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Great Pizza at Home [split from Quebec]

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(Note: This post was split from the Quebec board at: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/8620... -- The Chowhound Team)

You really don't need anything special to make good pizza at home. Fresh ingredients, an oven and a baking sheet will suffice.

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  1. Yes, i know almost anything you can come up at home will beat the vast majority of the delivery options, and even most of the restaurant out there. but i'm not looking for good pizza, i'm looking for great pizza ! i've already started making artisan bread for the last couple of years, so i felt mastering pizza was the next step. the last few disapointing pizzas we ate just accelarated the drive to home made pizza heaven.

    not only does a pizza peel help me not burn myself getting it in and out of the oven/grill, but it makes the task faster and safer (i bake on a hearthen tile type of thing...a la pizza stones, but not an official/costly one) and looks pretty :)

    15 Replies
    1. re: simonSmokes

      Unglazed tile is great, and economical. Pizza stones are complete rip offs. I use my baking sheet upside down and sprinkled with cornmeal to dress my pizza and then slide it off onto the tiles.

      When it's done, then oven door comes down, tongs grab it and I pull it onto the baking sheet again. I find peels to be a nuisance to store.

      1. re: Zalbar

        not a bad tip with the baking sheet. the peels can indeed be pretty annoying to store, which is why i still don't have one, but my new place has a good spot for it.

        and yes, for those reading here with interest in pizza/baking at home, the first step is clearly to get an unglazed tile set in your oven.

        1. re: simonSmokes

          I love making pizza at home and Im interested in upping my cooking game! When you say a unglazed tile, its just a regular ceramic tile with no coating on top that you could buy at home depot? Also if you have a holy grail pizza crust recipe, please share it? :) I use to make sourdough pizza crust but recently killed my sourdough culture out of negligence and I'm now looking for a good regular recipe! I've tried the Peter Reinhart's recipe in the Baker's Apprentice book which was pretty good but looking to try new thing!

          1. re: sophie.brunet

            yes, any unglazed tile will do, although i guess that a thicker version would be better. thats just a guess, obviously, as i'm no thermo-physic guy, but the goal is to have it hold as much heat as possible. i can't find the Reinhart book you mention atm cause i just moved, but i'm pretty sure he mentions how to improve your oven with this exact technique. there's also a few episodes of good eats that will talk about it.

            the first thing i had years ago was the bottom part of a planting pot made of terra cotta, basically the saucer where the water drains. something like this :

            http://www.homedepot.ca/product/4-in-...

            as for pizza recipes...if you liked Baker's Apprentice book, i would recommend getting American Pie from the same author...its basically his search for the "perfect pizza" as he calls it. half of it is the story of his roaming the world (italy + US basically) in search of the greatest pizza, and the other half is a walkthrough of different doughs, toppings, sauces, techniques, tools, etc, with a list of classics making an apperance. I enjoyed it quite a bit and i would recommend it if you want to step up your pizza game. he even goes into focaccias, and there's a few pages on pita and other flat breads.

            1. re: simonSmokes

              Thanks for the tip on the terracota saucer and the Reinhart book! Ill definitely check it out! now im craving pizza for supper...

              1. re: sophie.brunet

                i'm making pizza on the grill tonight actually :)

                made the dough last night, pretty excited to try it. its a recipe from Reinhart from American Pie actually.

                1. re: simonSmokes

                  I ended up making pizza too, was very satisfying! I also discovered Reinhart has a blog on pizza called Pizza Quest! I tried a sauce recipe from there and it was great!

                  1. re: sophie.brunet

                    nice catch on the pizza quest, looks nice. i'll be reading that.

                    and those pizza oven "Forno Bravo" looks stellar. don't you wish you were just rich ;)

                    the grill pizza was pretty amazing. my girlfriend said it was the best pizza she ever had. i know i can do better, so i'll keep working on it, but it sure was a great start.

                    1. re: simonSmokes

                      ha yes I wish i was rich to buy one of those and also to have a place big enough to put it! I will need to try the pizza on the grill... do you precook it before or just put the pizza right on the bbq?

                      1. re: sophie.brunet

                        well, you can either put a "pizza stone" on the grill and let it get to high temp and cook the pizza on there, or do it straight over the charcoal.

                        basically, you make a dough that you let sit in a bit of olive oil, you shape it thin, lube the grate and then put the dough right on it. wait till it bubbles up, which means it's charring on the other side, and when its cooked you flip it. once that done, you need to go pretty fast about putting the toppings. first thing is the cheese, which will start to melt hitting the hot surface, then the rest of the toppings you want. let it cook through and voila. its amazing, although it does require some experimentation to get the right temp (ie : coal placement).

                        i strongly recommend hardwood charcoal for this, and not briquettes.

                        ps : you can also do it on a gas grill...about the same procedure, but not the same taste !

            2. re: sophie.brunet

              Hi Sophie, When you find that elusive dough recipe that you are seeking, you will share the recipe on here I hope. I haven't had much success in finding a recipe that provides a nice bubbly chewy crust.

              1. re: carl333

                Hi Carl! I will! I have been lazy/busy latelyand buying premade dough from Cavallero. But I want to try the recipes from the blog Pizza Quest. One tip Peter Reinhart gives is to make your dough 1-2 day in advance to let the flavour develop. Ill keep you posted if I find a holy grail recipe!

                1. re: sophie.brunet

                  doing the dough (or any bread for that matter) in advance and letting it ferment is the only way to get real flavour out of your flour. unbleached flour is also a must, due to the presence of beta-carotene. but the most important part really is letting your dough build flavour thru fermentation by doing it the night before (or early that morning) you need it, and letting it do its thing in the fridge. let it rest on the counter at least 2h before use.

                  1. re: sophie.brunet

                    Great, I'll do the same. I found a NY style dough recipe earlier this week that I will try sometime soon. Sorry to hear that your sourdough culture passed away. i read earlier this week about using such a culture in preparing a dough. The recipe came from a true blue pizza aficionado.

                    1. re: carl333

                      Sourdough is really fun but you have to remember to feed it. i foind myself only feeding it and not really using it. And then when i wanted to make non-sourdough bread I always felt guitly of not using my culture... im taking a break now but eventually ill grow another one. If you want tips to create your own sourdough, head over to the blog Pinch my Salt, she has great instruction there to raise one!