How to Make Pizza
How to Make Pizza

I worked in a pizzeria when I was a kid and have made pizzas at home all my life. There's not many I like better than mine frankly, and although time consuming they're pretty easy.

Preheat the oven to 550F. You'll cook at 450F but you don't want the element to come on and this seems to help a bit.

You can buy frozen dough in most markets and this seems to work really really well to be honest, or just buy some from a pizzeria. They're more than happy to sell you dough. Or make it in a breadmaker using any decent recipe you find on the net. Note that the dough must sit for an hour in a warm place after the bread maker says its done or you'll have cracker-pizza. Note also the yeast must be fresh. The package will have instructions for a how to test it. Do not use all purpose flour, it'll seem very un-pizza-crust like, you have to use bread flour.

Sauce can be quite variable. Although you can put a lot of effort into it there is something to be said for just plain crushed tomatoes out of a can. The next step up is to chop 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, saute it till it's aromatic, add a can of crushed tomatoes and can of tomato paste. Add a decent amount of salt and pepper, a T of dried basil. I add 10 drops of oregano oil (medicinal grade - I find it easier and stronger, fresher and cheaper than dried oregano, plus it's way good for you. Adding a bit of rosemary and some pulverized fennel seeds is a hot tip.

I tend to tone it down a bit these days as my kids prefer just plain crushed tomatoes as sauce (which is what the local pizzeria does, and frankly it's surprisingly good). But if it's just for me I'll saute an onion, tons of garlic, a jalapeno all chopped fine then add a can of crushed tomatoes and a can of tomato paste then spice it up. I usually make enough to last about 8 pizzas and keep it in the fridge in a glass bottle.

The lazy mans way is to open a can of crushed tomatoes, add basil and oregano, mix, use.

Roll the dough out. Flour the work surface and get the rolling pin out. Press the dough down with your fingers first, keep turning if over and roll roll roll till it'll fit the pizza pan you have. You really want to be rolling from the middle to the edge, not the whole thins. Speaking of pizza pans...

Pizza pans
A pizza stone is best. I use a giant aluminum thing with lots of holes in it. The least good is the solid metal ones. The stupid pizza pan I have is about an inch bigger than any stove is deep. Apparently older stoves were deeper. I just bent the edges a bit so it fits.

You need to get the right cheese. Regular mozzarella you use in, say, lasagna is high fat low moisture and is white. Pizza cheese is low fat high moisture and cream colored. Around here some No Frills dell Kraft's "Delicioso" brand in 2 kilo chunks for about $22 that makes about 8 pizzas. Grate about a 1.5" chuck, about a pound or so.

The most common mistake is to use too much cheese and not enough sauce. You can do this and it'll work but you end up with a rubbery layer of cheese on top not the nice melding of sauce and cheese. Use a fair bit of sauce and not enough cheese to cover it so you can still see some sauce.

Properly you should finely grate a 1" square piece of parmesan and half that of romano on first.

Assembly One variation at this point if you like things spicy is to very finely chop 4-6 cloves of garlic, one jalapeno and a quarter of an onion and mix them in with the sauce on the dough before you add cheese. Yeah, baby.

Now add 2/3 of the mozzarella evenly.

Now you add ingredients. My kids like plain cheese pizza so I put ingredients on half. First pepperoni, sliced fairly thick and for gods sake read the label. If it says chicken or turkey get some other kind. You don't want to overdo it, space them out so there's like a piece of pepperoni then a space for one. Repeat.

Now the mushrooms - sliced fairly thick but not as thick as the pre sliced ones which do not seem to work well. These shrink a LOT when cooking so you can literally cover the entire surface.

Next come the olives. The cheap ones in jars just don't have enough taste. Get the deli packed giant ones. Don't add to many one every 3" or so is about right.

Next the jalapenos. Some people use bell pepper but I think they're vile. You do need some pepper flavour and 4 jalapenos per extra large pizza, deseeded and sliced very thin is about right. For me.

Now slice a small onion thinly and put pieces of it everywhere.

Now you can put the remaining 1/3 of the grated mozzarella on.

Stick it in the over and turn it down to 450. You do this so the element doesn't come on as much. You CAN cook it at 500, it's better for you (there was an article about this recently but I'm too lazy to look it up). But it's dicey. The crust will get done too quickly and the cheese may not all melt properly. It's worth a try though, the article was pretty compelling. Jus don't cook it at 550. That won't work. Ask me how I know. (Oopsie)

You can't tell if it's done by the top you have to look at the crust. Golden brown is perfect. Brown is overcooked and will be too crunchy. If it's golden brown it should be soft and chewy. You really don't care what the top looks like you're going by the crust. Underdone (slightly) is better than overdone. You want it just on this side of golden brown. ABout 13-15 minutes for a large pizza.

When it's done take it out, shake it off the pan. Invert the holy pan and let it cool on that. You want it very warm but not too hot to eat. Or let it cool on a baking rack or wooden surface or something that lets air get underneath. For the real pizza parlour taste use a pizza box. The cardboard gives off something that does gove it a pizza parlour flavour you don't get otherwise. Dioxin probably...

After a few minutes it's cool enough to cut with a proper pizza cutter or a cleaver. Cutting it with a knife or scissors is messy.

It may take a few practice runs but once you get the hang of it you'd be hard pressed to want pizzeria pizza again. Plus it's stupid cheap by comparison.

How Wolfgang Puck ruined pizza forever

By Daniel Neman - St. Louis Post-Dispatch
January 13, 2015 03:50 PM
Updated January 13, 2015 03:52 PM

    "According to “A Curious History of Food and Drink,” by Ian Crofton, pizza was being eaten in Naples in the 16th century.
    It was sweet – it had a marzipan crust – and it was stuffed with crushed almonds, pine nuts, figs, dates, raisins and cookies.
    It sounds marvelous. But I don’t care if they were eating it in Naples in 1570. It still ain’t pizza to me."


Wolfgang Puck's thai pizza recipe

anti-puck: How Wolfgang Puck ruined pizza forever