep tone. Better yet is to do the pizza on the grill, which takes a modified method of browning one side of the dough, flipping the dough, topping the browned side and finishing on the grill.

            7 Replies
            1. re: Iota

              I'd love to try making pizza on a grill, but live in an NYC apartment, so can't. Re: the mozzarella - the reason I was doing that was that I'd read a number of threads here that if you don't dry the mozzarella out, it makes the crust soggy. Is that not your experience? Thanks for the tips!

              1. re: MMRuth

                Hey, MMR, what about all those movies and TV shows showing fabulous rooftops with trees, tables and grills.

                I also saw Mark Bittman grilling on the roof of his Brooklyn building. So! No more excuses. Get up there and start planting and arranging.

                It's winter, you say? All the more reason to build an enclosure for that grill.

                PS: I'd help, but you know I have a bad back. ;+)

                1. re: oakjoan

                  Joan, there are strict laws about grilling in New York City. I've heard that some people break the law but I wouldn't risk it. The management of your building could just confiscate your grill. Few of us have roofs big enough that grilling would be legal. Even Bobby Flay doesn't actually live in that building where he grills with a fabulous view of the Manhattan skyline. It's a set. My building does have tables and chairs for eating on the roof but grilling is definitely not allowed. It's way too cold now anyway.

                  1. re: NYCkaren

                    Yep - my neighbor breaks the law, and even has a built in exhaust for his grill. But it's not for me!

                    1. re: NYCkaren

                      Same here. Lovely, beautifully landscaped roof garden with benches and cocktail-height tables with stools. No grilling allowed. Any chance we live in the same building?

                      1. re: JoanN

                        I don't think so. I live in Battery Park City. I did entertain on the roof over the summer. It involved a lot of schlepping food on the elevator.

                2. re: Iota

                  I love pizza on the grill and make it often, but I would never stop making pizza on my stone. To me, they are two different animals, both with merit.

                  Grilled is a bit lighter, smokier and a delicate balance of dough and toppings. Stone-cooked is a bit more substantial and delicious in it's own right, with toppings playing a more central role.

                3. Welcome to the homemade pizza addict club, MMR! It didn't take you long to come over to this side... :-)

                  This reminds me that I should make some dough tonight to make pizza tomorrow night for dinner. I'm going to try your parchment paper trick instead of my usual foil to see if there's any difference in crispness of the crust. I find that good olive oil smeared on to the crust liberally before any sauce or toppings go on is key. I also love how pizza can get rid of all the little odds and ends hiding in my fridge. I gotta try one w/ cooked butternut squash, sage, red onions, and maybe a little spicy sausage. Hmmmm...

                  1. My all time favorite pizza combo is caramalized onions, bleu cheese and bacon.

                    1. love the title, as I keep sneaking back to the kitchen for another little sliver......
                      and this is with a basic store bought dough and no extra toppings! what I've been doing lately is stretching the dough out and putting it on a cookie sheet that's been sprayed with n olive oil spray then dusted with cornmeal. then drizzle some olive oil on the dough and spread with your fingers. cover with thinly sliced roma tomatoes and then another (generous) drizzle of oil. then some seasonings- basil and oregano at least. sprinkle with a bit of grated mozzerella and some parmeggiano. then bake in a hot oven til it looks perfectly golden brown.
                      so simple and yet so addictive......

                      1. One pizza that I had many years ago in Ottawa and reproduced at home several times was a brie and mango pizza.

                        Take a good pizza crust, cover your base with a whack load of caramelized onions, add fine slices of not over ripe mango, sprinkle on some nutmeg, and then top with fine slices of brie. Cook until brie is toasty and bubbly.

                        1 Reply
                        1. That pizza sounds great. I think I would be tempted to add a mild gorgonzola (gorgonzola dolce?), I think it complements prosciutto very well. I'll be trying this soon!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Agent Orange

                            I once did a white pizza with sliced pears, gorgonzola, prosciutto, carmelized onions and chopped toasted walnuts. It was too die for. I think I found the recipe in Bon Appetit or Gourmet.

                            1. re: lynnlato

                              Hey, that sounds great for Fall. I'm gonna hafta dig up that recipe and try it out soon.

                          2. Your pizzas sounds tasty! And very similiar to my favorites. High heat is crucial - damn these weeny household ovens!

                            Pizza is the food equivalent of pizza, no question. In a jiffy, I keep those frozen pizza dough balls from Brooklyn in my freezer. I thaw one out all day, then stretch into shape. I then saute a little garlic in olive oil and brush this on the dough. Top w/ thick sliced fresh mozzarella, roma tomato slices, sliced vidalia onion or shallots. I will add either torn pieces of prosciutto or, even better, sauteed gypsy bacon (paprika bacon) and then I drizzle the bacon fat on the pizza once it's done. Mmmmm. Sprinkle fresh basil and pecorino romano cheese and a few dashes of red pepper flakes - pure heaven.

                            Incidentally, I am a type 1 diabetic and NOTHING is worse on my blood sugar than pizza. It's torture!!!!

                            1. I love to see folks making their own pizza. Here are a few of mine though they are a tad more traditional. Margherita, potato w/black olive, smoked canadian bacon w/ fresh mozz, and a pepperoni.

                               
                               
                               
                               
                              21 Replies
                              1. re: grampart

                                Nice lookin' pies. You must have a smokin' hot oven to get nice-lookin' crust like that? We had a couple of delicious pies in Portugal a couple of months ago. They put whole black olives on all their pizzas. We had one with strips of bacon too.... mmmmm. The crust is thick, but lighter in texture than American pizza. Not as chewy as I like though. But it tasted goooooood. :-) Here's a pic:

                                 
                                1. re: lynnlato

                                  I just realized I didn't post the black olive and potato. Here it is. Btw, it's a regular electric oven (550 degrees) with a Fibrament stone.

                                   
                                  1. re: grampart

                                    Yes, great looking pies! Can't believe you achieve that nice crust w/ just a plain old electric oven. I may have to look into this Fibrament stone...Did you buy it online or at a store?

                                    What pizza dough recipe do you use?

                                    1. re: Carb Lover

                                      The Fibrament stone can be purchased here.
                                      http://www.bakingstone.com/
                                      I went through at least 5 other stones before I found this one 2 years ago. It is the BEST.

                                      As far as the recipe, I got it from pizzamaking.com by using the "formula" calculator here:
                                      http://www.pizzamaking.com/dough_calc...

                                      I use a wet dough (63% hydration) and very little yeast (1/2 tsp. for (2) 14" pies. The dough goes directly into the fridge for a 3-5 day "retarded" rise. If you're willing to read on the site, you can make pizza better than 99% of what's offered out 'there".

                                      My oven, with the stone on the bottom shelf, gets set at 550 and preheats for an hour AFTER the 550 is reached. I think the long preheat is very important. They take about 6 minutes with a 1/2 turn at about the 4-1/2 minute. King Arthur bread flour, 6 in 1 tomatoes from Escalon, and Polly-O whole milk mozz. Best of all, a plain 14" pizza costs me under $4 to make, not counting electricity.

                                      1. re: grampart

                                        You and I have clearly studied at the feet of the same master, grampart.

                                        I finally got a Fibrament about a year and a half ago and was immediately annoyed with myself for waiting so long. Agree. It's the best.

                                        I use King Arthur Sir Lancelot flour so my formula is slightly different from yours, but only very slightly. Also using 63% hydradtion.

                                        Agree also on the Escalon tomatoes, but I use Grande brand cheeses, usually the part-skim mozz.

                                        Finally, perhaps because my oven is gas, I've never preheated it for quite as long as you. About 50 minutes seems to do the trick for me, and cooking time is still 6 minutes. Next time I'll preheat longer and see what kind of a difference that makes.

                                        1. re: JoanN

                                          Okay, more about the pizza stone please. I have a clay comal that I use - unglazed baked clay pottery disc that I hauled back from Oaxaca.
                                          (And I thought I was pretty clever to use it as a pizza stone.)

                                          What's the difference?

                                          1. re: pitu

                                            Can't speak to a comal since I never used one. Can only tell you what I've experienced with the Fibrament versus unglazed quarry tiles. The heat transfer properties of the stone are much better so my crust is a perfect combination of crisp on the bottom and chewy beneath the toppings. With my tiles, which required much longer baking, it was either one or the other. It also heats more evenly, so I cam achieve an even, light char on the bottom rather than too much char in spots and not enough in others. And after repeated use, my tiles would crack. I just got tired of having to replace them all the time.

                                            If the comal works for you and you're happy with the results, stick with it. I used the quarry tiles for years and was pleased with the pizzas I turned out. If it hadn't been for the breakage issue, I'm not sure I would have bought the Fibrament. But now that I have one, I really do think my pizzas are even better.

                                            1. re: JoanN

                                              thx joan!
                                              I don't know exactly what an unglazed quarry tile is, but I suspect my comal is equivalent.

                                        2. re: grampart

                                          OK, I've just put a Fibrament stone on my christmas list ...

                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                            Gosh, don't tell me there is a better one out there - the last thing I need is two of them! This is the one I bought on the spur of the moment:

                                            http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

                                            By the way - so enjoying others' photos and descriptions of their pizzas.

                                            1. re: MMRuth

                                              If what you have is giving you something you're currently addicted to, I don't think you really really need another one!

                                              I, however, am in dire need of a fix.

                                          2. re: grampart

                                            Wow, thanks for your detailed reply. I've seen lots of references to the pizzamaking.com website, so it's probably time that I check it out if I want to get more serious about my homemade pizza. I just don't know if I have time for another obsession right now... :-)

                                            1. re: Carb Lover

                                              Figure it this way. You're going to make pizzas anyway. So a little improvement here and there along the way won't take you too far out of the way. You can do that much without getting too serious or obsessed.

                                              My idea is that I've never met a pizza that I didn't like. I think I may have been twelve or younger when I made them out of the little box from the A&P.

                                                1. re: lynnlato

                                                  Was a long time ago. I don't even know if it was Chef Boyardee or Franco-American or who put out those little boxes or if they're even available any more. Might have been Thoroughfare or Kroger's.

                                                  1. re: yayadave

                                                    It was maestro Boy-ar-dee. Remember the little pizza pan that came with it? It was re-usable, so you only had to buy the tray once, then just the pizza "kit" A can o'sauce, a can o' "cheese like product' and the dough mix. Just add water and "enjoy"...blecchhhh! (But it was "homemade"....) Adam
                                                    P.S. Used to buy it @ Food Fair, Foodtown, and Pathmark, all in NJ.

                                                    1. re: yayadave

                                                      When u mentioned the A&P it made me chuckle - just reminded me of my childhood and the old school grocer.

                                                      Yea, I think it was Chef Boyardee. My husband, when I met him, used to make those. I used to just stare at him w/ a jaw-dropped gaze. I totally didn't get the appeal. For him, it was what he had as a kid. :-)

                                                      1. re: lynnlato

                                                        There's a long running thread on pizzamaking.com about the Chef Boyardee pizza kits that you might enjoy. Here's the link:
                                                        http://www.pizzamaking.com/forum/inde...

                                                        1. re: grampart

                                                          Thanks for the link!! Some of those serious pizza makers like the kits.

                                                          1. re: grampart

                                                            That was the first pizza I ever ate! In Jr. High. along around 1954, Carolyn Smitley invited a bunch of us over for a pizza party, and we made a bunch of these. What I mostly remember was my first taste of pepperoni, something I'd never even heard of. Some time later I learned that over in Terre Haute, our nearest Big City, there was a place called Ambrosini's that had been selling pizza before most Americans knew it existed.

                                                            I did not expect less from the pizza because of the brand, by the way; in our house, that's where all the spaghetti dinners came from, and I adored those.

                                              1. re: Carb Lover

                                                I'm about to make the Sullivan Street pizza dough and wanted to post this link to the thread. I really like this dough (I also like the Artisan dough). Maybe it's because of the amazing way the dough becomes shiny after mixing with the electric mixer for 20 minutes or so. In any case, maybe this is already linked in this thread, but....

                                                http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/505775

                                        3. My favorite pizza came to me by way of Thepioneerwoman.com, at least my version of it.

                                          Take a large cookie/baking sheet, throw a couple of tablespoons of cornmeal and spread around.

                                          Oven temp is pre-heated to 500 degrees.

                                          On a floured surface, spread dough ball into a circle. Stretch it into a thinner circle, working from the center outwards. When the dough is stretched enough, place in center of baking sheet.

                                          Take fresh mozzarella ball, slice thinly. Do the same for 3 roma tomatoes, set both aside. Spread 3 tablespoons of Costco refrigerated Pesto sauce all over the dough, leaving 1/4" outer dough plain. Add sliced mozzarella cheese all around pizza, pinwheel style. Add tomato slices. Grate parmesean cheese all over the top of the pizza. Sprinkle a capful of olive oil all over pizza. Give a couple of grates of black pepper.

                                          Place in pre-heated oven for 15 minutes, checking the last two minutes. Take out of oven, let rest 10 minutes......yum!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: mcel215

                                            I made a delicious pizza on Sunday. Pizza dough from the farmer's market in town rolled out and stretched onto a baking sheet that has been brushed with olive oil and dusted with cornmeal. I brushed the top of the dough with a very thin coating of pesto and then a layer of marinara sauce. I sauteed local sausage with leeks and spread it atop the pizza. I topped that with some shredded provolone and slices of buffalo mozzarella. Cooked it at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes and grated fresh red pepper on top. There are two pieces left in the fridge that are screaming to me. This is not a light pizza but it is very comfy and delicious on a cold evening with a glass of Pinot Noir.

                                          2. Darn you, MMRuth. All this pizza talk got me going. I originally learned to make pizza as a way to lure children into my kitchen. I found there were very few that couldn’t be seduced by asking them to help me make pizza. Even when they were too young to handle the dough, they always loved sprinkling on their favorite toppings. But I’ve always been a traditionalist—mostly because the children were. Tomato sauce, cheese, pepperoni. The most exotic I ever got was sautéed mushrooms.

                                            Decided after reading this thread that it was time to expand my horizons. So the other night I made a pizza with onion marmalade, bosc pears, and some bleu d’auvergne. I don’t know. It sure was good, but way too sweet. I guess so-called “California style” pizza just isn’t pizza to me.

                                            With the second dough ball I went more traditional. Garlic and sage oil, crumbled spicy turkey sausage, and lots of low-moisture mozzarella. Now that’s more my kind of pizza. But they were a good reminder of why I only make it when kids are around. Having children help to prepare pizza is fun; not having them around to help consume it is very, very dangerous.

                                             
                                             
                                             
                                             
                                            1. I have never made pizza but have always wanted to- do you think it is worth making without a pizza stone? I try to limit the kitchen items I buy because I have a small kitchen. What do you all think?

                                              13 Replies
                                              1. re: cassoulady

                                                I don't think you'll be as happy with the results if you try to make it without a pizza stone.

                                                I, too, have a very small kitchen. I keep the stone on the floor of my oven. It lives there; I never remove it. I may cover it with foil if I'm afraid something might leak onto it, but I don't worry too much about it. I just scrape it and brush off the removable crud with a wide paintbrush once the stone has cooled.

                                                1. re: JoanN

                                                  ok, so it lives on the bottom of the oven- cool that could work. I will get one! I imagine it would be good for bread baking as well, especially boules and baguettes, no?

                                                  1. re: cassoulady

                                                    Absolutely! Great for breads. Although some breads call for pouring boiling water into a pan beneath the bread to create steam, in which case you might have to move your stone up to the lower shelf. Depends on the recipe. Also very good for certain pastries. Again, depending on the recipe, I'll often bake a pie directly on the stone. Helps keep the bottom crust nice and crisp.

                                                    ETA: If you're thinking of perhaps making baguettes, get the largest stone that will fit in your oven without covering up the vents through which the air circulates. Actually, that's a good idea whether you're thinking of making baguettes or not.

                                                    1. re: JoanN

                                                      great thanks for the tip! i have been looking for an excuse to get one, maybe I will ask Santa.

                                                      1. re: cassoulady

                                                        casoulady: I'm one of the curmudgeonly grumps who refused to buy a pizza stone. I even recently replaced my old, broken quarry tiles with new, unbroken quarry tiles. They work just fine for me. I may not know truly great pizza, but mine's purty danged good if I do say so myself...and I do.

                                                        1. re: oakjoan

                                                          I used quarry tiles for years with great success. I just got tired of having to replace them so often. And here in Manhattan they're not all that easy to come by and not all that inexpensive, either. Finally decided I had already paid for quarry tiles what a good stone would cost. I do find there's significantly better heat retention with the Fibrament stone, and that's a real advantage to me since I remove the parchment after three minutes, turn the pie, and continue to cook it for another three or four. But you're certainly right that you can make an exellent pizza on unglazed quarry tiles.

                                                2. re: cassoulady

                                                  I don't think you should let the lack of a pizza stone hold you back. You can make a plenty good pizza at home on a cookie sheet or pizza pan or pizza screen. A stone might be better, but that doesn't mean every thing else is bad.

                                                  1. re: yayadave

                                                    without a stone, should I put a Silpat on a baking sheet, or just put it on the sheet?

                                                    1. re: cassoulady

                                                      I just oil the bottom of a cookie sheet and place my dough on that. I shape it to fit the pan, so it's a rectangular shape (Roman style?) I like a real thin crust, and my method provides a satisfyingly crispy crust as well. However, if one favored thicker pizza crust, the end result using the bottom-of-the-cookie-sheet method be floppier. When I visit my parents, I use their pizza screen and it comes out quite good. Better than any delivery or resto anyway.

                                                      Bottom line, if you oil the sheet, the dough shouldn't stick.

                                                      1. re: cassoulady

                                                        I always use a couple of tablespoons of cornmeal on my baking sheet. Works great

                                                        1. re: mcel215

                                                          I like corn meal for both pizza and bread 'cause it just tastes right.

                                                    2. re: cassoulady

                                                      The pizza stone in the oven also helps keep the heat in the oven, when you're baking other things, especially if you open the door. When I bake two cookie trays at once and need to flip the trays, it maintains the temperature. Plus, there have been times when spillovers hit the stone and I don't have to clean the bottom of the oven.

                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                        I totally agree chowser!
                                                        I`ve never taken my pizza stone out of the oven (except for cleaning up spills) since I bought it. It evens out and holds temperatures for all cooking and reduces burning from the direct heat of the bottom electrical elements.
                                                        Of course, for those lucky enough to have convection ovens this is not as important.

                                                    3. Fibrament stone and pizza food supplies from http://www.pennmac.com/page/27
                                                      perfection!

                                                      Wonderful photos all!

                                                      1. You've inspired me to try this dough for pizza toight. I mixed it up yesterday and it's in the refrigerator. I've caramelized onions in the crockpot, dried tomatoes in the oven (bad season but couldn't resist) and have fresh mozzarella and basil ready to go. I'm going to sautee eggplant chunks, garlic and mushrooms while the dough is resting. Pepperoni ready to go and leftover spaghetti sauce I made a couple of days ago, if I go that route. I'm not sure what combinations I'll be using but will play it by ear then.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                          Sounds great - enjoy! Do make sure you brush the dough with olive oil first, and that the spaghetti sauce isn't too watery - I needed to cook mine down a bit. Off line, a hound told me that I should aspire to make my pies a little darker - so just something to bear in mind!

                                                          1. re: MMRuth

                                                            Thanks for the hints--I don't usually brush with olive oil but will. I've been using 500 degrees for the oven and preheating for half an hour but I'll turn it to 550 today and preheat for a full hour to get that darker crust, thanks to grampart's suggestions. The spaghetti sauce I have is very thick and I've oven dried the tomatoes so it doesn't get runny. My biggest problem is always with fresh mozzarella and the wetness that can come from that. I slice and drain between paper towels but sometimes it puddles. Hopefully the higher temperature will take care of it.

                                                        2. oh boy nice looking pizza!!!
                                                          I've been making pizza about 15 years or a little more now, and I so prefer it to going out for pizza. We like a softer (I thing that's what i mean) and a handle.

                                                          Here's mine!
                                                          http://www.flickr.com/photos/7220939@...

                                                          1. How did you get the pizza crust to stay so flat? I stretched mine and it looked good but once it hit the oven, it puffed up. It was good but not like pizza dough I've made. More like pizza topping on bread. I did increase the temp to 550 and it was nice and crusty. Too puffy, though. I like my pizza crust thinner than it came out.

                                                            18 Replies
                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                              You need to "dock" it. Google "pizza docker".

                                                              1. re: grampart

                                                                http://www.pizzamaking.com/thincrust.php

                                                                Any thin crust lovers out there...this link provides some tips I've followed including the docker grampart refers.

                                                                1. re: grampart

                                                                  I've neer had problems with the dough rising with pizza dough, though, w/out docking. I was thinking it was the type of dough that made it rise. I make focaccia pizza often and this is the type of rise I get with that. I did find this about docking and that it doesn't make a difference:

                                                                  http://www.ethicalpizza.com/2008/11/d...

                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                    Very interesting chowser. I dock pizza and prefer it very thin. The photo in your link appears to be a thicker pizza. Without docking the dough, I get bubbles and thick areas. When I say thin, I mean thin.

                                                                    Pizza making is experimental tho and all the different ways to achieve the crust/pizza you enjoy is afterall the part that matters.

                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                      I don't mind air bubble pockets. I think it makes the pizza look more rustic. Would docking make dough that would normally rise like bread remain flat? My dough ended up thicker than an inch, especially near the edge where there was no filling. MMRuths seems much flatter. I'm wondering if I should just stick with my regular pizza dough recipe and not the Artisan bread.

                                                                      1. re: chowser

                                                                        chowser, what kind of flour do you use? as mentioned, so many elements factor into the pizza results. I dock because it sets the dough flat. I like bubbles in my Italian bread recipes but not in my pizza. The sauce weight & amt. also varies on thin crust pizza, total amt. of cheese or toppings weight is important too.
                                                                        But-experiment.

                                                                        1. re: HillJ

                                                                          Yesterday, I used the artisan bread in 5 minutes that MMRuth said she used (in her pictures which looked so good). For that, I used King Arthur unbleached AP flour. But, I'm wondering if it rose so much because it's not pizza dough. My go-to recipe is Giada's from Bon Appetit:

                                                                          http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                                                          I also use KA unbleached AP flour for that. That doesn't rise and I get a nice flat crispy crust. I liked the idea of the Artisan bread dough that I can keep it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks but I'll bet I can do the same w/ the pizza dough recipe. It's the ultimate in laziness but I want to be able to just decide to pull out some dough and make pizza, not plan a day in advanced.

                                                                          1. re: chowser

                                                                            The Epicurious pizza dough is similar to the one I use when we make sicilian style, square pan pizza. After the holidays, I'm going to experiment some more with various flours and see what happens.

                                                                            Earlier this year I tried a pie pizza, deep dish and was disappointed in the dough-too doughy...haven't gotten back to that recipe yet...

                                                                            1. re: HillJ

                                                                              I want to try pizza pie recipe, too. I've made pizza rustica but with a pastry crust (a lot of different recipes out there). It's good but not pizza like.

                                                                            2. re: chowser

                                                                              That's the same flour I used. I think my dough had been in the fridge a good week or so, though I have no idea if that makes any difference. I didn't dock my dough. It wasn't super thin, but by no means was it too doughy, so to speak, and I also prefer my pizza crust on the thinner side. I don't recall the dough rising in the middle, but I wonder if the slices of mozzarella 'kept it down'?

                                                                              1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                The pizza making site (linked in this thread) under thin pizza specifies a thinner sauce and light on toppings. As I continue to experiment with pizza variations, the weight of sauce/cheese/toppings plays a role in the doughs outcome.

                                                                                Given there is no down side (imho) to the combo of sauce, cheese & bread dough...even the experiments taste good!!

                                                                                1. re: HillJ

                                                                                  @HillJ - You're right on as far as there being no down side. I prefer thin pizza with minimal toppings, but will eat just about anything. Here'a a pic of a focaccia I made with some leftover pizza sauce and Italian sweet sausage.

                                                                                   
                                                                                   
                                                                                   
                                                                                  1. re: grampart

                                                                                    That's the type of rise I got from the Artisan dough. I love focaccia pizza but was hoping to get the thinner crust. Back to my regular pizza dough recipe...

                                                                                    1. re: chowser

                                                                                      Yes, mine was definitely much thinner than that. How much dough did you use and how big was your pizza?

                                                                                      1. re: MMRuth

                                                                                        I made three (different age groups), one abuot 12", one about 9", one 6". Like the Goldilocks of pizza. They all grew.

                                                                                2. re: MMRuth

                                                                                  I had a lot of roasted vegetables in the center so that didn't rise as much, though more than other pizza doughs but the edges were really tall--a good 2". It was very good, I have to say, just not what I was expecting. I do love the ease of the Artisan dough in 5 minutes. I'm going to play with it and make bagels next; and the brioche dough in 5 minutes will be next week's project for Thanksgiving.

                                                                                  1. re: chowser

                                                                                    MMR, grampart, chowser, all weighing in..this discussion has been really helpful. Come post holidays I'll be back in pizza mode w/all of these tips to ponder!

                                                                        2. re: chowser

                                                                          I make a very thin (some think too thin) crust pizza and have never docked. I agree it's the dough recipe. I make a wet dough using King Arthur Sir Lancelot flour (mentioned in HillJ's link). I can stretch it thin and it stays thin. Only puffs around the crown, which is where you want it to puff.

                                                                    2. Isn't it a lot easier to go to a good Italian bakery and buy a pound of dough? In my neck of the woods There are superb bakeries that sell dough by the pound. I buy it all the time and can't imagine the time and effort to make your own would be worth it.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Welcoboy

                                                                        Speaking for myself, I love making yeast dough. There's nothing more satisfying. But not everyone feels that way. I am told that my great-grandmother, who immigrated from Italy roughly 115 years ago, used to make pizza with dough she got at the bakery.

                                                                        1. re: Welcoboy

                                                                          @Welcoboy - If your bakery uses a dough formulation that's specifically for pizza and this dough is allowed to rise over 3-4 days in the fridge then I guess it would be fine to purchase it. As far as time and effort, the dough cycle on a bread machine does an excellent job and the "effort" is minimal. Timewise, you do have to plan ahead. The 3-4 day rise can be reduced to 24 hours, but the dough won't be as good.

                                                                        2. Well, my pizza making efforts pale in comparison with most of you but twice in the last month I've picked up a 1 lb. pkg of fresh chanterelles at Costco and made what we thought was terrific pizza...

                                                                          Just sauteed the sliced mushrooms in olive oil with a little kosher salt, no garlic, no herbs - wanted to just taste the mushrooms. Used a commercial pizza dough (TJ), brushed crust with a small amount of garlic flavored olive oil, used a 4 cheese medley (Fontina, Parm, Provolone and Asiago I think...), mushrooms go on, then little blobs of goat cheese here and there... baked in my miserable electric oven without pizza stone.

                                                                          Totally can relate to the crack analogy... DH and I love this pizza.... He actually tried to talk me out of my last piece!

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: RWCFoodie

                                                                            I make pizza every friday with the sourdough starter I was given by the cheeseboard. With a sturdy mixer and making the dough the night before its not hard to enjoy fresh pizza. My faviorite toppings are simple: sauce onions pepper low moisture mozzarella (try mixing in 1/4 the amount of gruyere cheese), chopped san marzano tomatoes basil fresh mozzarella, sliced tomatoes onion mozzarella and gruyere

                                                                            1. re: kirinraj

                                                                              kirinraj: The Cheese Board in Berkeley, CA?

                                                                              1. re: oakjoan

                                                                                Yes, the cheeseboard in berkeley. They make great pizza, and may give you sourdough starter if you ask. They're really nice there

                                                                          2. I've been making two types of pizza lately...New York style pizza and Naples style...the first pic is the NY style and the second, Naples...the key is a blazing hot oven and stone and letting the dough rest overnight at least.

                                                                             
                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                            1. I've been doing 2 types of pizza lately : ny style and naples style.The key to any good pizza is a blazing hot oven and stone and letting the dough sit for at least one day...

                                                                              The first pic is the naples and the second is the ny style...

                                                                               
                                                                               
                                                                              1. alright, as long as we're comparing notes, here are 2 of my latest creations:

                                                                                Tarte d'Alsace, sonia style: caramelized onions, gruyere, lardons, finished with olive oil

                                                                                Pizza "caprese": garlic/olive oil brushed on the bottom, tomatoes, parmigiano reggiano, fresh mozzarella, sprinkled with salt (essential unless the mozz is quite salty), topped with arugula & finished with truffle oil.

                                                                                And by the way, the pizza screens were such a worthwhile purchase (you can kind of see them in the pics). They are so much more civilized than the pizza peel, though not as cool. No stressing about whether the pizza will slide off or losing toppings. I have a stone and peel but now I use these exclusively. The bottoms get crisp and no need to preheat the stone for an hour. I crank up the oven to the highest it will go and start stretching the dough. By the time I'm done assembling, the oven is plenty hot.

                                                                                 
                                                                                 
                                                                                 
                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                1. re: soniabegonia

                                                                                  Thanks for the tip on the pizza screen, those pizzas look great.

                                                                                  Off to Amazon!

                                                                                  1. re: soniabegonia

                                                                                    How long do you bake your pizzas on a screen?

                                                                                    1. re: tommy

                                                                                      Anywhere from 8-12 minutes, depending on the toppings. I start checking after 8. I start on the middle rack but if I'm using toppings that are particularly high in moisture, I sometimes move it just one notch higher in the oven to dry out some of the liquid. That Tarte d'Alsace got another 2 minutes after the initial 8, which was probably just a minute too long - the bottom was very crisp! It was still really tasty and I pretended that it was a cracker with toppings.