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Help with Homemade Pizza, Please

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We have a bread machine, but have never made pizza dough before. Can you give me any suggestions on great dough AND any hints on how to cook a great crust. Do you use a pizza stone? Do you spritz water in the oven? And finally...what are your favorite toppings? Thank you so much!

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  1. Daisy: I found out recently, that there is a special flour for making pizza dough, that us normal people don't know about. I found it at Weston Produce. Yes, I make all pizza on a stone, as the bottom crust does nicely on a stone. My husband, even likes the frozen pizzas done on my stone, as the bottom crust comes out really nice.

    1. You might enjoy reading through this recent thread where people talk about how they make pizza.

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/571481

      1. Daisy, I've been making my pizza dough in a bread machine for about 5 years. In fact, that's the only way I make it. After 100's of pizzas, I have a great recipe for you. Tell me, do you have a digital scale? Pizza stone? Peel?

        9 Replies
        1. re: grampart

          We do have a digital scale and peel. Planning to buy the stone if you tell me it will make a difference in the crust.

          1. re: DaisyM

            it will make a HUGE difference in your crust. A cheap version of the pizza stone is to line rack of your oven with unglazed tile. I do that with a little cornmeal...works great

            1. re: DaisyM

              I think a good stone makes a big difference. I swear by a Fibrament stone; a bit more expensive, but well worth it, imho.
              This recipe calls for King Arthur bread flour, but any high gluten bread flour will do.

              18.33 oz or 519.7 grams Flour

              11.55 oz or 327.41 grams Water (I use Brita filtered) cold is fine if your machine has a warmup phase.

              .37 oz or 10.39 grams of oil (I use olive oil)

              .32 oz or 9.09 grams of Kosher salt

              .18 oz or 5.2 grams Sugar (I use "Sugar in the Raw")

              1/2 teaspoon yeast (I use Fleischman's bread machine yeast) Yeah, I know that's not much yeast but, since you're going to do a "retarded cold rise" in the fridge for at least 24 hours, this is what you want to do.

              I put the water, oil, salt, and sugar in the pan. Then the flour (sift if you want), and the yeast in a little well at the top. My machine's bread cycle takes 2 hours after which I remove the dough and divide it in 2 (each ball should weigh about 15.39 oz) and shape it, lightly oil small bowls, put 1 ball in each and seal well with plastic wrap. Put in fridge asap. These can be used after 24 hours, but 3-4 days is best. I've used some that were 8 days in the cold. 2-3 hour before using, remove from fridge and put (still covered on counter). When ready to shape, use a lightly floured surface and (using just your hands) press into 14" circles. DO NOT KNEAD THE DOUGH ANYMORE! The dough should be very easy to handle and there won't be any of that "snap-back" that some folks have problems with. I set my oven at 550 and let it preheat for 1 hour AFTER the 550 is reached. This is important if you are using a stone. Perhaps, not so much if cooking on a sheet or screen. I turn my pies at 5 minutes and cook for another 1-2 minutes. I use a simple thin red sauce base with shredded whole milk mozz. Polly-O or Sorrento. Good luck!

              1. re: grampart

                Thanks everyone. We're going to go out and buy a pizza stone and a treadmill today. I'm sure you understand why! Can't wait to try the pizza.

                1. re: DaisyM

                  we started making a lot more pizzas at home lately. I always used the stone and think it works great, I recently bought the pizza peel as per suggestions here and what a HUGE difference in ease.

                  I do not make my own pizza dough but rather purchase it from a great bakery, I may try it in the future. all manner of dough scares me from breads to pie crust.

                  I have fiddled with various toppings and have discovered that I like tomato sauce better than pesto and I like sopprasatta for meat over procuitto. Also, if using procuitto and basil, cooking the crust first is better then add at the end so they don't brown. same with buffalo mozza sliced, add at the end or it gets watery. I love to cook my mushrooms or veg first, since the pie takes such a short amount of time to cook. I still haven't perfected making them round, but really who cares!

                  1. re: cleopatra999

                    We've just recently started making pizza dough, using a bread machine and, yes, a stone for baking it. Have a peel, but still feel pretty awkward using it -- any advice?

                    We just used the recipe that came with the bread machine, I think tweaking it from Deborah Madison's recipe, but I'm taking notes on all the advice I've seen popping up here.

                    It's been a lot of fun.

                    1. re: mselectra

                      It took me a while to get the hang of using a peel. The thing is, even after I got fairly adept, I never liked the mess of flour/cornmeal coming off the peel into the oven and onto the floor. Also, I don't care for the "grit" added to the bottom of my crust. Problem was solved with the purchase of a "SuperPeel". Some say it's an overpriced indulgence, but I'm never going back to the old way.
                      http://www.superpeel.com/

                      1. re: grampart

                        I've been using parchment paper and my peel, because I had such problems with the smoke alarm going off with burning corn meal. In terms of the peel, I just place it above the pizza stone, and then pull it back towards me, letting the pizza/bread drop to the stone.

                        1. re: MMRuth

                          I love the cornmeal effect. However , if you have the convection option on your oven don't use any because it may get in the fan bearings and wreck them.