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Jan 21, 2009 06:07 PM


I want to make pizza dough for the first time. Can anyone suggest a recipe that is not too difficult?

Also, is the quality of the pizza stone important?

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  1. There are a few recent threads about pizza... I'd suggest starting with this one:

    1. Yeah, there are lots of threads on homemade pizza around here. I've posted my recipe for very easy pizza dough there, which I'll type again below (sometimes I get lazy and don't like to search the archives either). The recipe is for a stand mixer, but you can also do this all by hand, which is satisfying, but requires more hands-on time.

      As for the pizza stone, I actually don't use one at all, and it doesn't seem to make that much of a difference to me (don't attack me, pizza stone fans! I just don't need another kitchen item!!). I use my trusty heavy, dark, rimmed baking sheet and make rectangular pizzas. I sprinkle the pan with a light dusting of cornmeal and bake it on the lowest rack at 475 for 12-15 minutes.

      Simple Dough:
      Whisk together 2 1/4c flour, 1tsp kosher salt, 1Tbs sugar, and 2 1/4tsp (or 1 packet) active dry yeast in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Add 1c water (or 1/2c water and 1/2c lager beer, like Bud, for an amazing boost in flavor...but don't worry, it doesn't taste like beer!), and stir together until most flour is moistened. Drizzle with 1Tbs olive oil. Using dough hook, knead on low speed (2) for 8-10 minutes. [During kneading, dough should form a ball riding up the hook - if it's sinking to the bottom of the bowl, add 1-2Tbs flour.]

      Place dough in an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm spot for 1 hour. Punch down, and let rise again for 30 minutes - 1 hour (you can skip the 2nd rise if you're short on time, and it works out ok). Punch down and shape into ball. Roll out into desired shape, using as little flour as possible and not working it too much (which can make it tough). Let rest in pizza shape while you prepare toppings. Then top and bake!

      1. I think a hot pizza stone is critical for good results, but that seems to vary.

        Rosemary's recipe sounds good, but I tend to start the dough the night before and let it ferment for 12-15 hours.

        I form my pies on a piece of parchment and bake them for 5-8 minutes in a ripping hot stone before topping them to get a crisp but chewy crust but that is a personal choice. The parchment can go directly on a hot stone w/o problems, but it will occasionally smoke.

        4 Replies
        1. re: Kelli2006

          I use Deborah Madison's recipe from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone.

          I second the use of parchment on the stone - I put the dough on the paper, add all the toppings and slide it in with the paddle. It bakes very nicely and I never have to scrub bits of dough and/or cheese off the stone.

          1. re: lupaglupa

            I don't have a paddle yet, but using the parchment paper I can do. What a great tip!

            1. re: TampaAurora

              I learned it here on Chowhound! You can use a flat cookie sheet in the place of a paddle.

              1. re: lupaglupa

                A flat cookie sheet works (I used an upside down one) but I got a paddle for just over $5 at Ross and it's so much better. Much better than I would have thought. Plus, taking out the pizza, if you're making more than one is a piece of cake.

        2. I like the Barefoot Contessa's recipe -- and it's very simple. My version of it is here:

          1. Quality of the stone is not necessarily important, but the use of one is. If you try to bake pizza on a sheet pan or something, it will just steam and turn soggy, not bake up crispy.

            18 Replies
            1. re: HaagenDazs

              I'm hoping you can explain what went wrong with my first time using a pizza stone. The edges of the pizza baked on to the stone but only on one side.. What did I do wrong? How do I get it off without scratching the surface of the stone?

              1. re: TampaAurora

                Don't worry about scratching the surface of the stone. I just use a cheap knife to gently lift it off. Mine doesn't need any heavy duty scraping.

                1. re: TampaAurora

                  Sounds like your pizza crust didn't actually bake onto the stone... it sounds like your tomato sauce and cheese oozed over the edge and adhered to the stone.

                  I agree with jaykayen - scratching your pizza stone is the last thing you should be worried about. If you're trying to keep this thing spotless and clean you're going to be in for a very rude awakening when you see all the brown and black spots all over it after a few uses. ;-)

                  Also, do not use soap on these things. They are extremely porous and will absorb water (which will evaporate) but will also absorb all the soap you might use (which will make your next pizza taste like suds).

                  1. re: HaagenDazs

                    And when the water stuck inside heats back up, it will crack the stone. Speaking from experience here.

                2. re: HaagenDazs

                  For a cheap pizza stone you can get a unglazed piece of quarry tile for a couple bucks at places like Home Depot.

                  1. re: HaagenDazs

                    Ok...I just have to respond and say that's not entirely true. I think a basic light colored cookie sheet might give you this result, but I bake pizza weekly on a dark, heavy sheet pan and the crust is always deeply browned and very crisp. I do coat the pan with a dusting of cornmeal, which maybe helps? The best part for me it the edges of the crust, which brown from resting on the 1" sides of the sheet pan...yummmm....

                    1. re: RosemaryHoney

                      Good for you. To each their own, and maybe you've perfected your pizza-on-a-sheet-pan technique, but the majority of people who want to easily bake pizza at home, should use a pizza stone.

                      If a sheet pan was the best way to cook pizza then it would be done in all the great pizza restaurants in the world... but that just isn't the case.

                      1. re: HaagenDazs

                        Oh gosh no. I'm certainly not arguing the using a baking sheet is the best way to bake a pizza. I'm just saying that using a baking sheet does not necessarily result in a steamed up, soggy pizza. And, for those who are pinching every penny or facing limited space, it isn't necessarily mandatory to use a pizza stone if you don't have one. Crispy pizza crust can be had without one.

                        1. re: RosemaryHoney

                          Thanks RH. I make pizza on the bottom of a cookie sheet all the time. I can't afford a pizza stone and would be hesitant to leave my oven on for an extra hour at 450F+ temps. I make my crust very thin, and as long as I don't get carried away with the toppings, it always comes out adequately crisp.

                          1. re: Agent Orange

                            "I can't afford a pizza stone"

                            Pizza stones are not a product for the rich and famous. They're pretty cheap, and in any event there are plenty of very cheap alternatives. You don't have to spend $30 on a name brand stone. Lots of people here use unglazed quarry tile from home improvement stores. Personally, I've used large terra cotta saucers that I've inverted and used as pizza stones in the past. You can even use a cast iron pan.

                            And you don't need to heat an oven for an hour to use a pizza stone. As long as your oven is preheated for about 15 or 20 minutes, your pizza stone is preheated.

                            1. re: HaagenDazs

                              Yeah. After cracking my baking stone on the grill (don't ask) I've been using a 12-inch black marble floor tile from Home Depot as my pizza stone - cost about 4 bucks, I think, and it works great.

                              1. re: Bat Guano

                                Wow - it seems like that might have the potential to crack, but hey, if it works it works! Probably not a good idea to put that on the grill either. ;-)

                                1. re: Bat Guano

                                  Very true, and I am sure it would work gread. I cook my roast chicken in a large terracotta pot, CLAY pot I use the bottom as a lid. Forget the 200 pots and pans. Hey our ancestors did have fancy cookware and did just fine.

                                2. re: HaagenDazs

                                  Okay, okay. I keep hearing about the quarry tile solution. And if ten or fifteen minutes is sufficient warm up time, then I might just give it a try.

                                  1. re: Agent Orange

                                    I heat at 425 or 450 and then turn down before cooking and always works. Maybe just lucky. Pizza always is a hit and comes out crispy. I'm not sure if New Yorkers would give me a star. But for my standards, crispy, good, fresh and easy. Can't pass that up ... and fun to make.

                                3. re: Agent Orange

                                  I used a baking sheet for years. I found a pizza stone a cutting board at Walmard for 15.99 last year. I love it. I made pizza, rolls, pork chops, chicken breasts lost on it. I love it. I put a small piece of parchment on it and cook seafood or cood lots of breads and rolls. PIZZA too. It is very thin and takes no room in fact I keep mine on top of the refrig. I bought a wicker basket a keep it up there with a couple of trays and my pizza stone. I can't live without mine. The best 15 ever spent. But hey, a cookie sheet is just fine. And yea 10 minute in the oven and the stone is ready.

                                  1. re: kchurchill5

                                    I just keep my pizza stone in the oven. It helps regulate the temperature, esp. if you open it during baking. And, it's there for the spills, too.