Not long ago, Screamish asked about my pizza makin' skills. I'm here to tell all.
Pizza is not hard. It's actually pretty darned easy, but often seems like so much work that just dialing someone and having them deliver seems like a better option. However, I would like you to think about the difference between fast food and good food. Then think about just where all of those ingredients have been or how they were made. Me? I've gotten a lot pickier about my pizzas ever since I felt really awful after the last commercial pizza I had.
So. Let's begin. The first thing you're going to need is a good dough recipe. As you know, I've been swimming in No-Knead Bread Land since February and it's been good. Yes, they have a pizza dough recipe and forum, as does this guy. Chef John is hysterical and has videos to show you how to really do the things he does, so that's very cool. Personally, I like the AB5M recipe because I like having 4 lbs of dough on hand that I can make pizza or focaccia or rolls out of, should I wish. It works for me and allowing it to hang out in the fridge for a few days also develops more flavor in the crust. Yum.
- Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Your stone should be in now, if you have one. If you've broken yours like I have, the back of a 1/2 sheet pan works pretty well too. Either way, preheating the stone and oven is key to a crisp crust.
- Choose your recipe and make your dough.
- Generously flour the surface upon which you will roll out your dough. Flour your rolling pin, too. Don't be afraid of the flour, but don't go insane, either. Roll it out until it's about 1/8th of an inch thick. There are these funky rubberbands you can buy to go on your french pin to help you gauge proper thickness, but I just fake it. If the dough fights you, let it rest for 5 minutes and then roll it out.
- Transfer the dough to your cornmeal covered peel or, in my case, to a semolina covered Silpat. Be generous with the cornmeal/semolina flour since this helps you shift the laden pizza off your peel and onto your stone. My peel is broken and can't hold a whole pizza dough anymore. Sniffle!
- Brush the dough all over with olive oil and prick all over with a fork. This is to prevent it from bubbling all over as it cooks. Don't worry if it still bubbles, mine does and it tastes fantastic anyway.
- Lightly cover with your preferred toppings. On mine: ~1/3 c sliced mozzarella, 2/3 c Asiago, shredded basil, crushed garlic, minced rosemary, coarse sea salt and fresh ground pepper. Don't put too much on or you can't get it off the peel. Trust me.
- Slide it into the oven and bake for 8-12 minutes or until toppings are bubbling and the crust is golden brown and lovely. After removing from the oven, sprinkle the top with 2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese. Now you have a lovely three cheese pizza!
This is way better than store bought and you may even have the ingredients at home, right now! Flour, yeast, olive oil, salt, sugar/honey, water and toppings. You should try it. Really!