Pizza blog #2 Can we call this national make-pizza-at-home week?  That would make me really happy.  Why?  Because pizza at home is so good, so easy, and so so affordable.  But what I want to focus on here is the EASY part.  This is why I really loved Sam Sifton’s NYTimes mag article on pizza (except for that truly shameless plug of Jay McInerny’s new book—are they pals? Really had to stretch even to make sense).  But: Pizza at home IS so easy it got me wanting to make pizza for breakfast: bacon and eggs pizza?  Why not?! 

Pizza blog #1 I loved his stressing the fact that you don’t have to have a stone oven that goes to 800 degrees to make pizza (or even a stone).  When I make pizza for the family, one of the pies goes on a stone but the other goes on a regular baking sheet.  And guess what—it’s just as good!  Want to try a fun method?  Bake it on an inverted cast iron pan! That works great, too!

The basic bread dough ratio, as I’ve said before, as I demo in the promo video for the new book, as I showed on CBS with Harry and Maggie (thanks for linking Bob and for the Plato ref!), as is well known as a baker’s percentage: is in essence this: 5 : 3, flour to water.  Works great for pizza dough as well.

For one decent pie for two, I use 10 ounces flour and 6 ounces water (plus a four-fingered pinch of yeast and a couple four-fingered pinches kosher salt).  I double it if all of us are eating.  Notice the Times recipe, adapted from the lovable curmudgeon Jeff Steingarten.  It uses 3 cups flour to the same amount of water I call for for about 4 CUPS give or take.  That's 25% more water! What does this mean?!  Which is correct?! Oh no!  What should I do?!  Who’s right?!

Pizza blog #3 All it means is that one dough will be a little wetter than the other.  They’ll both be delicious.  Watch Jill on the Times video.  You can see her dough is slack and sticky.  I think that makes it hard to work with, but I know that it will make good pizza crust and will be easier to thin out.  Mine will be easier to work with at first but will need some resting when I roll and stretch it out. I actually think Jill is making it unnecessarily complicated (bread flour? AP flour? both?  Hint: they both work great! Don't not make pizza because you don't have bread dough—10 to 1 you wouldn't be able to tell the difference if you compared the two).  But I love her videos anyways because they’re clever and she’s so damned cute in that tiny kitchen of hers.

Yeast.  Is the amount critical?  No.  Which is why I now measure by sight for easy flat breads like pizza dough.  You just need to recognize that if you only use an eighth of a teaspoon it’s going to take a lot longer to rise than if you used a teaspoon (which is just right for 15 or 20 ounces of flour).

So mix all these ingredients together, add some olive oil for flavor if you’re feeling springtime in the air.  Mix it long enough so that it’s smooth and elastic (it needs to be able to stretch with the gas bubbles the yeast produces).  Let it rise for two or three hours.  And that’s it.  It’s ready to go or to be refrigerated till you need it.  That’s another thing I was glad to see the article note.  You can keep this dough in the fridge for a week.  You can probably freeze it (don’t see why not, though I’ve never tried).  So if you want to make the breakfast pizza for your lover next Sunday, mid-morning, make the dough this week. (Or get up earlier–you can actually do the below recipe from ingredients to table in 2 hours if you push it a little.)

After the yeast has had some time to get moving, roll the dough out.  It will resist you and want to spring back.  It needs to rest in between rolling.  When it’s shaped as you wish, cover it with whatever you wish and bake it in a 450 degree oven.  That’s all there is to it. It's  one of the  easiest dough preparations there is.


One tricky issue: if you’re baking on a stone rather than on a sheet tray you've got to get the pizza onto it.  The pizza will be heavy with ingredients.  I don’t have a peel, so I use a cutting board dusted with flour, cornmeal or semolina and those fine grains act like ball bearings.  If you use a baking sheet this isn't an issue.  Does a baking sheet give you a different crust than the stone?  Yeah, a little bit, but not so much that you shouldn’t make pizza at home because you don’t have a stone, or peel, or a standing mixer.  A bowl, two hands, and an oven work great!

Pizza at home, it’s so good so cheap, and so satisfying.  Bake some this week and post about it!  Honestly, if you've never done it before but like to cook, you'll never want to pay 20 bucks for pizza you can make better at home!

Spring Is In the Air Breakfast Pizza:
Homemade Pizza with Bacon, Egg and Asparagus

This is a recipe for one small pizza to share with your partner on a mid-Sunday morning.  The quickest I’ve done it is in two hours (you can hurry it by doubling the yeast and using warm water in the dough), but you might want to make the dough a day or two before.  Because it’s small—it will give you a ball of dough the size of a softball—it’s quickest just to mix and knead it by hand.  If you want to feed more people, it can be doubled for a large pizza or two small pizzas.

—10 ounces flour (two cups)
—6 ounces water (if it’s warm the yeast will work faster, if it’s really really hot you can kill the yeast)
—Big pinch of yeast (1/2 teaspoon)
—2 big pinches salt (1 teaspoon)
—A drizzle of olive oil for flavor (optional: I don’t know if you can even taste it in small amounts, but you could make an argument that the dough will be more tender if you add it.  Do you want tender pizza dough?)
—3/4 cup grated cheese (I used 1/2 cup mozzarella and 1/4 asiago)
—4 to 6 thick strips of bacon cut into strips or and sautéed till tender but not overcooked
—6 to 8 asparagus spears (2 to 4 inch tender tops only) brushed or tossed with olive oil
—1 or 2 eggs (cracked into separate small bowls or ramekins to make sure you don't break the yolk and for easy application)

1. Well before you want your pizza (at least two hours and up to a week), combine the flour, water, yeast, salt (and olive oil if you’re using it).  Mix and kneed the dough till it’s smooth and elastic, about ten mintues (this is easiest to do by hand because there's so little of it, so if it does happen to be Sunday morning, have your partner read the Modern Love essay in the Times Styles section while you kneed—when he/she is done, so will your dough).

2. Put it in a bowl, cover it and leave it alone for 2 or 3 hours (a finger indentation should not bounce back but nor should the dough be slack with air, but for pizza this isn't really critical). 

3. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. 

4. Re-knead the dough to redistribute the yeast (or remove your dough from the fridge if you’ve done it ahead of time), form it into a ball, then let it rest covered with a towel for 10 or 15 minutes while you get the other ingredients together.   Using a rolling pin, roll it out on a floured board.  You may want to roll it out half way, let it rest, then roll or pull the dough into its final shape.

5. Transfer the dough to a board or peal dusted with flour, semolina, or corn meal or to a baking sheet if using.  Sprinkle with the cheese, distribute the bacon and asparagus.  Put the pizza in the oven (or slide it from the board or peel onto a baking stone) and bake it for about 10 minutes.  Pour an egg into the center or on either side of the pizza and continue baking until the egg white is set and the yolk is still fluid, about 5 or 10 more minutes.

Yeast Update: one commenter asked about yeast and I thought I should address it here. There are several kinds of yeast available. The ones I want to talk about are the dried kind (not the fresh), Active dried yeast and Instant dried yeast. Active dry yeast has a coating of dead yeast that must dissolve for the live yeast to begin feeding.  Often the yeast instructions ask you to dissolve them in warm water (to make sure they work), but I don't do this and my doughs are fine.  Some recipes have you dissolve yeast in sugar water to "proof" them, but you shouldn't need to do this either (unless you've left your jar of yeast out in the hot sun for a week). The instant yeast has a coating of live yeast and so is a little stronger by weight than Active. In my experience, both work equally well and I can't tell the difference so as far as I'm concerned they are interchangeable. Pro bakers I've encountered tend to recommend SAF yeast, a brand; SAF acquired Red Star, and it's now the same yeast, so that's what I buy (in a jar, and I keep it in the freezer).

Share

89 Wonderful responses to “Homemade Pizza”

  • Brooke

    The Dough was so easy to make and easy to work with! I substituted 1 cup of whole wheat flour to make 4 calzones with ground turkey with zucchini, red pepper and sweet onion. I mixed in the pizza sauce with the mixture and topped it with Mozzarella. We cooked them for 15 min on a stone and then let it stand for 5 min before serving. Absolutely delicious!!!

  • Carrie

    luis:

    Your comments have been so helpful!! I was having problems with my toppings burning before the crust was done, so I tried blind baking the crust on the bottom rack of the oven last night and it was perfect. I used the kitchenaid last night but will try the cuisinart next time. I hope you keep posting about your pizza dough experiments from Ratio – I wanted to get this recipe right before I tried a Ratio one but now I’m diving in. And I’m sure I’ll need more advice. LOL

  • luis

    hey guys, I gave the no knead pizza dough a go and it worked out nicelly.
    The flavor… the flavor was from the 12 hrs rest time… it almost sponges and almost sours… and the crust is just nice. Crispy…Crunchy, chewy…dewy…..da da da…..
    Actually it is.
    A big help was to bake it a bit and then when it baked some I was able to slide onto the 450 degree stone and watch the toppings bubble….
    But the proof is in the tasting….and it tasted migthy good….
    Basically with the RATIO as a guide now I am not afraid to scale up and make pizzas.. several pizzas doughs in one session. They freeze well and it is a huge time and labor savings.
    Now when it comes to great icecream… I think the way that’s going to go is mega decadent great icecream and limit 1 LITTLE SCOOP/pilgrim.
    It’s all going to come down to wether I can make the cone or find a vendor that sells them retail.
    ICE-CREAM…. calories? yes! what was I thinkinnnng!!!!!!!!!!

  • Elisa

    I also use parchment paper, building my pizza right on it and putting the whole thing directly on my stone. I’ve lost my source for prepared pizza dough, so I’ve been planning to try making my own. Thanks for the recipe and tips!

  • milo

    I have to agree that the grill is by FAR the best way to cook pizza. And that’s straight on the actual grill metal, no stone needed.

    I also like to use our bread maker to do the pizza dough, it’s fast and reliable.

    My personal fave we’ve made: caramelized onions, soft blue cheese, and peaches. Mindblowing.

  • jules

    love the idea of breakfast pizza – bacon & egg the perfect combo

    I use a terracotta paving tile instead of a pizza stone – a fraction of the price of a stone from a kitchen supply shop

  • luis

    I let my test 5:3 dough rest for close to a day in the fridge and then an undetermined amount of time in a covered bowl on the counter and it made exactly the type of dough I was looking for. crispy, airy, chewy.. very delicious. Dough needs to sit overnight to develop the type of flavor and volume that is right there with anybody’s pizza.
    Also at the end of the baking the bottom was not browned enough and I let it slip from the tin onto the stone. I set the stone at the second position from the bottom of the oven and waited till I read 400deg on the stone.
    To retrieve the pizza I used my trusty bamboo back scratcher…It makes droping the pizza back on the tin a very secure and easy task.

  • Greeting Card Printing

    Oh my that looks absolutely mouthwatering! Now I’m craving for some hot fresh from the oven pizza! Thanks for sharing the recipe, I’m definitely giving that one a try!

  • Jeff Young

    Pizza. Food of the gods. Pizza is, by far, my favorite food. And I love to make it at home.

    Ask my kids whose pizza is their favorite and they will say mine. Not me. I love the pizza at a little hole-in-the-wall down the street.

    But I love to make it! And I make it often. I have learned lots just by doing it. But I am always wanting to learn more and, Ruhlman, you seem to be a great teacher.

    Thanks for this post, and thank you for Ratio.

  • kevin

    You are so right. Pizza is so easy to make and much better than most you can buy. Every Sunday night is pizza night in our household. I will typically make 2-3 pizzas, one pepperoni, one vegetable and one mystery (whatever is left in fridge becomes pizza). I am always looking for things to put on pizza and have not found many things that do not go well on pizza. We have 2 pizza stones in the oven and I will heat up the oven to 500 degrees, which I find works best for the crust. Cook 10-12 minutes. I have also used the grill on occasion, but you have to watch it carefully as not to burn it. The grill taste is tremendous.

    I agree with your use of asparagus. The last couple of weeks I have included it on my vegtable pizza along with red bell pepper, mushroom, olive, zucchini. Cut up and mix with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and you have a great pizza.

    Tip- pre-cook the dough for 3-4 minutes before adding ingredients will give you an extra crisp cust. Just make sure you poke plenty of holes (with a fork) in dough before cooking.

  • luis

    RATIO is awesome… My desktop reference book from now on.
    Had a chance to read through the chapter on Bread. All these questions and concerns about breadmaking including yeast are right there.
    Real insight into doughs, methods and techniques right there for the cook that has run into these issues and can recognize the valuable information…in the chapter. The effect of oil on glutten..all of it is right there. My pizzas turn out pretty good as it is but I want them to be perfect. Ratio’s chapter on bread is outstanding. To make a lot of dough the Kitchen Aid is the machine. To whizz up a cup or two of flour the cuisinart seems easier.
    The way to learn these ratios is to cook each and every dish a few times. Guess I won’t be buying anymore cookbooks for a while folks. Not the holy grail of cooking but certainly the birth place of any great cook.

  • luis

    Also I think using the high frequency Cuisinart processor produces a lighter dough than the slow turning kitchen aid.
    Any thoughts there?

  • Alexis

    We made a breakfast pizza today–http://knotsewcrafty.typepad.com/knot_sew_crafty/2009/04/my-entry-2.html

    Thanks for the idea!

  • luis

    The tip on the instant yeast was SPOT ON. That SAVES valuable time and unnecessary effort. Thank you.
    The tip on letting the dough rest as you shape it and even letting the dough pie a bit of recovery time after you form it allows the yeast to relax and make more air bubbles.
    The tip about using 450 worked very well once I went back to using the tin. I am reversing the ratio of my overall pizza baking to lower time blind baking if I feel I need it and longer time overall baking the pizza. I can see a small benefit to blind baking a few minutes to get the dough started crisping also I might experiment with the idea someone suggested of heating a pan and putting the pizza on it then taking it to the oven. My obsession is to bring the dough and the toppings in at the same time perfectly cooked.

  • melissa

    i freeze my pizza dough– when there is no $$$$ left in the bank til payday, i pull it out, and put whatever is in the fridge on it. yummy. the frozen dough works fine.

  • luis

    Mellissa, I do that too.. when I roll out the heavy kitchen aid out and load it up with bread dough… man. that frozen dough keeps just fine. Finest.
    I agree with someone who said the pans with holes thing… they don’t impress me much either. The thin tin works nicelly.
    I was using a double stone for a while…Back to one stone and trying new things…. the heavy cast iron pan thing (finest carbon steel in my case) is something I will try sometime to brown the dough.. before loading the toppings and babying the whole thing along…. lots of different techniques to try. Basically when I find Publix Italian sausage made fresh and spicy I know I am loaded for bear and in the hunt.

  • Greg

    There must be some collective consciousness thing going on with everyone putting eggs on pizza lately.

    I keep a stack of heavy cardstock paper in the kitchen to help push the pizza off the peel (or whatever you might be using). One warning I would give is to avoid perforated pizza pans because the dough will tend to cook down into the holes and be extremely difficult to get loose. Stones or flat (no holes) cooking pans/sheets/surfaces only.

    Also honey or another sweetener in the dough deepens the color of the crust and adds a nice balance when using spicy toppings. Not too much though or else your crust will burn easily due to caramelization.

  • johnny

    at one italian place i used to cook at, i was in charge of cleaning out the woodfire oven every morning around 7:00, then rekindling it!
    so i would usually make some kind of soft-scrambled egg concoction, some veggies, maybe some homemade caponata and cheeses,, and jam it all into 1/2 size pizza dough to make a calzone. baked it next to the burning applewood to add some ash to the dough, and presto! breakfast calzone.
    seeing your photo and reading your writeup brought back a good and tasty memory! i wish i could eat that right now…

  • Edd T

    I use a cookie sheet pan as my peel and it works great the the stone. Love making little Roti to go with my curry but with out counter space to roll it out pizza is a little bit out of my league.

    Any ideas for sauce other than marinara? tried an alfredo but it just was WAY to watery.

  • mommycook

    Thanks for the rundown on yeast. Just what I needed! My dough is rising as I type, in honor of national make-pizza-at-home week. Margherita pizza for us!

  • luis

    Alex, maybe so but I don’t think this is a good idea.
    I may try sometime… but I love the dough and want to baby it, not incinerate it and the toppings…Come on, Some of my toppings are delicate with delicate strong flavors… why burn them?
    The pizza stone’s best use is to maintain temp in the oven with door opening and closing. So I put the stone on the top of the oven.
    To crisp the bread is a snap in a thin tin you can buy at the Publix or the Target… Use the lowest position over the heating elements at the bottom of the preheated oven.
    Spread some sauce or olive oil over the area of the dough you will place the toppings.
    This keeps that area from looking like the browned bottom of the dough. Then in a say 425 deg oven blind bake the dough for say 10-15 min until you see the dough begin to brown and crisp up.
    Put the toppings and back in the same oven for anywhere between 5 and 10 min depending on how delicate the toppings are (sometimes they are precooked ingredients anyway).
    The end result is a nicely browned and crispy dough and exactly perfectly cooked toppings.
    This is possible all in any conventional oven if you are NOT easily impressed by the Voodoo magic and mistique folks love to spin regarding pizza making.
    I heard somewhere some pizza joint in L.A. imports New York water to make genuine New York pizza…. Come on….so much bullcrap…..!!!
    Listen the yeast I swear die off immediatly once the bread is in the oven to begin with and any bread like risings and bubbles really comes from baking powder…
    This is one reason why I have a bunch of sheduled blind baking tests starting with dough and oven at room temp and slooooowly bring up the oven temp. Get that pizza dough properly cooked and browning off the toppings is a SNAP!. It’s all about the dough….

  • luis

    Atta boy bob’o…I never knew the science behind the oil but oiled the dough a bit anyway. For the conventional oven blindbaking is key I think. The right temp and timing are key and also I use a pinch of baking powder to sort of insure the dough is properly motivated in case the yeast is sleeping on the job. Oh sure yeast puts on a show for you that is unmistakable when is really alive in significant proportions to the stuff they pack in the jar… it bubbles and froths to no end…
    But after the show… I swear some of these yeast sandbag the whole job.
    I am tempted to order “saf gold instant” from King Arthurs”. I refrigerate the yeast but also I read I should freeze it. Soooo many parameters to control it boggles the mind no matter how badly everything comes together it is still DELICIOUS….PIZZA… obtw…the term “PIZZA MIA” PIZZA HUT is using…came directly from a college project I did for a class in web publishing….for all I know the college project is floating around the net somewhere…

  • Edwin

    Add me to the list of parchment paper users. I can’t believe I had to mangle at least a half dozen pies before I finally realized I could use parchment paper. Truly a lightbulb moment (although, it seems, not exactly an original idea!). Works like a charm.

  • Dallas from Bitchin' Lifestyle

    Absolutely fantastic post. You really packed this one full to the brim with helpful tips and info. I’m changing my menu tonight from corn and black olive frittata to pizza with corn and black olives :)

  • John

    Thank you for the post. I used to make pizza about once a week and haven’t for a few years. It was nice to get back into it. I used the parchment paper trick for the first time. Much easier than cornmeal on the peel, especially on a small stone.

    I’m also with the posters using a little bit of oil. The dough’s much easier to work with and blind baking (or baking with the sauce on) will take care of any tenderness.

  • 123

    We use our gas grill for pizza – cooking it on an old lipless cookie sheet to prevent the bottom from getting burnt. The grill gets very, very hot with the lid down.

    One thing that works for us is “slightly” pre-cooking the rolled out dough first – getting it firm top and bottom, then topping it and tossing it back onto the cookie sheet in the grill. This gives a nice crispy crust all over – no soggy spots. At the very end, we slide the pie off the sheet and directly onto the grill grate to get the bottom a tiny bit charred.

    Especially during the summer it is great to not have to heat up the kitchen.

  • mike

    This sounds good– i don’t normally make pizza at home (cant have cheese) but I do make it a lot with kids while a culinary instructor at an overnight camp. The part about not needing to (i say bloom) proof the yeast is a good tip– i always have done so and instructed the kids to– and adding more yeast to speed up the process is another great tip as our classes are not conducive to the whole process as is (2 hours)–thanks for both

    My Question is…
    can i substitute any whole wheat flour- i personally try to limit white flour- the recipe i use calls for roughly 1/3 WW flour
    (summer harvest or K.A. white whole wheat–a much less “grainy” texture and stays in suspension longer and better –think crepes) to the rest white flour–

    thanks for an answer

  • Chris

    Just made pizza last night using Batali’s recipe with a little added white wine. I think an overnight rise is key – makes working with the dough so much easier.

    A pizza stone also makes a world of difference – although I will have to try the parchment trick cause I’m sick of burned cornmeal all over my oven!

  • Bob delGrosso

    I’m not sure if anyone else has pointed this out yet but adding oil to the dough is a great way to enhance pliability without having to ramp up the water content which, as you pointed out, tends to make the dough sticky and hard to handle.

    The oil achieves this by interfering with gluten formation and the absorption of water by starch at low (proofing) temps.

    Of course, dough with oil will be more tender, but this can be compensated for by blind-baking the crust or pushing the baking of the dressed pizza beyond your normal bake time.

  • sbp

    I don’t like the grittiness of a cornmeal dusting on the bottom of my crust, but I’m terrible with the peel. If I do manage the quick jerk to get the dough off in something resembling a circle, all the toppings go flying. I bought a Superpeel — it’s basically a pastry cloth conveyor belt covering the peel. It works great for pizza, but also makes pie dough (especially the very lose dough that using vodka creates) easy to transfer.

  • luis

    A quick stab at a “Golden Ratio” for blindbaking your pizza at conventional oven temperatures is very easy to approximate as it turned out.
    15 min blind bake, 9 or 10 min brown the toppings.
    or 24/15 ~= 15/9. Only other parameter is dialing in the correct oven temperature. I am shooting for 375-425 degree oven..

    so the ratio of the time to prebaking the bread to the time to finish the pizza after we load the toppings might look something like…

    15:9 @~ 375-425 deg

    In any case I am thinking RATIO From now on this is how I cook.

    Also I don’t think there is any magic to baking the bread at 800 deg that I can not achieve at 400 degrees allowing for more baking time.

    Low and slow is usually better. Up to now I usually undercook the crust or overcook the toppings…. But perhaps if I use the same ratio as Rhulman uses for the dough…..at the right temperature…Something incredibly good may happen….

  • luis

    Got two dough balls in the fridge….as I type. So easy. I parked the kitchen aid and ran them in the mini cuisinart… faster.. neater I hate to say.

    I have a neighbor that is easily into her nineties… ran into her and her sister at tha Publix… and she was stoked about having a pizza. Well long story short I promised her I’d make her a pizza. You should see this old ladys eyes when she mentioned the word pizza….and I asked what kind she liked best? She looked at me and said I love ANY kind of pizza. I could see happy in her eyes the love people have for pizza. I mean pizza is very very special to people. Come tomorrow I will knock at her door with a very special pizza for a very special lady… I am only hoping someone opens the door for me…. I know I will probably not see her at the sight of a wonderful sausage and something pizza….but heck… long as she gets a taste of my from scratch pizza… who really cares? Nobody is keeping score….
    Most folks do let you know…how they feel.
    Some of the more daring guys are making pizzas in hot cast iron with full broiler type heat others are using the clean cycle of the oven to incinerate their pizzas ala who cares back in Italy… I am working on blind baking the bread and then adding the toppings and baking again until everything comes together. Do you guys think… there is a “Golden Ratio” bake cycle solution here???…..

    (Time of blind bake plus
    time to bake the toppings) divided by longest time ~equal to the longest time divied by the shortest time????
    Sounds like more work…don’t it Michael?

  • Chris R.

    My wife and I love home-made pizza so much we bought a wood burning oven for our kitchen when we remodeled two years ago. It’s amazing and cooks a small pizza in about three minutes. If we don’t heat it up so high, it also makes the best roast chicken or fish on the planet. For those of you who love good food, it’s a great investment worth considering!

  • Kate in the NW

    Okay, now all the serious discussion here is petering off, I have to say…in that video, which, you are right, is just SO DAMN CUTE (and made me hungry and feel like I have a ridiculously luxurious kitchen – which I don’t, really – to boot): did you watch the credits?
    There’s a credit for “door opening engineer”.

    I can do that.

    I want that job.

    Especially if I get fed.

  • e. nassar

    Pizza IS so easy and a regular in our house. I love the Steingarten dough best, but it does need planning ahead of time and some dexterity and it makes an amazing Neapolitan pizza. For a quick pizza I’ve used anything from a pre-baked “gyro” flat bread to a quick no knead dough to leftover bread dough. All of them work to varying degrees but all are good. One thing for sure: all are better than Pizza Hut and its ilk.

  • Marlies

    Michael, do you ever add some granulated garlic powder to you flour mixture? Makes for tasty dough. So glad you got everybody stirred up for homemade pizza. Couldn’t live without it.

  • Jennifer Hess

    Ours was a version built on a Jim Lahey crust, with sorrel pesto, fresh mozzarella from our local cheesemaker, and thinly sliced baby artichokes. We do deep-dish pizza in an iron skillet often, and have played with grilled pizza over the years, but I suspect our pizza stone is going to get more of a workout in the future!

  • Kim

    You make it sounds so simple and feasible. Thanks! I’ve got to try to make some pizza dough. Though I find when I make ‘yeast’, it tastes more ‘yeasty’ than the bread from stores. why is that?

  • David Wang

    Homemade pizza always brings a smile to my face. The possibilities are endless.
    I’ve been playing around with a Trinity Duck Pizza idea.

    As far as pizza stones, def don’t spend 30-40 bucks on a fancy pants stone. You can purchase unglazed quarry tiles or ceramic tiles from any hardware supply store (ie home depot, lowe’s)

    Material wise: Mexican Satillo tiles work. They’re about a buck a for a 12″ x 12″ x 1/4″ tile. Perfect for personal pizzas.

    Unglazed Terra Cotta i heard was best but i’ve had difficulty finding tiles in this material. Plenty of pot bases though! These usually fall under 15$.

    Clay/Unglazed Ceramics work though i haven’t looked into pricing.

    And someone correct me if i’m wrong on this last one, but i read that slate works too?

  • luis

    Home made pizza is the best. Read up on the links etc… No matter how you make your pizzas.. once the dough forms the ball and pulls from the sides.. the water is done!. Usually you use less water than the actual amount called for. But it always comes out great.
    The low temp home ovens is an issue. I normally blind bake my pizzas anymore to insure the bread is crispy and done as the toppings melt and come together but Don’t burn in the process.
    Santroprieto puts on a show though…

  • Wilma de Soto

    Quite a timely post as we are making fresh pizza dough.

    Yet, I would rather face a loaded sawed-off shotgun than a runny egg yolk of any sort.

    Unfortunately, it’s the “thing”.

    Never liked anything, ‘a caballo’, while growing up.

    So sue me.

    -Wilmita

  • Robert

    Have you read the holy grail of pizza blogs?

    http://www.varasanos.com/PizzaRecipe.htm

    I followed his advice and then added Nancy Silverton’s grape sourdough starter as my flavoring yeast. It has worked out very well. Only problem is that I break pizza stones when cooking at nearly 900F. Next month I am buying a Kiln shelf to fix that.

    Floating an egg on pizza just makes sense. As it does in most situations.

    http://i56.photobucket.com/albums/g165/climbhighak/Food/Pizza/Varasanos%20recipe/DSC04035.jpg

  • Jeff

    I use a pizza stone on the bottom of a gas oven (per Mr. Steingarten’s experiments) which is awkward to get to — tried a version of the parchment technique above but no flour of cornmeal — just put the rolled out dough on the parchment and make the pie. Use a paring knife to roughly cut the parchment to shape, then use a peel or baking sheet to slide onto the stone — leave the parchment under the pizza — it doesn’t seem to make any difference.

    BTW, Donna does a great job w. the pix…

  • Spicehound

    I’m diggin’ the new book. There might be a bread baker in me yet. I’ve always made pizza from scratch. The dough is so much more forgiving than when you make bread. For god sakes man, get down to Dean Supply and buy a couple of peels. I’ve got several without investing more than $25 into all of them. I use wood for building and transferring the pizza and metal for removal.

  • Margot

    I love to make pizza at home and prefer to cook it right on the grill grates (yep, I live in California). It works best when you grill the pizza on medium high, then flip and top.

    If you cook directly on the grill grates then remember to 1) clean and oil the grates, 2) use a bit more oil in the dough and 3) go light on the toppings.

    See how delicious it can be.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/margotneebe/3457714711/

  • allen

    I love pizza, even bad pizza is good pizza. I was making it all the time but could not find a way to make it without making a mess, the flour allways gets everywhere and turns to cement when wet. My favorite key ingredients when I was making it were whole milk danish cheese, and for sauce I like Di Nappoli San Marzono tomatoe puree with a little salt, the same sauce they use at Lombardi’s in New York city. Simple and the best. I just don’t like the mess with the flour.

  • Kate in the NW

    OOh, I agree – pizza dough is so close to my heart!

    My kid’s friends all want to come over when I make pizza, and because of her wheat sensitivity, I have to make it with all sorts of flours – a practice I’d never give up now that I’ve found out how good they are (though I’d love to mix them with wheat flour, just for the texture). Pizza dough is a brilliant canvas for some creative cooking.

    I will sometimes use homemade chicken stock instead of water – it gives the crust a nice, almost buttery flavor. I also sometimes add herbs into the dough, and then bake or grill it with just a brush of oil and some salt.

    The dough makes great calzones and pasties – to eat fresh or freeze (you can also do the breakfast theme – homemade “hot-pockets” are handy when rushing out to soccer games and such).

    A summer favorite is to cook the pizza on the grill. I brush the grill with oil first so it doesn’t stick – grill one side of the dough lightly, flip it, brush it with olive oil, drop some toppings on (fresh baby greens, basil, goat cheese, prosciutto, chantarelles, you name it), a dash of coarse sea salt and black pepper, close the lid for a few moments while you crack open a beer, and you’re good to go.

    Mmmmmm – another one of those incredibly basic, versatile, marvelous things that makes life better. And it’s easy!!!! (Okay, I screwed up a few times – yeast hates me – but I’m better at it now! Well worth enduring the learning curve.)

  • ed

    Great post! I’ve been making pizza for years now and while I agree that homemade pizza even w/out the ‘right’ ingredients, the ‘right’ equipment, and even if you mess up the ratios can be great, the thing is that you can still tweak pizza, and especially the dough, for years. Its been over the last few years that I’ve really developed a crust I really like. The truly amazing thing is how many tastes you can get out of a pretty simple thing. Sadly every now and then I succumb to take out even though most of them aren’t up to the taste of homemade.

  • Wilma de Soto

    Perfect pizza dough recipe.

    Still, I would rather face a loaded sawed-off shotgun than any egg; especially a fried or poached runny egg yolk.

    Could never eat anything “a caballo.”

    Unfortunately, it’s the “thing” now.

    So sue me!

    -Wilmita

  • Chris Huck

    We use ABin5 for pizza once a week and it’s great! one week or two weeks later, it’s always perfect and with just a bit of a chew to it. Easy when pressed/rolled between sheets of parchment, peel off the top to add toppings then slide in to oven. Really love jarred pesto as thin sauce topping then anything handy. Great way to use left overs!

  • Carol Peterman

    We just made pizza two nights ago. It’s our favorite dinner to fix for guests. After honing our pizza making skills for the last 20 years it has become a bit of an obsession. My one tip for homemade pizza is don’t skimp on the heat, push the oven temp up as hot as it will go – the hotter the better. Next time I will try an egg on top, I haven’t done that yet and it looks great.

  • John R. Quinsey

    To make pizza at home, I suggest using a pizza screen. It’s dirt cheap and works well in home ovens. Good kitchen supply stores have them and you can buy them online. You don’t need a peel and you don’t have to spend money heating a pizza stone.

  • Kevin Hennessy

    Love making homemade pizza. I’ve been doing it for years. Monday Night Football tradition. I use 3c AP flour, 1c water. I’ve also done pizza on the grill. Oil the cooking grates, grill the first side well, flip it and either top it on the grill or partially cook it, remove, top, return to grill. It gives it the bottom nice, crispy, charred spots that I like.

  • Motoko

    Ditto what Adam said earlier…your enthusiasm for this made me smile! I lost track of all the exclamation marks…but that’s a good thing. It’s PIZZA! My 3 boys request this on a regular basis, and for convenience sake, i also make extra and freeze for later.

    I’m enjoying my signed copy of Ratios…thanks!

  • Cameron S.

    Delicious. Great post. I also use parchment paper and love home made pizza.

  • Jamie

    I’ll second (or third) the notion of putting a pizza stone on the grill. Before I tried this, I hesitated to make pizza in the summer because it heats up a large part of my house. I’ve found that I get a better crust on the pizza when I use the stone on the grill (compared to the oven), I think may (gas) grill does a better job at heating up the pizza stone. Try it!

  • Adam

    What I love most about these posts related to RATIOS is that your enthusiasm for the subject comes through in buckets … The proverbial kid in a candy store.

    Got my copy of RATIOS and it’s definitely inspiring!

    My thanks to you, Mr Ruhlman.

  • Amy

    Yes to homemade pizza! We’ve been making our own pizza on Friday nights for the past 5 years — bacon and egg (with spinach pesto) is one of our favorites, as is a bacon cheeseburger pizza (bacon, ground beef, sauteed mushrooms & onions, cheddar & mozz).

    You’re right; pizza is one of the easiest and most delicious things to make at home. I make a big batch of dough and freeze the extra balls, then thaw them in the fridge overnight the night before I’m going to use them. Once they’re thawed I take them out of the fridge to come up to room temp before I shape the pizza.

    Just picked up Ratio, Michael, and can’t wait to dig in.

  • Carrie Oliver

    We bought a peel and started using corn meal after I accidentally used waxed paper rather than parchment paper to line the stone (this was to make it easier to get the pizza out of the oven). Wwwhhooooosh! What a fire. Pizza a goner.

    ps We loved our homemade pizzas but then went to Roma over the summer and realized we weren’t close on the crust. Will be fun to try your Ratios.

  • Kathy

    I had so much trouble getting the pizza onto the hot stone, so now we roll it out on a Silpat type surface and slide the entire thing onto the stone. After 4-5 minutes I reach in and slide the pizza off the Silpat onto the stone and finish it off.

    A favorite here is shrimp scampi pizza and clam pizza. I’d love to say we use fresh clams, but most of the time we take a can of minced clams and saute it with garlic and pour in on with spinach and onions…

    OK, you’ve got me. Pizza for dinner tonight!

  • Arundathi

    Fantastic post. We do all pizza at home, too. Our favorite toppings are parmesan, capers and pesto. A breakfast pizza is a great idea! Thanks!

  • Vivian

    Oh I am most definitely up for this. We always have homemade pizza dough on hand as no one in our home can stand take out pizza. I will definitely test the Ratio recipe.

    Like Brandon I would sprinkle corn meal on my stone but it is seasoned so well that I don’t need the parchment. Our favorite is breakfast pizza with crisp proscuitto and soft cooked eggs, but the sky is the limit when it comes to toppings for us. This will definitely be a fun challenge.

  • Natalie Sztern

    First, Jill so cute and perfect – I have a son I’d like to hook her up with assuming she’s still available….
    Second I make pizza all the time too, but my pizza stone is a pain in the ass and too small for my extra large pizzas…Boulangerie au Pain Dore in Montreal sells all their fresh croissant and bakery doughs, including pizza, frozen so that they can be baked at home.
    Now that is a gift.

  • Kristin

    Your timing is great! I mixed up a batch of Peter Reinhart’s napolitana pizza dough last night and am planning to cook up some pie for dinner. I love the idea of the putting the egg on top. Yum!

  • Melissa

    I’ve frozen pizza dough many times, and once thawed it tastes just as good as when it was fresh. Just wrap it tightly in saran wrap. When you want to use it, let it come to room temp and you are good to go.

    Also, I bought a pizza pan from Paderno a couple of years ago. It’s double layered with perforations all through it, and it makes a great pizza crust – very crispy and not doughy at all.

  • mommycook

    Thanks for Ratio – HEAVEN!

    Can you touch on the various formulations of yeast? Active, rapid rise, instant, etc. I have a bread book that calls for the various kinds but doesn’t explain why. When you say “yeast”, are you referring to a particular kind? My guess is that it’s all just yeast, but that the time it takes to do its thing is the difference? Can you substitute one for another as long as you give it time? Love all your books and the blog – thanks!

  • Aubrey

    Homemade pizza is my kids’ most requested birthday dinner (and any other time I can get all 4 of them and SOs in the same place…)! I make sheet pan pizzas – need every corner with this hoarde – making 3 or 4 at a time. I do my dough in batches in the food processor (faster by far), but do most of the kneading by hand, because that’s the fun part. But it’s also just as fun to whip up a couple of personal size ones to surprise the hubby on a Thursday…

  • Grady

    I despise baking, but maybe Ratios will change that. So our homemade pizza trick is using flour tortillas for crust. Simply brush with olive oil before adding toppings and it stays crispy despite weight of a bunch of toppings. And i use the inverted cast iron skillet method and it works like a charm.

  • Dan B.

    Like Brandon, I put my stone on the grill. I’ve used it in the oven plenty of times, of course, but when it’s on the grill, I don’t need to worry about heating my whole kitchen… I can just crank the grill and let it go.

  • Conway Yen

    As a kid, I struggled with making pizza dough for the longest time. Pizza was my arch-nemesis. I could never get it right. I remember forming it into a loaf one time and trying to bake it as bread (because that’s what it is!). The resulting mass was so rock hard, neither my sharpest serrated knife nor my largest aluminum baseball bat could puncture its iron skin. It must have been amusing for the neighbors to watch, as I futilely struggled to beat the tar out of a hunk of deceptively ordinary-looking bread.

    I didn’t attempt making pizza for a long time after that. The problem was my recipe — it was terrible.

    Fortunately, years later, I’ve almost mastered pizza dough (almost, because it can always, obviously, be better). I know what the dough should look like, and (more importantly) I know what the dough should FEEL like (I always knead by hand). I’ve at least gotten to the point where I enter pizza-making contests with my family members and everyone else forfeits when they hear I’m participating. While this is a great compliment, it necessarily means I need to make a TON more pizzas so everyone gets enough pizza to eat.

    I usually use a little bit of whole wheat and honey in my dough, soaked in filtered or bottled water overnight to soften the jagged bits of bran. A long, slow rise in a cool spot or in the fridge allows for better texture and flavor. I allow the dough to warm up (to room temp or warmer, next to an oven) a bit after rising to make it easier to work with, then I dress it with a homemade vodka cream sauce, fresh black pepper, sun dried tomatoes, fresh basil (from my herb garden) chiffonade, mozzarella, lots of freshly grated parm, and sometimes some jack cheese (not too much). Anchovies, split in half length-wise, are great, as long as the saltiness of the fish is spread out into each bite. Various veggies, sauteed in advance and browned a bit, add color, texture, and excellent flavor. Contrary to Michelangelo’s tastes, of Ninja Turtle fame, peanut butter and pickles are not one of my personal favorite combinations, and it is not recommended.

    Additionally, a tomato-based sauce isn’t necessary for a good pizza. One of the best pizzas I’ve ever made was dressed with garlic butter, some tarragon, mozzarella and parmesan cheeses, and pre-baked before adding large chunks of fresh lobster. You can also use mussels, shrimp, and bay scallops. Or try the quail egg and caviar pizza that Michael wrote about in the Making of a Chef. Drink champagne with it.
    Lots of things go great on top of a pizza. Except for PB&P — just trust me on that one.

  • luis

    Preaching to the choir Michael…. your bread dough ratio is “the Golden Ratio”. Wikipedia..Golden Ratio…for grins…

    I elaborated on that…msg 82 on the vanilla sauce thread…
    Thank you for all the great links… be back after I take it all in.

    Also your direction on how dough should rest as you attempt to stretch it is something I hadn’t considered, because the tendency of the dough to misbehave back to a ball shape is one of my small frustrations in the kitchen. I can see the FLAVOR you have put into your pizza….clear from here.

  • dadekian

    I bought a peel years ago on an impulse at a restaurant supply store. I’m very glad to have it. Sure it’s not used that often, but I’m not the most coordinated person and it’s a good tool. Maybe not a multitasker, but good. I also like that it’s kind of a decorative piece in my kitchen as well.

    Wasn’t planning on pizza this week, but I’ll never say no to pizza. National week it is. Thanks for all the tips and ideas.

    Michael, I don’t believe I ever saw any comments from you on the no-knead process. I’ve never tried it, but I was always curious.

  • Megan

    We also use the parchment-paper trick to go from the counter to our stone.

    Gotta make a pizza next week… Meals already planned out for this one. Yum.

  • Richard

    Michael, I can attest to the fact that your pizza dough recipe in Ratio is spot on. It required a bit more flour for me because of the humidity, but that’s to be expected. I made the dough Friday evening, put it in the fridge for 24 hours, and had perfect dough Saturday night. I think the 24-hour rise is critical to ensure that the dough will stretch easily, and not require repeated resting to get it thin. I topped mine with some tomato sauce, provolone, whole milk mozzarella, fresh basil, and pepperoni. Heavenly.

  • Badger

    We make pizza at home fairly often — it’s SO much faster than delivery pizza and you can get as weird as you want with the toppings! Keep preaching the gospel, Ruhlman!

    I do have a peel (bought a cheap peel/stone kit at Bed Bath & Beyond for under $20) but I have used Brandon’s parchment trick and/or a silpat in a pinch. Just stick the whole thing onto the stone — no need to try and dislodge the dough.

  • brandon_w

    Making pizza at home is simple if you want it to be. If you are into making things the best they can be, you can also get really, really into it. There are some pizza forums on the web with really in depth discussions.

    Pizza dough freezes pretty well. Just wrap individual portions in plastic wrap then in a ziploc bag. Let it thaw in the fridge. Then bench proof it before trying to roll it out.

    To get pizzas onto my grill, or stones in the oven, I make my pizzas on top of parchment paper dusted with cornmeal. You can grab the parchment paper with your hands, or tongs, and slide the whole pie out onto a baking sheet when it’s ready to come out off the stone.

    Also my pizza stones are two, $1 untreated patio stones (8″x18″), and they work great.

    Grill setup:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/brandon_w/3430128014/

  • *susan*

    Pizza is already on tonight’s menu. When I make Pain l’Ancienne [Bread Baker's Assistant, Reinhart], I make 2 baguettes and save the rest as small boules to make into pizza. Two of the boules go into the refrigerator to consume within a day or so; four go into the freezer.

    One pizza gets a simple tomato sauce, topped with oil-poached garlic and a combination of home-made hot and sweet Italian sausages. (Of course, the sausage was made using the recipes in Charcuterie.)

    Another pizza will get pesto frozen last Fall using basil from our garden, goat cheese and sun dried tomatoes, with a few pine nuts thrown across the top.

    Now that we are making all of our bread at home, pizza is a natural outgrowth, and my husband could not be happier!