Perfect Homemade Pizza is a tricky thing to achieve, but with a little practice and the right technique, you can be making parlour-worthy pies in no time. For lots of toppings ideas, check out our Pinterest Board, “Pizza!”
WHAT’S THE DOUGH?
It’s made with our organic whole wheat flour, honey, yeast, sunflower oil, water and a pinch of salt. That’s it.
STORING AND RE-FREEZING
Your dough will likely not stay frozen on the drive home–it thaws that quickly! You may immediately refreeze it, or keep it in the fridge for a few days– 3 tops. The longer you let it go when it’s thawed, the less effective the yeast will be.
The dough will keep in the freezer up to 3 months before the yeast’s potency starts to taper off. Your dough is a “living” product– it contains live yeast cultures to help it rise and build structure–but the yeast only becomes active (and starts to rise the dough) when it thaws.
The best way to thaw the dough from totally frozen is to put it in the refrigerator for at least several hours to thaw, then let it rest and rise on the counter at room temperature until it’s workable.
WHAT YOU NEED TO GET STARTED
A Pizza Stone is your friend — it helps your dough (especially if you like a crispy thin crust) get hot quickly– which is the trick to making great pizza. If you don’t have one, preheat the oven with a cookie sheet inside (no rim for easy transfer.)
A Pizza Peel or a thin wooden cutting board. The benefit of a pizza peel here is that you can slide your topped pizza in easily and remove it easily (and slice it here when it’s done.)
A sturdy fork or a dough docker (to help prevent air bubbles in your dough.)
You oven should be set super hot, 450-500 degrees, with the pizza stone or cookie sheet inside heating up.
Allow your dough to come to room temp on the counter after thawing for overnight (if totally frozen) or a few hours (if just partially frozen) in fridge. Read below for the details on rising and shaping.
You’ll also want some cornmeal for the bottom of the dough (prevents stickiness and adds a nice crunch.)
The regulars: roma tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, thinly sliced red onion
Meats: cooked chicken, browned sausage, cooked brats, pulled pork, sliced kielbasa or andouille, bacon, prosciutto or soppressata
Veggies: thinly sliced Hungarian hot peppers, bell peppers, thinly sliced eggplant, Brussels sprouts, kale, mushrooms, summer squash, cooked winter squash
Adventurous Add-Ons: eggs, fragile greens like arugula, or stone fruit (peaches, plums)
Finishing Drizzles: honey, balsamic vinegar, high-quality oil, fresh herbs
*Read section below on Toppings.
- If your dough is frozen, pull it out from the freezer the night before and put in refrigerator to defrost.
- Preheat oven, with the pizza stone inside, to a temp of 500 degrees
- Remove dough from refrigerator and let rise in the bag at room temperature for about 30-40 minutes.
- Spread a few tablespoons of flour or cornmeal on a clean countertop surface.
- Once the dough rises to appx twice the size, remove it from bag and set on floured surface. Punch it down by flattening with your hands, into roughly a circle shape.
- Lay the rolling pin across the midline of the dough. Roll the dough from the center to the top and from the center to the bottom. Don’t roll the pin all the way off the dough. Give the dough a quarter turn and repeat the rolling. Continue this process—rolling and turning– till it’s a little bigger than a dinner plate (about 10″ – 12″) and about ¼” – ½” thick.
- Dust a pizza peel or thin cutting board with cornmeal, and place dough on top.
- Using your hands, stretch, pull, and form your dough in a clockwise motion until you have achieve an even and properly sized pizza. Be careful not to tear the dough here, just stretch it thin.
- With a fork or dough docker, stab little holes over the entire surface of the pizza dough. This allows water vapor to release from the dough, and prevents those bubbles from forming in your pizza dough/crust as it cooks.
- Add your toppings* (read note below about toppings) and wiggle your peel/board to see if your pizza will slide off the surface and onto the cooking stone easily. If it is sticking, add a bit more cornmeal to the sticky areas and proceed to carefully slide the dough onto the cooking stone.
- (!! If your pizza sticks and falls onto the bottom of your 500 degree oven, turn oven off immediately and try to scoop the pizza out safely. If it is a sticky mess, let the pizza sit for just a minute or two in order to sear and release from the bottom of your oven. Once your oven is clear of debris, order a pizza for delivery and pour yourself a nice, tall drink.)
- Phew, you got your pizza on the stone! Close your oven IMMEDIATELY after the pizza hits the hot stone. You will need the oven temp to stay high, so use your oven light to check on its progress rather than opening the oven back up.
- Cook pizza for about 7-10 minutes or until your toppings are melted and fully cooked and the bottom of the pizza is seared, brown, and crispy.
- Carefully remove pizza back onto a peel or cutting board, slice as many ways needed and enjoy!!
Most of the mistakes made by home pizza cooks involve the amount and placement of toppings. Keep a high crust-to-topping ratio, and a generally good guiding principle is that a little (topping) goes a long way.
If you’re using a tomato based sauce, go light. You can always add more, but too much sauce will result in a soft, fragile dough. It will also increase you chances of the pizza sticking to the stone.
The sauce is the first layer, if you’re using it. Use a ladle to spoon some into the center of the pie. Using the bottom of the ladle, start to spread it out in concentric circles, going wider and wider till you almost reach the edge. Check out Parker’s Tomato Sauce Recipe to make your own at home!
Cheese is another ingredient that is often over-used (and is also pretty expensive.) If using a shredded cheese, make just a light layer on top of the sauce (or if using mozzarella, cut into chunks and disperse over the pie.)
Toppings that need to Pre-Cook
Some toppings need to be cooked a bit beforehand. For example, you would not want to put big chunks of raw sausage on a pizza that is only going to cook for 8 minutes. You want your toppings to finish cooking at the same time as the pizza.
For most meats (except thinly sliced, pre-cooked or cured meats like prosciutto which are placed on after the pizza comes out of the oven,) you want to par-cook them almost all the way through and then allow them to finish on the pizza.
Some vegetables need a pre-cook as well. Mushrooms, eggplant, Brussels sprouts and bell peppers all do better with a sauté with a tiny bit of oil, salt and maybe herbs until they are mostly cooked through.
Toppings should be spread evenly across the surface of your pizza to ensure proper cooking. Spread in an even, thin layer across the surface. This will ensure all your toppings will be nice and crispy.
Toppings that go on at the very end
Some toppings don’t need to be cooked at all, and in fact are much better when just placed on the cooked pizza at the end. Fresh greens (like arugula, spinach and fresh herbs), ricotta, pesto, and white sauce can all go on right at the end or with just an extra minute or two in the oven.
Finishing the Pizza
Once a pizza is properly cooked and cut on the peel or cutting board, try finishing it with a light drizzle of extra virgin sunflower oil, or freshly grated parmesan (or Flat Rock) cheese. Also, a few freshly chopped herbs add a lot of flavor. And especially if you’re using anything spicy on your pizza, drizzling some honey on top is a great final touch.