If you think that the crispy, thin, crunchy and saucy pizza goodness that you buy from the shops is the best there is, think again! For your information, there is nothing better than having a bite of a delicious homemade pizza that is made from scratch! The best thing about it? It is not as complicated as you think!
Are you a pizza lover just like me? If yes, then I am pretty sure you are wondering how to make pizza (just like me!). Well, you are in for a great treat! This article is a comprehensive guide on how to make a pizza.
So, are you ready to take your love for pizza to a whole new level? Well, let’s get this party started!
Ingredients & Equipment
Of course, just like any great cooking guide, we will be starting with the ingredients and equipment that you will need to create the best homemade pizza that you can get your hands on!
For the cooking equipment, you have plenty of options. The most common cooking equipment used for making pizza is no other than an oven. But you also have a few other options. These may include an outdoor grill, stove, slow cooker or rice cooker.
Of course, you would need a few cooking utensils to make sure that your pizza will be in its tip top shape.
First, you would need a pizza stone that would come handy if you want a crispy crust.
Second, you will also need either a pizza peel or a flat baking sheet that you can use in getting the hot pizza from the oven.
Third, a pizza cutter is the best cooking accessory for cutting pizza. But if you do not have any, a well-sharpened knife will do.
Pizza Dough Ingredients
For the ultimate pizza dough, you will need the following ingredients:
- 1 ½ cup of warm water.
- 3 ½ cups of bread flour.
- 2 ¼ teaspoons of active dry yeast.
- 2 teaspoons salt.
- 2 tablespoon of olive oil.
- 1 teaspoon of sugar.
Other ingredients you may need for the pizza dough include olive oil and cornmeal. These two ingredients will help the pizza to slide easily onto the pizza stone.
The anatomy of a pizza topping is quite predictable. Of course, you will need a pizza sauce, cheese of your choice and toppings of your choice. I will leave the selection of toppings up to you. But I will be giving a few suggestions, and a simple homemade sauce recipe in the later sections of this article so stay tuned!
Making the Pizza Dough & Storing the Dough
If you have all the ingredients and equipment ready, then let us get started! First up is one of the most challenging parts of making a pizza—making the dough. Yes, this part may be a bit complicated, but this is the part where you get to enjoy the ultimate pizza making experience. In my knowledge, this is also the part when you will be converted to a firm believer of homemade pizza.
So if you are ready, here are some of the steps that you should take:
Step 1. Mix yeast, olive oil, sugar, salt and warm water.
In a small mixing bowl, place water, add olive oil and sprinkle salt, sugar, and yeast into it. Let it sit for 5 minutes and wait for the yeast to dissolve. Stir it afterward.
Pro TipWhen mixed with warm water, the yeast will respond better. It will rise not too fast nor too slow.
Step 2. Make the dough.
Thoroughly clean a sturdy, flat surface in your kitchen. Make sure that it is completely dry before you heap the flour onto it. After that, create a well in the middle of the flour. Slowly add only 1/3 of the mixture. Use a fork to distribute the flour from the sides into the middle while retaining its well shape.
Gently add the remaining mixture until the dough become sticky.
Step 3. Knead the dough.
Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, making sure that the liquid has completely covered the flour.
- If the dough seems a bit wet, you can add more flour.
- Using a mixer will make kneading a whole lot easier. If you wish to go down this route, then you should place the flour and the yeast mixture in a bowl and put it in the mixer. Use the dough hook and put the mixer on medium speed. Knead for 10 minutes.
Step 4. Let the dough rise.
Spread a bit of olive oil in the insides of a bowl. Coat the dough with a bit of olive oil too. Place it in the bowl and wrap it with plastic wrap. Let it sit for 1 ½ hours.
Pro TipYou can let it sit for longer than 1 ½ hours. The longer the dough will rise, the more flavorful the crust will be.
Step 5. Store the dough.
If you are not using the dough anytime soon (or if you will have leftover pizza dough), then you will be happy to know that you can store it for a few days. There are two ways on how you can do this and these are the following:
Keep it in the refrigerator.
Cover dough with a bit of oil. Place it in a properly sealed plastic bag and put it in the refrigerator. For this option, the dough can last for 3 to 5 days.
Put it in the freezer.
With this option, your dough can last up to 3 months.
Coat the dough with olive oil and place it in a freezer bag and seal it well. Make sure that you squeeze out all the air from the bag. Place in the freezer.
When it’s time to use it, you can simply thaw it by transferring the freezer bag from the freezer to the refrigerator 12 hours before. Let the pizza warm up for 3 minutes before shaping it.
If you will be using the dough right away, the next step is to shape the pizza. Check out the next section for the various ways on how to shape a pizza.
Shaping the Pizza
Here’s another fun part of our tutorial. Just like making the dough, shaping the pizza is not as easy as we think but you will be surprised to know that there are various ways on how you can do it. These are as follows:
Rolling Pin Method
This method is the easiest of them all, but the dough can sometimes turn out to be too flat when you use this technique.
Step 1. Dust a flat and clean surface with a bit of flour.
Step 2. Take a portion of the dough and roll it into a ball.
Step 3. Place it on the floured surface and flatten it using a rolling pin.
Pro TipCoat the rolling pin with a bit of olive oil to prevent the dough from sticking to it.
Push and Pull Method
This is the most traditional way of manually shaping your pizza. It is not that easy at first, but you can master it after a few tries.
Step 1. Place a ball of dough on the floured surface. Using your hands, press it as flat as possible.
Step 2. Use one hand to press at the center of the dough. Use your other hand to pull the edges of the dough away from its center. Do this gently to prevent tearing the dough apart.
Step 3. Move the pressing and pulling hand accordingly until you have shaped the entire pizza.
You have probably already seen this method in the movies, and you cannot deny this—it is the most fun way to shape a pizza.
Step 1. Use your palm to flatten the dough a bit. Pull the edges.
Step 2. Place the flattened dough on top of your knuckles. Position your hand in a way that it will resemble the shape of an inverted bowl.
Step 3. Spin the dough around. Pull it a little bit more as you do so until you have achieved your desired shape.
Step 4. You can throw it in the air as you spin it around to further stretch it.
Oil Press Technique
This method is quite convenient, but it can be a bit messy. You will need a baking paper to do it too.
Step 1. Place the rolled dough on a baking paper.
Step 2. Put a bit of oil on your fingers then start pressing the ball.
Step 3. Use your fingertips to press the dough, starting from the middle to the edge. Do this until you have achieved your desired shape.
Now, we are ready for the most delicious part of the process—adding toppings to your pizza! But if you have decided to use the frying pan method of cooking pizza, you should skip topping for now. This is because in the frying pan method, you need to cook both sides of the dough first before adding the toppings.
As mentioned above, the pizza toppings are divided into three sections. These are as follows:
There are many commercially available pizza sauces out there, but nothing beats homemade! Lucky for you, we know the perfect (and simple) homemade pizza recipe brought to us by The Kitchn.
For this, you will need the following:
- Freshly ground pepper.
- 32 ounce diced or whole tomatoes.
- 8 garlic cloves, chopped.
- Olive oil.
- 2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar.
Step 1. Place garlic, tomatoes, vinegar, black pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and ½ teaspoon of salt in a blender or food processor. Puree the ingredients for a few minutes.
Pro TipIf you want a thicker sauce, drain the juices from the tomatoes.
Step 2. Add pepper and salt to taste. Blend for a few seconds more.
And you’re done! You can just simply spoon the sauce into the dough and distribute it all over the dough using the back of the spoon. If you have created an amount of sauce that is much more than you need, place it in the refrigerator, and it can last up to a week, or you can freeze it so it can last up to three months.
When it comes to cheese toppings for pizza, there is no doubt that mozzarella is the best of them all. But you can also try other kinds of cheeses.
First, you have provolone which has a creamy texture and a mild sweet flavor.
Second, you have smoked gouda which gives off a strong smoky taste and is perfect with bacon, roasted veggies and caramelized onions.
Third, you have the blue cheese which is perfect for with arugula and cherry tomatoes.
Lastly, you can use different kinds of cream cheese which can be infused with herbs.
And of course, we have the rest of the toppings which usually consist of a mix of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and meats. While there are plenty of pizza toppings that you can choose from, there are already what we call tried and tested pizza topping combinations. Want to know what these are? Take a look below:
|Meat Lovers||Pepperoni, bacon, Italian sausage, salami|
|Bacon Cheese Burger||Smoked bacon, caramelized onions, tomato, shredded lettuce, pickle slices and ground beef|
|Margherita||Plum tomatoes and basil leaves|
|Hawaiian||Ham and pineapple|
|BBQ Chicken||Chicken strips, barbecue sauce, bell pepper, caramelized onions|
|Seafood Pizza||Shrimp, oyster, olives, bell pepper|
|Capricciosa||Artichoke, Italian ham, mushroom, basil leaves|
|Vegetarian||Mushroom, bell pepper, onion, olives, tomatoes and mushroom|
These are just some of the favorite pizza topping combinations, but you are free to try out any combination you want!
When it comes to pizzas, the go-to method of cooking would be baking. But did you know that there are plenty of other ways—in the pan, on an outdoor grill, in a slow cooker and many more. Well, we will get to that one by one in this section.
Baking in an oven
There are three ways on how you can bake a pizza in the oven. You can place it in a sheet pan or on a metal or stone surface.
Step 1. Preheat the oven to its highest temperature for a full hour before you cook your pizza.
Step 2. Place the pizza in the oven.
If you are using a pizza steel or stone, place it on the middle rack of the oven then preheat it. Add toppings on the pizza as you wait for the oven to heat up. Once the oven is warm enough and if you are done topping the pizza, place it on the pizza peel and gently slide it to the steel or stone.
If you are using a sheet pan, lightly oil it and stretch the dough to fit the shape of the pan then add the toppings.
Step 3. Bake the pie for 4 to 8 minutes or until the crust has turn golden brown.
Pro TipAdd the toppings as soon as possible before you put the pizza in the oven, so the dough will not get soggy.
Pan-Frying on the Stovetop
If you do not have an oven at home, you can opt for the next best and simplest method—pan frying.
Step 1. Place a skillet over medium-high heat. Add a bit of olive oil into it.
Step 2. Press the dough into the pan, creating a circle that is smaller than the pan.
Step 3. Once the oil starts to simmer, place dough into the pan and adjust the heat accordingly.
Step 4. Cook the dough for a minute. Flip it over and add toppings.
- Use the tines of the fork to prick the dough and to ensure even cooking.
- You can cover the pan to melt the cheese, or you can run the cheese under the broiler before adding it to the cooked dough.
Cooking pizza on a grill involves lots of flipping. Because of this, it is recommended that you opt for a dough recipe that is sturdier than usual so that it can withstand possible ripping.
Step 1. Prepare the fire.
Step 2. Slide the dough from the peel onto the grill.
Pro TipIf your grill grate is not that clean, you can oil it.
Step 3. Using tongs, lift the dough to check the doneness of the dough.
Step 4. If it is already browned enough, flip the dough over using a tong.
Step 5. Brush the dough with olive oil and add the toppings.
Step 6. Cover the grill with the lid to allow the cheese to melt.
Making Pizza in a Slow Cooker
You may not know this, but you can create the crunchiest and crispiest pizza crust ever using a slow cooker.
Step 1. Spray the crock insert with any cooking oil of your choice.
Step 2. Spread the sauce and add the toppings.
Step 3. Cook the pizza on low setting for 2 hours.
Step 4. Remove from crockpot afterwards and serve hot.
Pro TipFor easier removal of the pizza from the crockpot, create 2 heavy duty foil handles. It should be long enough to hang out of the cooker. It must also be wider than 5 inches. Arrange it in a crisscross position in the slow cooker before placing your dough.
There you have it, boys and girls—some of the best ways on how to cook our beloved comfort food.
Using Leftover Pizza Dough
If you are done cooking your pizza, and you have a few leftover dough, what should you do with it? Should you throw it out? While we know that the pizza dough is not the tastiest food item in the world, throwing it out will be a complete waste of good food, won’t you agree? Well, lucky for you, you can keep it, and you can turn it into more interesting dishes.
Below are some of the ways on how you can use leftover pizza dough:
Turn it into crackers.
If you have little scraps of dough, try to roll them out until they are super thin then dock it using a fork. Brush the top with a bit of olive oil, sprinkle salt on it then bake it at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Let them cool down before breaking them into bite sizes.
Use it as a pie crust.
Place the dough in a pie plate, spread caramel sauce over it and top off with thin slices of caramelized apples. Bake until it is golden brown and place a scoop of vanilla on top.
Make some dinner rolls.
Roll the dough into balls. Place it in a lightly oiled baking dish and set it aside for 40 minutes. Lightly brush olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt on top. Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.
Transform it into a pita bread.
Since there is no much difference between how a pizza dough and pita bread are made, you can easily substitute them for one another. Just make sure that you cook the dough over a really hot pan to make it feel more like a pita.
Since calzone is pretty much a double crusted pizza, you can quickly make a calzone out of your leftover dough. Just simply fold it in half and fill it with the ingredients of your choice. Fold the edges and bake the way you would a pizza.
Bake mini pizza cups.
Using a cookie cutter, cut small circles from the dough. Place them in a mini muffin tray and fill it with your favorite toppings. Bake until golden brown.
Whip them up into cinnamon rolls.
Roll out leftover dough to create a thin rectangular shape. Brush with plenty of melted butter. Sprinkle sugar, walnuts, raisins and cinnamon on top. Roll it up. Slice then bake in a buttered pan.
Correcting Common Problems
But before you think that pizza making is all smooth sailing, you should understand the fact that you will most probably encounter a few problems along the way. Well, we are here to help you out. Below are some of the information that you need to know about how to correct the common pizza problems.
A pizza sticking to your peel is the most common pizza problem that you will encounter. There are two reasons why you would end up with this issue: not enough dusting flour and the use of the wrong type of pizza peel. To avoid this, you should use at least ¼ cup of dusting flour on your dough. In addition to that, you should avoid metal peel and opt for wooden ones instead.
Not precooking some toppings.
Contrary to popular belief, there are certain toppings that should always be precooked. This is because these toppings take a lot longer to cook than the pizza. So what are these toppings? These are the meats (pepperoni, salami, bacon, ham, etc.), root vegetables (potato and squashes), leafy greens (broccoli, kale or Swiss Chard), onions and mushrooms.
Preheating the oven to a temperature that is too low.
There’s a big ongoing debate about whether or not you should preheat your oven before baking pizza. According to experts, you should preheat it at the right temperature. When you preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, you will end up with a limp and soggy crust. To achieve a crust that is crispy on the outside and chewy in the middle, preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, even higher.
Not knowing which flour to use for the pizza dough.
Which flour to use for pizza? This is one of the biggest questions that you have to answer. For this, you would come across two types of flour: flour 0 and flour 00. What is the difference between the two?
The difference lies in the percentage of ash that they contain. Flour 00 has lower ash content while flour 0 has higher. Many people think that flour 00 is the best flour for pizza because of its low ash content. But the truth is, it is not about the ash content—it is about the quality of grain and the quality and amount of protein that it has. So take a look at the nutritional content of the flour when choosing one.
Making a too thin dough.
Yes, there is what we call a super-thin crust, but please bear in mind that there is a limit on how thin a dough should go. When the dough is stretched too thin, it may not be strong enough to accommodate all the sauce, cheese, and toppings that you will put on it. The dough can go as thin as 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Any dimension thinner than that is a no-no.
Keep these tips in mind, and you will not experience any problems making your pizza.
9 Different Kinds of Pizza and Best Recipe for Each
We already know the usual pizza topping combinations, but if you wish to try something new and unique, we are here to help you out. Below are some of the most creative pizza recipes and a few instructions on how you can create them:
1. Neapolitan Pizza
This is known to be the original Italian pizza and is well known for its trademark qualities—thin, crunchy, wood-fired oven baked crust with only minimal toppings like mozzarella, tomato sauce, and basil. For the ultimate Neapolitan pizza recipe, please head to Epicurious.
2. California Style (BBQ Pizza)
The dough of this pizza is very much like Neapolitan or New York-style pizza, but its uniqueness lies in its toppings. Considered to be a gourmet pizza, the California Style is usually topped with chicken, pineapple, barbecue sauce along with other exotic ingredients. Know how to make a clean BBQ chicken pizza by visiting Cleancuisine.com.
3. Chicago Deep Dish Pizza
One look at this and you know that it is an entirely different pizza. This is because it has a deep crust that looks more like a pie crust (only deeper) and features a thick layer of toppings arranged upside down. The cheese, meats, and vegetables are placed on top of the crust, and the sauce is placed on the topmost layer. Discover how to make this unique pizza by heading to Food Network.
4. Sicilian Style Pizza
This pizza features a soft, chewy and pliant crust that is shaped like a square pie. It is also known for its distinct sweetness with crisp aged mozzarella cheese, garlic tomato sauce, and a few herbs. Know everything you need to know how to make this pizza by visiting Serious Eats.
5. Detroit Style
This is similar to Sicilian in the sense that it has a square shape, but it has caramelized crispy edges, a deep dish crust and is sometimes served with the marinara sauce on top. For more information about the recipe, check out The Washington Post.
6. New York Thin Crust
Just like the Neapolitan, his type of pizza has an incredibly crunchy and thin crust with a thin layer of tomato sauce and a thick layer of grated cheese on top. Because of its thinness, it is designed to be folded when eaten. Know how to make a New York Style Pizza in your home by visiting Allrecipes.
7. New Jersey Style (Tomato Pie)
It is called as tomato pie for one prominent, and obvious reason—its tomato sauce is placed on top of the cheese and toppings. Because of this, the sweetness and tartness of the tomatoes shine the most in this pizza. If you want to get the best Tomato Pie Recipe, please visit Simply Recipes.
8. Chicago Thin Crust
This is like the New York style, only crispier! These are also cut into squares and have a spicier sauce and zesty toppings. Get the best Chicago Thin Crust Recipe at Real Deep Dish.
9. New England Greek
Its crust is a crossover of the New York Style and Sicilian pizzas. On top of the thick Greek-style crust, you can usually find the traditional marinara sauce with mozzarella, olives, artichokes, and feta. To get the recipe, please check out Serious Eats.
Reheat Leftover Pizza
After a long day of pizza making and pizza eating, you might have a few leftovers of pizza slices (but if you followed all the tips mentioned above, I highly doubt that there will be!). Maybe you are wondering what you should do with them and how you can make them seem like they are freshly baked when the time comes that you would want to eat them. Well, there are many ways on how you can do that. Here are some of them:
This is the easiest and most convenient method of them all, but sadly, most people end up with a rubbery and soggy crust when they go this route. To avoid that, try to place a paper towel in between the pizza and the plate so it can absorb the extra moisture and grease. After that, lower the heat setting to just 50% and cook the pizza for a full minute.
Pro TipPlace a glass with water along with the pizza in the microwave to prevent it from being soggy.
Via an oven
If you have the time and the equipment and if you will reheat plenty of pizza slices, this is the best route for you. Just simply pop the pizza slice inside the oven and bake the pizza at 350 degrees for 5 minutes and you will end up with a crispy and warm pizza that tastes almost as fresh as day 1.
Via an outdoor grill
If you whipped up a grilled pizza, then the best way to reheat it is via a grill too. Just simply set the grill to medium-high heat and allow it to warm up for a few minutes. Place the pizza slice on the grill grate and cook for 6 minutes or until the cheese turns bubbly.
Via a skillet
For no-fuss and bit of muss, opt for the skillet way. Place the skillet over medium-high heat and allow to heat for a few minutes. Place the pizza slice in the center of the skillet (no oil needed!). Cover the pan and allow to cook for 6 to 8 minutes.
Pro TipUse a glass lid for covering the pan so you can see if the cheese starts to become bubbly already.
Try any of these tips and enjoy your pizza as if it has just been freshly baked!
Did you enjoy our tutorial? We hope you did enjoy it as much as we enjoyed sharing it with you!
There you go—the most comprehensive pizza making guide you can ever get your hands on. Although it may not seem like it, pizza making can be the most complicated cooking technique you can master, especially since there are plenty of mistakes that you can make along the way. But if you will keep all the information provided above in mind, you can be able to overcome such problems, and whip up a perfect, delicious and crunchy pizza that will make you go crazy with delight!
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