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Making Pizza at Home


beans
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Well, I answered my own question. Started out making the Todd English Pizza Dough. While I started making the dough, I set the oven with pizza stone in it to 550. After letting it rise for 2 hours the oven was ridiculously hot and ready to go. I rolled out some dough, trace cut it with a plate to make a perfect circle, unnecessary but who cares. I then added home made tomato sauce, home made pesto, chopped up chicken sausage, proscuitto, mushrooms, mozzarella, and parmesan... It was awesome. I definitely think that adding proscuitto to a pizza is almost a must.

The crust was perfectly done. The pizza stayed perfectly supported and crisp while i was just holding one end of the circle.. The crust was light and crunchy. All the ingredients were perfectly cook, in a really short time. Wanting to a make a pizza tonight with a bechamel sauce too, I think.

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My problem is, i have had several failed stromboli attempts..For some reason, my ingrediants keep falling out.. Also alot of times the sauce soaks through, and leaves the dough all mushy.. Does anyone have a fool proof method for making these guys?

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Daniel, I highly recommend taking a stab at pulling your pizza dough into shape rather than rolling it/cutting the edges. A rolled pizza just doesn't compare to a pulled one. No need to toss it in the air - unless you've got people around you want to impress :)

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Daniel, I highly recommend taking a stab at pulling your pizza dough into shape rather than rolling it/cutting the edges. A rolled pizza just doesn't compare to a pulled one. No need to toss it in the air - unless you've got people around you want to impress :)

Are you saying that if i rolled a pizza or I pulled it with my hands you would be able to tell the difference.. What are the differences.. I am going to have to try this tonight.

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Daniel, I highly recommend taking a stab at pulling your pizza dough into shape rather than rolling it/cutting the edges. A rolled pizza just doesn't compare to a pulled one. No need to toss it in the air - unless you've got people around you want to impress :)

Are you saying that if i rolled a pizza or I pulled it with my hands you would be able to tell the difference.. What are the differences.. I am going to have to try this tonight.

They are very different in that with a rolled pizza you have a completely level surface, with a hand stretched and tossed pizza you have what in italy they call a "cornicione" or a border. This is the outer edge of the pizza that is slightly thicker, and has more puff than the center area of the pizza.

jason

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Perhaps its the way i roll it, but i start my roller from the center to the outer edges so, my center is thinner then the edges as well. I really believe that it doesnt matter the wether you roll it or toss it.. I have heard many debates between the tossers and the pullers and they will swear there is a difference between those two processes.

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I read somewhere* that rolling out a pizza crust compresses the dough in a way that stretching doesn't. Also that stretching allows the crust to develop a "skin", which is important for the texture.

*One down side to being a voracious reader is that I frequently forget where I read something. <sigh>

"The dinner table is the center for the teaching and practicing not just of table manners but of conversation, consideration, tolerance, family feeling, and just about all the other accomplishments of polite society except the minuet." - Judith Martin (Miss Manners)

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I searched the web and have not seen anything other then people giving their personal opinions.. The opinions are going either way.. I actually just read a pizza recipe from wolfgang puck comfirming jmolinari's advice. Puck advised people to roll the dough, but to allow the center to be thinner then the sides.

Edited by Daniel (log)
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On the soggy crust question, I use my "Misto" oil sprayer to coat the dough with a fine layer of olive oil before I put the tomato sauce on. Seems to do the trick.

Obviously you could use any kind of fat, if you wanted a different flavor than olive oil or none at all.

Andrea

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Perhaps its the way i roll it, but i start my roller from the center to the outer edges so, my center is thinner then the edges as well.  I really believe that it doesnt matter the wether you roll it or toss it.. I have heard many debates between the tossers and the pullers and they will swear there is a difference between those two processes.

I've notice that when I used to roll my pizza crust, the roller would force air to the edge and form small bubbles that would pop. When I pull the pizza, this doesn't happen.

The overall difference between rolled and pulled dough probably isn't huge, though. My recommendation to pull rather than roll/cut was more focused on the cutting than the rolling. Cutting dough gives you an unsealed edge. With an unsealed edge, you're seriously impairing your oven spring.

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  • 1 year later...

For me, this has been the winter of the pizza. I have built deep-dish Chicago style pies. I grilled pizzas and fried doughs. I baked off a few sicilian trays too. But what haunts my half-Italian taste buds is perfecting a crispy thin-crusted pie at home. I am close. But close isn't good enough.

So let's break it down, shall we.....

For the dough... Does double zero flour really make a difference? Does a stiff dough work better than a looser dough? Is there a "go to" dough recipe that's typically known as the best?

The sauce... What goes into the perfect pizza sauce? Do we assume San Marzanno's are the best or is there a better tomato lurking outhere somewhere? Is smooth better than chunky? Should the sauce be raw or cooked?

Cheese... Is fresh mozzerella better than pre-packaged? How about Mozzerella di bufla? Should the additon of another, more flavorful cheese, make an appearance? If so, what's is your favorite?

Marrying the ingredients... How thin is thin enough? Which should go on first the sauce or the cheese? Does fresh basil get baked with the pie or is it tossed on top after it is removed from the oven? Should we bake it on a cookie sheet? Inside a cast iron skillet? On a pizza stone? If so, how long do you pre-heat it for?

These are just a few questions to spur thought. What I am really looking for are those little tips, those small details, that turn an ordinary home-made pizzas into pies that jump off the tray.

Edited by crusio's (log)
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Ask and ye shall receive:

http://www.correllconcepts.com/Encyclopizz...ncyclopizza.htm

Everything you ever wanted or needed to know about all kind of sauces, doughs, ingredients.  Very interesting!

doc

Cool resource, doc.

That guy brings up the fact that cooking tomatos changes their flavor, so if you're going to use a canned tomato product to make your sauce, use a product that is already thickened to the level you want, rather than thickening the tomato product by boiling. He says that the thick canned products are thickened by boiling under a vacuum at 135-145F, so even thought they are cooked, they are cooked at a much lower temperature. I've always used crushed tomatoes for my sauce, but I have to simmer the sauce to make it as thick as I like. Anyone have any tips on what sort of canned tomato product would be better -- that wouldn't need to be reduced? Maybe a mixture of tomato paste and drained crushed tomatoes?

ETA: Looks like I just needed to keep reading! He gives several sauce recipes.

Edited by Patrick S (log)

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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My $.02, for what it's worth :laugh:

For the dough... Does double zero flour really make a difference? Does a stiff dough work better than a looser dough? Is there a "go to" dough recipe that's typically known as the best?

I use AP flour with about 25% cake flour mixed in. Gives a nice texture.

The sauce... What goes into the perfect pizza sauce? Do we assume San Marzanno's are the best or is there a better tomato lurking outhere somewhere? Is smooth better than chunky? Should the sauce be raw or cooked?

I like San Marzanos. For pizza sauce, I like a very garlicky, smooth, not sweet marinara. Usually hit it with an immersion blender to smooth it.

Cheese... Is fresh mozzerella better than pre-packaged? How about Mozzerella di bufla? Should the additon of another, more flavorful cheese, make an appearance? If so, what's is your favorite?

Absolutely fresh mozzarella is better. Any decent fresh is good, don't have to spend a ton for the pizza application. Commercial mozz is pretty lame usually. I usually add a good sprinkle of a mixture of grated Reggiano parmesan and grated Locatelli romano.

Marrying the ingredients... How thin is thin enough? Which should go on first the sauce or the cheese? Does fresh basil get baked with the pie or is it tossed on top after it is removed from the oven? Should we bake it on a cookie sheet? Inside a cast iron skillet? On a pizza stone? If so, how long do you pre-heat it for?

I do sauce first, sparingly. Too much sauce is a common problem. I do all toppings pretty sparingly, actually. Get good ingredients and use then judiciously. Basil absolutely tossed on top right when it's taken out of the oven (pepperoni same way, sliced real thin). I use a porous stone in an oven that I set at 500 F about 45 minutes prior to cooking the pie. As others have said, I like to build the pie on parchment paper and set it on the stone on the paper. Easy way to get it in the oven and the brown paper just peels off at the end leaving no trace or flavor. Also, use a cooling rack to maintain crust texture.

These are just a few questions to spur thought. What I am really looking for are those little tips, those small details, that turn an ordinary home-made pizzas into pies that jump off the tray.

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I make the super thin Italian cracker-like pizza quite a bit. Have been to Italy a number of times and watched a guy in one of my favorite little pizza joints in Varese as he pats out the dough.

I use all purpose flour, a somewhat soft dough, and when I pat them out, I pat them out as thin as I can get them, nearly paper thin and then dock the dough just a bit to keep it from puffing too much as it bakes. I put my oven stone on the bottom rung of the oven, preheat the oven as high as it will go for an hour before I bake.

And then I use some of the standard Italian ingredients for this sort of pizza. And I never use a tomato sauce. For one, medallions of bresaola (or sopressato) arranged around the dough before it goes into the very hot oven. You'll bake for only a couple of minutes, so watch it closely. And then after it comes out of the oven, drizzle with olive oil and scatter some arugula and/or cilantro over the pizza with some freshly grated parmesano.

My husband loves the same sort of thing with sopressato, cherry tomatoes, some mozzarella, arugula, olive oil, parmesano. But very lightly applied.

And another absolute favorite, gorgonzola dolce with thinly sliced apple and then fresh arugula or cilantro. Arrange the sliced apple around the dough and then dot the gorgonzola all over (or a mix of whatever gorgonzola or blue cheese you can find if you can't get gorgonzola dolce and either camembert or brie to approximate the gorgonzola dolce). When it comes out of the oven just a couple of minutes later, apply either fresh arugula or cilantro.

I do these in my wood-fired brick oven as well, and I really have good luck with the results in both my kitchen oven and the brick oven which, as you might imagine, gets very hot, and where I typically bake them at about 800 to 900 degrees.

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Cool resource, doc.

Anyone have any tips on what sort of canned tomato product would be better -- that wouldn't need to be reduced? Maybe a mixture of tomato paste and drained crushed tomatoes?

ETA: Looks like I just needed to keep reading! He gives several sauce recipes.

Hey Patrick S,

It really is a cool site, isn't it! I used to buy the 6lb size cans of Hunt's tomato puree and tomato paste, and then realized the paste is priced the same as the puree, and you just add water to the paste to get the puree and have more. SO I buy only the paste now, and dilute it to the required consistency. It has a bit of citric acid in it, which livens up the taste imho, and I don't miss the chunks of tomato as I add enough other stuff to add texture to the pizza. I am particularly found of adding ground fennel seed, tarragon, brown sugar, and of course S&P and a little fresh basil & marjoram to get a really wonderful sauce that is good on thin crust as well as thicker crust pizza.

None of my pizzas work well unless I fire up the electric wall oven and rectangular 1/2" thick pizza stone to 550F for at least an hour before peeling the pizza onto the stone. With the stone set exactly in the middle of the oven, I get a nice browned bottom, thoroughly cooked sauce and the cheese is just taking on a hint of carmelization just the way I like it!

doc

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Cool resource, doc.

Anyone have any tips on what sort of canned tomato product would be better -- that wouldn't need to be reduced? Maybe a mixture of tomato paste and drained crushed tomatoes?

ETA: Looks like I just needed to keep reading! He gives several sauce recipes.

Hey Patrick S,

It really is a cool site, isn't it! I used to buy the 6lb size cans of Hunt's tomato puree and tomato paste, and then realized the paste is priced the same as the puree, and you just add water to the paste to get the puree and have more. SO I buy only the paste now, and dilute it to the required consistency. It has a bit of citric acid in it, which livens up the taste imho, and I don't miss the chunks of tomato as I add enough other stuff to add texture to the pizza. I am particularly found of adding ground fennel seed, tarragon, brown sugar, and of course S&P and a little fresh basil & marjoram to get a really wonderful sauce that is good on thin crust as well as thicker crust pizza.

None of my pizzas work well unless I fire up the electric wall oven and rectangular 1/2" thick pizza stone to 550F for at least an hour before peeling the pizza onto the stone. With the stone set exactly in the middle of the oven, I get a nice browned bottom, thoroughly cooked sauce and the cheese is just taking on a hint of carmelization just the way I like it!

doc

I'm going to experiment with the paste this weekend and see how I like it. I usually have sauteed onions and garlic in my sauce -- I guess I'll just sautee like normal and then mix it into the paste, and thin it if I need to with water?

I cook my pizzas the exact same way you describe, except I put the stone on the bottom rack. I also like a little caramelization on the cheese -- that's the only thing I don't like about fresh mozarella (well, beside the higher price), that its harder to caramelize.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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[i'm going to experiment with the paste this weekend and see how I like it. I usually have sauteed onions and garlic in my sauce -- I guess I'll just sautee like normal and then mix it into the paste, and thin it if I need to with water?

Since I make a lot of stock (mostly veal) and can it, most of the time I dilute the paste with stock. Gives it a bit more body.

I used to swear on lots of garlic and onions in my pizza sauce too, but due to my wife's GERD, which onions (cooked or raw) negatively affect, I've started going with sauces that are more basic as I described above. Actually, I'm finding that they are more refreshing than the way I'd been doing it for the last 30+ years.

Just a sort of "old dog learned a new trick" sort of thing! :)

doc

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  • 9 years later...

Is there a more recent thread on baking pizza at home? If so, couldn't find it. I've made a few pies this week.  We normally make thin crust but this week decided to add a bit of heft to our crust. I like to age my pizza dough in the fridge for several days, that seems to greatly improve the flavor of the dough. 

#1 - spinach and homemade goat cheese 

 

20151231_200814.jpg

 

#2 -  slow roasted tomatoes and garlic with fresh mozzarella 

20151229_192536.jpg

 

#3 -  grape tomato, mushroom and fresh mozzarella 

 

20151231_203808.jpg

 

#4 -  fra diavolo sauce, fresh mozzarella and pepperoni 

 

20151231_203756.jpg

 

#5 - crust (I use a baking stone because I'm too cheap to invest in a pizza steel and have nowhere to store anymore kitchen gadgets!) 

 

20151231_203840.jpg

Edited by kbjesq
Add photos & clarify (log)
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15 hours ago, kbjesq said:

Is there a more recent thread on baking pizza at home? If so, couldn't find it. I've made a few pies this week.  We normally make thin crust but this week decided to add a bit of heft to our crust. I like to age my pizza dough in the fridge for several days, that seems to greatly improve the flavor of the dough. 

#1 - spinach and homemade goat cheese 

 

20151231_200814.jpg

 

#2 -  slow roasted tomatoes and garlic with fresh mozzarella 

20151229_192536.jpg

 

#3 -  grape tomato, mushroom and fresh mozzarella 

 

20151231_203808.jpg

 

#4 -  fra diavolo sauce, fresh mozzarella and pepperoni 

 

20151231_203756.jpg

 

#5 - crust (I use a baking stone because I'm too cheap to invest in a pizza steel and have nowhere to store anymore kitchen gadgets!) 

 

20151231_203840.jpg

 

 

Great looking pizzas all, but my personal pick is No. 4! Very nice.

 

I don't have a pizza steel or stone either. The stones are too fragile for me, and why should I buy a pizza steel when I already have a perfectly good reversible flat griddle/ribbed grill of enameled cast iron that goes with our outdoor gas grill?

 

I store it right on the very bottom shelf all the time. It's too heavy to be moving around all the time. I put a piece of foil over the top of it simply because I'd rather throw the foil out instead of clean up after a messy broil. It takes a little longer to preheat the oven, but the oven then retains heat better, and I haven't burned the bottoms of cookies or biscuits since I started keeping the cast iron plate in there. It absorbs and deflects the heat from the cycling bottom heating element.

 

The flat side up works great for pizza.

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> ^ . . ^ <

 

 

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1 minute ago, Thanks for the Crepes said:

 

Great looking pizzas all, but my personal pick is No. 4! Very nice.

 

I don't have a pizza steel or stone either. The stones are too fragile for me, and why should I buy a pizza steel when I already have a perfectly good reversible flat griddle/ribbed grill of enameled cast iron that goes with our outdoor gas grill?

This is brilliant - had not thought of this solution. My DH *threw out* (d'oh) the cast iron grill/griddle that came with our Weber grill, but I'm sure that I can "guilt" him into providing me with a replacement. Thanks for this suggestion. It may also cause me to attempt cooking pizza on the grill. I've read a lot about it, but have not yet attempted to do it myself. Oh my gosh, there is so much delicious food out there and so little time to prepare and eat it! I feel very  lucky to have such problems 

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The replacement grill/griddle is sold separately and is a lot cheaper than a baking steel.

 

I have cooked pizza on the grill even before we got the grill/griddle. It's too hot here in the summer to be futzing around with a very hot oven inside running against the A/C.

 

Everyone says you can throw the raw dough right on the grill for a few minutes until in stiffens up, flip onto a platter, quickly place your (not too heavy) toppings on the cooked side of the dough return the pizza to the grill, and close the lid to finish the pizza. I'm sure this can be done, but I haven't tried it. I like a high hydration dough for pizza, and thin crust, and I hate failure.

 

I came up with this cheat on the same method:

I found a thin, flat, rectangular steel pan that has a shallow rim on three sides and heavy wire handles on the two ends. It also has holes all over it like a perforated pizza pan. It looks something like this:

 

BBQ_perforated_GRILL_pan.jpg

 

Mine is 11" x 14". It was also cheap. I got it at Dollar General for less than $5 when they stock a bunch of patio and gardening stuff in the spring.

 

You still have to cook the first side of the dough, then flip and top, but it makes it a lot easier than trying to drape raw dough onto a hot grill with bare hands.

 

The pan is also great for grilling asparagus, green onions, shrimp or any other small stuff you don't want to lose into the fire. 

Edited by Thanks for the Crepes (log)

> ^ . . ^ <

 

 

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