ISO good home made pizza
I want to make great pizza at home...but all I have is a regular oven. I have a pizza stone, and a peel. How do I get a great pizza? Please share techniques and crust recipes.
My standby recipe is Mark Bittman's from How to Cook Everything (you can google it). The trick is to let it rise and rise for a long time. I just throw it in the fridge overnight or all say or whatever, punching it down and letting it rise again.
The really key element for great pizza is temperature. Jack up the temp on your oven as high as it can go. If you have a BBQ, even better. Spritz the oven with some water from a spray bottle before putting the pizza in. That, and avoid putting on too many toppings, or too many watery toppings (tomatoes). Cook hot and fast.
You won't find a better more inspiring book on pizza than Peter Reinhart's American Pie. Incredible recipes, tips, and stories.
Regular oven to highest temp it will go - with pizza stone on the rack. In my oven it's 550. Roll dough very very thin - very thin. Very. Spread very very sparingly with excellent tomato puree (Italian product, if possible). Sprionkle with salt. Top with slices of good fiore di latte or other fresh mozzarella (buffalo would be fantastic). A few slivers of anchovy. Sprinkle pizza peel with semolina or cornmeal, assemble pizza and slide onto preheated stone. Bake for just a few minutes - until cheese begins to melt. Toss fresh basil leaves on top and bake for another couple of minutes. Done. Perfect. Remove from oven and eat.
Repeat as often as necessary.
Until I get a real honest to god outdoor woodburning pizza oven, this will do.
Pizzamaking.com has got to be the most technical food forum(s) I've ever seen.
These guys are fanatical about making great pizza at home. After spending literally hours reading through the various threads, I found a great recipe that works really well in our home oven on a pizza stone - for a while I was addicted to the process and every Weds was pizza night in our house.
Definitely easier with my KA stand mixer but I'm sure you can do this all by hand - doesn't need or want a lot of kneading FYI and make sure to use cold water. Seems counter intuitive but trust these guys, they know their stuff.
King Arthur Flour's Sir Lancelot makes this crust SUPERIOR IMHO but if you don't have it, you can use regular bread flour to good result.
I've made it without the overnight refrigeration (made in the morning and put in fridge until about 5pm) but it really is better tasting with the over night rest.
Another nice thing is that you can choose your preferred weapon of measurement (weight or volume - I use ounces for flour and water and teaspoons for everything else.)
Makes 1 12" pizza
Flour (100%): 209.66 g | 7.4 oz | 0.46 lbs
Water (63%): 132.08 g | 4.66 oz | 0.29 lbs
Instant Dry Yeast (.5%): 1.05 g | 0.04 oz | 0 lbs | 0.50 tsp | 0.12 tbsp
Salt (.5%): 1.05 g | 0.04 oz | 0 lbs | 0.22 tsp | 0.07 tbsp
Olive oil (1.5%): 3.14 g | 0.11 oz | 0.01 lbs | 1 tsp | 0.23 tbsp
Sugar (1.5%): 3.14 g | 0.11 oz | 0.01 lbs | 0.75 tsp | 0.26 tbsp
Total (167%): 350.13 g | 12.35 oz | 0.77 lbs | TF = 0.1092
Dissolve the salt and sugar into the water, in the stand mixer bowl. Combine the yeast and flour in a separate bowl, then add it to the mixer bowl. Mix for about 1 minute then add oil.
Continue to knead on lowest speed until the dough smooths into a ball (two or three minutes in the mixer). Remove dough from bowl and move to ziplock bag lightly coasted with oil.
Refrigerate overnight - about an hour before baking, remove from fridge, shape and top. I usually preheat my baking stone for about 45 mins at 400 degrees prior to baking, shape the pizza, dough at the 45 min mark and bake for about 15 mins give or take.
Good luck! If you have the time/inclination check out those forums, pretty amazing how such small variances can completely change the complexity of the dough and end result!
Agree totally with everything you have to say--American Pie, Pizzamaking.com. But until you've explored both rather thoroughly, printing out the results of Lehmann's Pizza Dough Calculation tool can be pretty overwhelming for the novice. Especially one who might not have a scale. (I, by the way, use the same hydration factor but choose not to add the sugar.)
I'd recommend working one's way up to that with Bittman's Basic Pizza Dough, which Mandymac referenced above:
I'm good with being able to weigh ingredients and using my kitchenaid mixer. I am concerned about the flour, though. Another pizza making friend suggested using Caputo's tipo 000. I think I can find that locally - I don't want to mail order any flour. Should I put the pizza stone on the rack or on the floor of the oven? I think I can get my oven hotter than my propane barbecue.
If one wants to make a pizza that adheres to the very strict guidelines established by the Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) in Italy, it must be made with “00” flour and contain no oil or sugar. “00” is a soft flour, not as easy to work with as AP, bread, or high-gluten flour. Since you’re not looking for a DOC designation for your homemade pizza, I’d recommend starting out with a more manageable dough and perhaps graduating up to “00” or a “00” blend once you get a feel for how various doughs handle and what your personal preferences are. You can make a very good pizza dough with all-purpose or bread flour.
Do take a look at the book “American Pie” by Peter Reinhart. It will tell you more than you need to know to make really excellent pizza in a home oven.
My pizza stone lives permanently on the floor of my oven. I don’t have access to a gas grill so have never tried it and can’t comment on it. But my gas oven gets up to 550 degrees and cooks a pizza with a good bottom char in about 7 minutes.
I used to stretch out my dough on a cornmeal-covered peel, but got tired of having burnt cornmeal on the floor of my oven. I now lay out the dough on a square of parchment paper on the peel, cook the pizza on the parchment on the stone for about three or four minutes until it firms up, then remove the parchment and cook the pizza for another three or four minutes. I miss the crunch of the cornmeal, but don’t miss having to clean up the mess.