How to make great homemade pizza

by Kristen on April 5, 2013 · 94 comments

in Pizza

how to make great homemade pizza

If you’re like me, you’ve made your share of homemade pizzas that were just kind of…meh. Not horrible, but not great. I followed recipes, and I bought a pizza stone, but my pizzas were still just not that awesome.

Then, as so often happens, Cook’s Illustrated came to the rescue.

(And as I so often say, no, they didn’t pay me to say that. I just think they’re totally fantastic.)

It turns out, I was using my pizza stone all wrong. I wasn’t preheating the stone in the oven, I wasn’t turning my oven up high enough, and I wasn’t sliding my pizza onto the hot stone, using a pizza peel.

Plus, I was using the wrong kind of flour in my pizza dough.

Things are much better when you do what Cook’s Illustrated says.

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I’ve been making my pizzas this way for years now, but for some reason, I never got around to posting the method here. We’re going to rectify that today, though.

The essential tools:

Baking Stone/Pizza Peel

Ok. So, to make good pizza, you are going to need a baking stone and a pizza peel (a pizza peel is a paddle-shaped piece of wood that you use to slide the pizza onto the hot stone). A baking sheet or metal pizza pan will not produce the same results, so I highly recommend springing for a real pizza stone.

I got a stone and peel set at Bed, Bath, and Beyond (using one of their 20% off coupons, of course), but Cook’s recommends this Bialetti 4-Piece Pizza Stone Set, which comes with a stone, a peel, a pizza cutter, and a chrome serving rack, all for $30.

Or if you want something bigger and want to buy a pizza peel separately, their favorite was this Old Stone Oven 14-Inch by 16-Inch Baking Stone, which is awesomely large. I can see how the size of that would be quite an advantage, especially if you’re using it to make something that’s not round, like calzones.

Bread Flour

Normally I swear by Gold Medal All-Purpose unbleached flour, but pizza dough is just not the same with that flour (it sends your pizza directly over to the “meh” end of things.)

So, when I’m making pizza, I pay for the King Arthur bread flour. It’s totally worth it.

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Parchment Paper

This will go underneath your pizza and will help it to slide neatly from the pizza peel to the hot baking stone. You can just dust the pizza peel with cornmeal, but that’s not very foolproof and can lead to amoeba-shaped pizzas.

A (very, very) Hot Oven

Pizza bakes up the best in a ridiculously hot oven, so it’s no wonder that my 350° pizzas were sort of lackluster. You’ll need to heat your pizza stone in a 500° F oven for at least 30 minutes before you slide the pizza onto the stone. When you’re used to baking things at 350°, 500° can seem a little scary, but it really does make your pizza better.

Alrighty. Here’s how to make the dough and put together your awesome pizza.

In a measuring cup, combine 1/2 cup of warm water and a package of yeast.

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Meanwhile, in the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 2 cups of flour and 1 1/2 teaspoons of salt.

Then add 1 1/4 cups of warm water to the yeast/water mixture.

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Pour this into the mixer bowl, add the olive oil, and let the mixer run for several minutes.

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Then stir in the rest of the flour, and turn the dough out onto a floured counter to knead it for a minute or two.

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At which point it should look like this.

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Put the dough back into the mixer bowl, cover it with a wet tea towel, and let it rise for an hour.

About 30 minutes before the dough is done rising, put your pizza stone in the oven and turn it to 500°.

Once the dough is done rising, turn it out onto a floured surface and divide it in half. Or you can do like I do and make a big pizza with 2/3 of the dough, and a smaller pizza (or breadsticks) with the other third.

To make a nice round pizza, shape each portion into a neat ball, and let the ball sit on the counter for a few minutes. This will help the gluten relax and will make shaping the pizza a little easier.

Roll the dough out into a round shape (I do a combination of rolling with a rolling pin and pressing with my fingers.) I like to keep the edges a little bit on the thicker end of things, but do as you like.

Place the dough on a piece of parchment paper on your pizza peel and brush the edges of the dough with olive oil.

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Spread tomato sauce over the dough. The amount is sort of up to you, but don’t go crazy with the sauce or your pizza slices will be a little messy.

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Sprinkle the pizza with cheese, and add any other toppings you so desire.

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Open your oven door, and using a bit of a flicking motion, slide the pizza off of the pizza peel and onto the hot stone.

Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until the crust and cheese are nicely browned.

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With the rest of the pizza dough, I often make breadsticks, or I make half into a pizza and half into breadsticks. For breadsticks, I just leave the dough plain, and after it’s baked, I brush it with melted butter, and then sprinkle it with garlic salt and Parmesan cheese.

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So, now there’s nothing standing between you and awesome pizza. Go make some!

Basic Pizza

Printable Basic Pizza recipe

1/2 cup warm water (about 110°)
1 envelope (2 1/4 tsp.) instant yeast
1 1/4 cups water, at room temperature
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
4 cups (22 oz.) bread flour, plus more for dusting
1 1/2 tsp. salt

For pizza:

olive oil
tomato sauce
mozzarella cheese
desired toppings

Combine warm water and yeast in a 2 cup measuring cup. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine 2 cups of bread flour and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt.

Add 1 1/4 cups water to yeast/water mixture, and add to the flour mixture along with the olive oil. Beat on medium speed for 3 minutes, and then stir in a much of the remaining flour as you can. Turn dough out onto floured surface and knead for several minutes. Place dough back in bowl, cover with a wet tea towel, and let rise until doubled, about 1-1 1/2 hours.

Place pizza stone in oven and heat at 500° for at least 30 minutes.

Punch dough down and divide in half. Shape each half into a neat ball, and let rest on the counter for 5 minutes. Roll each half into a pizza round and place on parchment paper. Brush edges of crust with olive oil. Spread tomato sauce over dough, sprinkle with cheese, and add toppings.

Slide pizza peel under parchment paper and transfer pizza to preheated stone, using a flicking motion. Bake for 8-12 minutes, or until crust and cheese are browned.

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Leave a Comment

{ 94 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Francesca April 5, 2013 at 7:04 am

Looks ace…I always make a pizza base with one cup flour, one cup Greek yoghurt. Very quick and easy.

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2 Holly April 5, 2013 at 8:07 am

I love this tutorial! I learned all my pizza making skills from you in previous posts but this is very thorough and I’ve only been using 450 for my oven. For your cheese sticks I highly recommend doing those things you do before it bakes, and adding some shredded cheese also. Tastes just likes Pizza Hut cheese sticks

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3 SandyH April 5, 2013 at 8:15 am

Does the parchment paper stay with the pizza in the oven, or is it just a sliding vehicle, so to speak?

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4 Kristen April 5, 2013 at 9:03 am

Yep, it stays in the oven with the pizza.

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5 Barb April 5, 2013 at 10:43 am

I had the same question, but I love the “sliding vehicle” way of asking!!

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6 SarahD April 5, 2013 at 8:47 am

Cool, but what happens when you need more than one pizza? Use two stones on two oven racks? Any thoughts on this? Baking them one after the other would be kind of a drag. I suppose I should experiment with baking two at once.

One pizza doesn’t cut it at my house. Even two round ones on the Pampered Chef pizza stones haven’t been enough lately. Lectures on portion control have not worked…not when it comes to homemade pizza. :-)

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7 Kristen April 5, 2013 at 9:04 am

Well, because this one bakes in 8-12 minutes, we can make it work. I bake one, put the other one in right away, and I don’t call everyone to come sit down and eat until the first pizza has cooled for a few minutes. So, then the second one is usually out of the oven before we’ve totally devoured the first one.

Pizza day is definitely a time where I wish I had two ovens, though. That would be SO handy.

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8 SarahD April 6, 2013 at 9:45 am

Oh, that’s do-able. Mine usually bake for 20 minutes or so, so 8-12 is a huge time savings.

Thanks!

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9 Jo@simplybeingmum April 5, 2013 at 8:58 am

Looks great! I hand make pizza every Saturday…and now the family don’t like shop bought pizza at all! I did forget yeast two weeks ago. That was interesting. But in true no waste style – we ate it!

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10 Holly April 5, 2013 at 8:28 pm

Hey, unleavened pizza, just in time for passover. ;-)

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11 elizabeth April 5, 2013 at 9:08 am

While this method DOES make truly fantastic pizza, please try your grill sometime. Straight on the grate. On high. For 3 minutes, the flip’n’top, then 3 minutes more. Have your toppings all ready in bowls. You are welcome. We eat pizza 1-2x/week in the summer because we love this method so much.

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12 Melissa April 5, 2013 at 10:25 am

Huh! Pizza on the grill . . . my kids will be SO IMPRESSED! (Thanks for the tip!)

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13 Kristen April 5, 2013 at 11:11 am

Yup, I do that in the summertime. When it’s 98 degrees outside, I just can’t round up any sort of enthusiasm for heating my oven to 500 degrees!

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14 Rachel April 5, 2013 at 9:29 am

This was perfect – I’ve heard most of these tricks before about using a pizza peel and a hot pizza stone, but I’ve never seen them all put in order so it’s so easy to use (and using parchment paper on the end looks sooooo much easier than cornmeal!)

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15 Lili@creativesavv April 5, 2013 at 9:40 am

Looks delicious! Have you ever tried putting your pizza stone 2/3 up in your oven, instead of towards the bottom? America’s Test Kitchen recommended this, as it more closely replicates the salamander-style ovens of most mom and pop pizzerias.

I have my own method that doesn’t require a pizza stone or peel that seems to work for our family. I begin with the pizza on a baking sheet, then a minute or two before it’s completely done baking, I slide the whole thing off the baking sheet and directly onto an oven rack. My family enjoys these pizzas tremendously.

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16 Kristen April 5, 2013 at 11:13 am

I’ll have to try that. Mine is usually in the middle/lower middle part of the oven.

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17 Carole T April 5, 2013 at 9:53 am

Would this feed 6 adults and 2 toddlers- or do I need to double?

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18 Reese April 5, 2013 at 10:58 am

Carole, the recipe is for one pizza. I’d definitely double (or even triple) for 6 adults and 2 toddlers depending on how ravenous you guys are. One pizza would probably work well for 3 people and a toddler :)

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19 Kristen April 5, 2013 at 11:15 am

Actually, the recipe does make two pizzas. But still, I think that probably wouldn’t be quite enough.

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20 Kristen April 5, 2013 at 11:13 am

For six adults, that would seriously depend on how hungry they were! It would be close, and I’d probably double the recipe just to be safe.

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21 Megan April 5, 2013 at 10:17 am

You know what else is awesome? Pizza made in a cast iron skillet… I’m actually surprised I haven’t seen you cook in cast iron :) Here’s my favorite… http://simplyinspiredbymegan.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/cast-iron-pizza/ This crust makes a great taco (or any thin crust) pizza on the baking stone using your method too.

Can I ask what you pay for the UB flour? and where do you get it? It seems way overpriced in the stores here. I just recently started using it, and can tell a difference, and would like to find it cheaper!

Have a great Friday!

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22 WilliamB April 5, 2013 at 10:45 am

In my experience in a variety of stores over the years, for any given brand bread flour is the same price as AP flour. King Arthur flour is more expensivethan Gold Medal or Pillsbury, but has by far the best reputation.

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23 Dawn April 5, 2013 at 2:16 pm

I wish bread flour were the same price as all purpose in our area. Gold Medal, King Arthur, etc.–they are all more expensive when it comes to their bread flour, and the price just continues to rise. I’ve been using unbleached white flour recently to see if it will work as well. So far I haven’t noticed a big difference, but I have increased my kneading time a bit to try to compensate for the lesser amount of gluten.

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24 Dawn April 5, 2013 at 2:20 pm

I should have mentioned–I can get the unbleached flour for the same price as regular all purpose flour here. (That’s brand name flour, the generic, store brand AP flour is cheaper, but I don’t have as good luck with it.)

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25 WilliamB April 6, 2013 at 10:21 am

That’s really too bad. One thing you can do is let the dough rise for longer amount of time, in a cooler place.

Another thought that occurs to me is more work but might do the trick: price compare gluten + AP flour to bread flour. Maybe that cost will be less. Gluten is available as fancy stores, sometimes supermarkets, and online.

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26 Melissa April 5, 2013 at 10:23 am

Yum! I make homemade pizza or calzones weekly for my crew, but I tend to rush the dough and not let it rise (boo). I am going to give your recipe and techniques a shot . . . and ask for a pizza peel and stone for my next birthday.

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27 Wendy April 5, 2013 at 10:38 am

Yum! I have a pizza stone but no peel. I guess I’ll need to get one soon. I usually make French bread pizza. We love those :).

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28 SusieQT April 5, 2013 at 10:42 am

What is the difference between bread flour and regular flour?

I make pizza at home all the time, but I double the recipe and freeze half of the dough (before it rises) to use another time.

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29 WilliamB April 5, 2013 at 10:55 am

Short answer: gluten level. Bread flour has much more gluten than AP does.

Longer answer: gluten is the stuff that allows a flour product to get elastic, rise well, and hold the air bubbles that yeast produces. The more gluten, the more rise you can get from your product. Compare shortbread (very tender dough, no rise, made with very low gluten flour) with country bread (elastic dough, lots of rise, made with high gluten flour).

What defines how much gluten there is in a flour is the protein level. AP flour has roughly 8-9% protein. Bread flour has 11-12%, and King Arthur bread flour has another percentage point or so. (I’m doing this from memory so the numbers might not be exactly correct.) At the other end of the range is cake or pastry flour, which has around 5% protein.

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30 Kristen April 5, 2013 at 11:15 am

What WilliamB said…beat me to it!

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31 meghan April 5, 2013 at 10:49 am

thank you, it looks fantastic! I’ll be trying this method, my homemade pizza fall in the ‘meh’ category ;) One question, do you make your pizza sauce too?

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32 Economies of Kale April 5, 2013 at 10:51 am

I’m gluten free, but a big fan of pizza, so have been experimenting with making my own gluten free bases over the past few months and have found two that have worked well. I haven’t been able to replicate a chewy pizza base yet, but I like the thin and crispy ones better (more space for toppings!).

If anyone is interested, here are my two recipes. First a buckwheat pizza base: http://www.economiesofkale.net/gluten-free-buckwheat-pizza-doug/

And secondly, a socca (chickpea flour) pizza base, cooked in a frying pan: http://www.economiesofkale.net/gluten-free-socca-pizza-base/

The socca one was my preferred recipe, since it is so quick and easy, but currently my frying pan doesn’t fit into my oven, so I’ve gone back to the buckwheat one, which is also good :)

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33 Jen April 5, 2013 at 11:58 am

Thanks, I will check those out!

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34 WilliamB April 5, 2013 at 12:30 pm

Me, too. I have some buckwheat flour I bought on a whim (it was stone ground at an old-fashioned mill) that I’d like to use up.

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35 EcoCatLady April 5, 2013 at 12:36 pm

I haven’t had pizza in many, many years because I’m allergic to yeast. Do you think it would be possible to make a pizza dough using baking powder as the leavener? Anybody have any suggestions?

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36 Lili@creativesavv April 5, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Cat, when my kids were small, one of their favorite things was biscuit dough pizzas. These are just mini pizzas. I’d use those canned biscuits for these. (I know I’m an awful mom for serving such a horrid food product to my children!)

But you can use homemade biscuit dough, too. Obviously not the chewy texture you get with a yeast dough.

Also, you can use flour tortillas for a thin crust. These cook up super fast. A favorite of my son, when he was in high school. He could come home and make himself one of these in 5 minutes.

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37 EcoCatLady April 5, 2013 at 11:20 pm

Thanks Lili,

Maybe I’ll try using my chewy gordita tortillas… or maybe just the dough, and see if it cooks up OK. Oh… the experiments never end!

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38 Amy April 7, 2013 at 10:21 am

You can make pizza with sourdough, too.

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39 WilliamB April 5, 2013 at 12:38 pm

1) Question: I have tried this CI recipe several times and have the same problem each time – the dough springs back when I roll/pat/spread it out. Can you help me figure out why? I’ve tried the recipe with AP flour, bread flour, and a mix of both.

2) Question: again with this recipe, my crust comes out doughy rather than thin/crispish. I preheat the oven & pan a long time, using an upsidedown jelly roll pan since I don’t have a pizza stone.

3) Observation: I like my crust crisp and this recipe doesn’t come out crisp for me. In fact it’s downright floppy on the middle corner. To address this problem I bake the crust by itself for a few minutes, then top it, then finish baking.

4) Observation: a half-baked crust like above, can be frozen for later use. This works well for me because it’s the crust that’s time consuming. If the crust is in the freezer, I can go from 0 to home-made pizza in less than 30 min, including making the sauce from scratch.

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40 Lili@creativesavv April 5, 2013 at 1:43 pm

WilliamB,
America’s Test Kitchen did a show on making pizzeria-style pizza a while back. They said the key to getting your dough to relax, and not spring back, is to allow it to rest in the fridge, overnight, if possible. A friend of mine now runs their family-owned pizzeria, and he tells me this is what they do. They start the day’s pizza dough, the day before.

To get a crisp crust, without the pizza stone, this is what I do. I bake the pizza on a baking sheet until almost done. Then a couple of minutes before it’s finished baking, I use a metal spatula to loosen the pizza from the baking sheet and slide it off onto the bare rack. It browns and crisps nicely on the bottom in about 3-5 minutes. When I take it out of the oven, I put it on a cooling rack for 5 minutes, so it doesn’t get soggy in its “sweat”.

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41 Kristen April 5, 2013 at 1:50 pm

I’m willing to bet that the lack of a pizza stone is holding you back. A jelly roll pan is not going to hold heat like a pizza stone will, just like a thin metal frying pan won’t hold heat like a cast iron pan will, you know?

Pizza stones are not crazy expensive, and I think you’d notice an appreciable difference in the quality of your pizza if you invested in one. I know it’s a bit of a unitasker, but if you make pizza regularly, I really think you should make space in your kitchen for one!

With the dough, have you tried shaping it into a ball and letting it rest before you try to stretch it out? I sometimes let it rest 5 minutes, stretch it partway out, let it rest for another few minutes, and then finish stretching it out.

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42 WilliamB April 6, 2013 at 10:25 am

I do let my dough rest overnight (or, ahem, longer) in the fridge, then rest a bit on the counter before stretching out.

What FG describes is sorta like what I do but you don’t describe your dough as springing back to it’s former, smaller size. Mine does. So I stretch it out, then have to weigh it down with something (rolling pin, water bottle, etc) to keep it from reverting to previous size. After a minute or two I repeat the process. I find it aggravating and a real barrier to making homemade pizza more often.

As for the stone, yes. I think it might be time to break down and get this unitasker. If I keep making pizza despite my troubles with shaping, I guess I’m going to continue to make pizza.

Thanks for the help.

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43 Amy April 7, 2013 at 10:23 am

Don’t do any kneading of the dough before you roll it out. The gluten is too elastic to handle it. When I first started making pizzas, I benefited from adding a little extra water in the dough when mixing – the dough was a little more forgiving.

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44 Leigh Ann April 10, 2013 at 5:25 pm

When I have had the springing back problem the only thing I have found that works is to “throw” the crust. Just like at the real pizza places. Roll out the dough into a circle and throw into the air, punch it with your fist when it is on its’ way down, repeat as necessary. The kids love it!

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45 pansgotkids April 5, 2013 at 12:54 pm

I will have to give this a try. I have attempted homemade pizza twice and both times the crust left something to be desired.

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46 Kristen April 5, 2013 at 1:56 pm

Do you have a pizza stone? A hot pizza stone is SO important.

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47 Kris April 9, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Honestly, I have a metal pizza pan and a pizza stone and I can’t tell any difference between the two. I don’t like working with the heavy, cumbersome pizza stone. (I guess I’m the voice of dissention). I think a hot oven and a good pizza dough recipe (I haven’t tried the one Kristen uses but Lili at creativesavv.blogspot.com has a recipe my family enjoys) are key. Here’s the other thing–everyone likes their pizza a little different–it may take some experimentation to find what you like. Or you may find it’s worth the splurge to by it from your favorite pizzeria. :)

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48 Kendra April 5, 2013 at 1:52 pm

That looks fantastic!

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49 Rachel April 5, 2013 at 2:55 pm

This is helpful! I have a pizza peel, but I mostly use it for bread because my pizza doesn’t transfer well. The parchment paper is a great idea! I am going to switch my flour and give this a try!!!

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50 Mara April 5, 2013 at 4:13 pm

I use cornmeal instead of parchment, less cost/waste. I’ve recently switched from bread flour to AP and can’t tell a difference. As its much cheaper, I’ll stick to it. And it doesn’t require much extra rise time (20 min over 10). I add oregano, thyme, and basil to the crust and that gives it great flavor.

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51 KimN April 5, 2013 at 4:46 pm

I have to second the commenter that said that everything they learned about making homemade pizza they learned from your blog. The only difference is I add 1 tsp each of granulated garlic and italian seasonings to my crust. Its worth it for the smell factor alone. I have to certainly agree that the pizza stone absolutely makes all the difference to great homemade pizza. I will definitely have to try the parchment paper since I’ve had several cheese ooze-overs and now have a smoke issue every time I use my oven. I grow weary of taking the batteries out of the two closest smoke detectors. I went out and bought some KA bread flour to try tonight so I will be interested to see if I notice a difference. I was shocked at how pricy it was ($5 on sale when I can get generic AP flour for about $1.80 here). Do you make your own sauce? If so, do you mind sharing the recipe?

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52 Karen April 5, 2013 at 5:55 pm

Kim, we do something similar to our crust, but brush on melted butter first. KA bread flour is beyond my budget, but if you’re willing to compromise and get enriched bleached bread flour, it’s not so expensive. I bake my own bread, so I use a lot of bread flour. Some Costco stores have 25 lb. bags for about $10. I got a 25 lb. bag from Smart and Final (a restaurant supply/grocery store) for $9. Someday I hope to be able to buy the good stuff, but for now this is all I can afford. Bread flour makes the crust more bread-like and that’s the way we like our homemade pizza.

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53 KimN April 5, 2013 at 8:26 pm

I will have to see if our Costco has the bread flour. I know I used to buy their AP flour all the time but then we canceled our membership for awhile. I did like the way the pizza turned out with the KA bread flour so I think I will take your suggestion and compromise as $5 flour isn’t really in my budget either. I bake my own bread too so it won’t go to waste (I’ve just been using AP flour for that as well).

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54 bjd April 5, 2013 at 4:58 pm

This looks SO delicious! I am not good with dough, I can’t roll it out for some reason. But I think I’m going to try this!! Yum!

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55 bjd April 5, 2013 at 4:59 pm

I pinned this by the way!

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56 Karen April 5, 2013 at 5:47 pm

Since your previous post on pizza making, I’ve been thinking about how to do this method since Pampered Chef says you shouldn’t preheat their stones. I contacted their customer service and they said it could crack from the temperature difference between the food and the stone. However, it seems that many people preheat their Pampered Chef stones and they do fine as long as you don’t get cold water on a hot stone. I got rid of my pizza peel after I found it I wasn’t supposed to preheat, but now I will be shopping for a new one.

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57 Madeline April 5, 2013 at 6:39 pm

I will definitely try this!! Back in the 1970′s my young son was very allergic to dairy. I made all our own pizzas.He was 13 before he realized pizza came with cheese everywhere else, I think! I made it with sauce, barbecue chicken shreds, or (sue me), hot dog slices–we ate hot dogs then,sorry.. of course pepperoni, sausage crumbles, just no cheese.

Now we can all eat a little cheese, and this recipe looks awesome.!!

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58 KimN April 5, 2013 at 8:21 pm

Madeline – That is why I started making my own pizzas too. My son can’t have dairy or soy so cheese of any kind is out. I make his with sauce and frozen chicken nuggets (so don’t feel bad about your hot dogs :) ) This is his favorite meal so its worth it to me to make it.

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59 Deb April 5, 2013 at 7:55 pm

I buy bread flour in 50 lb sacks at Costco, by far the best price and the yeast is SUPER cheap there as well, along with olive oil, cheese, pepperoni, hmmm, I sound like a Costco commercial, but it IS cheaper for those items. ;)

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60 Kiki April 5, 2013 at 8:11 pm

Hi Kristen, Thanks for sharing the recipe! I’ve been worry about baking up to 500 degree F because the direction in my parchment paper {Pergamino brand from Costco} says only safe for oven up to 425 degree F. I wonder if this is only for this particular parchment paper hmmm….

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61 Kristen April 5, 2013 at 8:22 pm

You know, my parchment paper box says 450, I think, but I have never had a problem with using it at 500. I have no idea why it says not to use it at a higher temperature.

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62 WilliamB April 6, 2013 at 10:28 am

A remote chance it’ll flame – flame point of paper is, famously, 451F.

But really it won’t do much if it does burn. There’s not much to burn, since the stuff *under* the crust doesn’t have enough oxygen; burning paper will just make the crust a tad crisper; and an oven makes an excellent firebox – the flames can’t escape.

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63 Shannon April 5, 2013 at 9:16 pm

Kristen, can you freeze half of the dough? For just me and my hubby, we would only need one pizza!

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64 Kristen April 5, 2013 at 9:50 pm

Yes, that should work fine. Freeze one half of it before you let the dough rise, and when you’re ready to use it, just let it come to room temperature, shape it, and bake it.

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65 The Norwegian Girl April 6, 2013 at 6:02 am

oooh, always on the lookout for new pizzacrust recipes, and this looks so incredibly yummy, that I might just have to try it someday!

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66 Randi April 6, 2013 at 3:34 pm

Have you tried their other NY style pizza recipe? Delish. I LOVE the calzones too. You can freeze and then reheat.

I’m making an entire Cooks meal tonight. Baked Ziti( the bomb), focaccia( bomb again) and german choc. cake( extra bombalishis). Have you tried any of those?

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67 sharon April 6, 2013 at 9:08 pm

This is great information! Thanks for posting the recipe. I’m going to try it this week.

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68 Amy April 7, 2013 at 10:26 am

We’ve been making pizzas for years now, and our favorite frugal tip is to hit up the salad bar at the local supermarket for a variety of toppings choices. Everyone can pick out what they want, and you only get what you need – no food waste! You can get cheese there, too, but it’s often not cheaper.

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69 Grammomsblog April 7, 2013 at 1:44 pm

Ah ha!! So THAT’s the secret. Thank you. I’ll be trying this out soon.

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70 Carmine April 7, 2013 at 2:48 pm

Well Done – I have tried a few pizza dough recipes and this was by far the best one. I had gotten a stone for Christmas and had used a few times but like you didn’t really get much success from it. I did exactly as you suggested and it worked great.
My kids favorite(one of their favorite) dishes is my homemade stuffed pizza. I used to use pizza dough I bought from the pizza place. Now I make my own dough with my own sauce. I only need to get arround to making my own mozzarella and then I’ll be all set :) …. Great site and thanks for the tips

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71 Kristen April 7, 2013 at 8:43 pm

SO pleased to hear it. Yay!!!!

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72 Carole T April 8, 2013 at 10:56 am

I made this on Friday and it was awesome. Thanks for the comment about doing on a baking sheet and then doing the last few minutes directly on the rack. My father-in-law had never had homemade pizza and LOVED it. I am sure it is also amazing on a pizza stone, but I recently gave mine to good will (oops!)

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73 Christina April 9, 2013 at 11:54 am

I made this too, the other night , and it was excellant. I’ve been making pizza for years and this was. Very good crust. I’m in between pizza stones right now, any suggestions. I use a cookie sheet and the crust does get nice and brown, but I’d like to go back to a pizza stone.

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74 Dawn April 9, 2013 at 2:50 pm

I’ve never had a pizza stone, and never really known anyone who has used one. For years I just sprayed my baker’s half sheets with oil, sprinkled them with cornmeal, and put the crust in. But my family kept begging me to try to make crust like the Pizza Hut pan pizzas they love. I read online that the key to the “pan pizza” crust is extra oil in the baking pan. I started pouring 2 to 3 tablespoons of oil into them, spreading it all around and then putting the crust in the pan, omitting the cornmeal all together. (If you use 4 to 5 tablespoons, you will get a crust even more like the pan pizzas, but I try to keep the health aspect in mind at least a little bit…) Everyone really likes it this way, but I was just given a pizza stone and can’t wait to try it out after reading this article. We’ll see what the verdict is. Public opinion is very important at my house. All changes in recipes have to pass with a majority vote–(not really, but it does make life easier.)

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75 Sharlyn April 9, 2013 at 5:28 pm

I just made this over the weekend. Used a pizza pan instead of a stone. And baked at 450 instead of 500. Came out great!

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76 Tonya Lawson April 10, 2013 at 6:25 pm

I’ve perused all of the 75 comments above (lol), and I haven’t seen anything on freezing the dough. Have you ever tried freezing it? I homeschool and work full-time, and it would be great to have several batches of frozen dough that I just have to thaw out during the week.

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77 Kristen April 10, 2013 at 8:32 pm

There are some directions in this post for freezing, over at Annie’s Eats: http://www.annies-eats.com/2010/04/29/perfect-homemade-pizza-crust-tips-and-tricks/

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78 Tonya Lawson April 11, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Got them. Printed them. Thanks! :)

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79 sharon April 11, 2013 at 1:29 pm

Kristen,
Do you leave the parchment paper in the oven when it is baking?

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80 sharon April 11, 2013 at 1:31 pm

nevermind, saw the same comment above! :)!

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81 Leah W April 18, 2013 at 10:17 pm

Do you just use plain tomato sauce for the pizza sauce? And do you used pre shredded mozzarella, or do you buy it fresh?

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82 Sue May 29, 2013 at 7:53 pm

Really like your site! I also used Americas Test Kitchen. Which I think is affiliated with Cooks? Either way I use to use both. Cooks has a great recipe for pan seared chicken. On the pizza topic, ATK has a deep dish that is amazing! The trick is a semi boiled grated potato in the dough. Also cooking the dough a bit before topping. Also a tip they give you, that if you don’t actually have a pizza stone, you can use a cookie sheet turned upside down! And they are right. Anyway thanks for the roasted carrot recipe, going to try tonight.

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83 Kristen May 29, 2013 at 8:35 pm

Yep, I’ve made that deep dish pizza a bunch of times-very delicious!

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84 Marianne September 27, 2013 at 12:18 pm

I know this is an old post but I just wanted to say I always use this recipe and follow the directions for cooking it on a stone on high heat. It makes the BEST pizza we have ever had. Last time we made cinnamon bread sticks with half the dough..yum!!

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85 Andrea January 5, 2014 at 1:08 am

Great recipe, although another example of why I need a pizza stone :) I did use a baking sheet and placed straight on baking rack for an extra 5 minutes. Seemed to work pretty well. Thanks for the great pizza recipe.

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86 Beth R January 23, 2014 at 6:49 pm

I have been eyeing this for months now. Finally got the pizza stone you recommended for Christmas. Followed your instructions and it turned out perfect. Thanks again!! I love your blog!!

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87 Kristen January 24, 2014 at 6:00 am

Yay!!! Isn’t it so great to turn out a crispy-crusted pizza at home?

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88 Andrea February 3, 2014 at 3:39 pm

Suggestions for freezing?

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89 Jill March 28, 2014 at 12:16 pm

This is a great tutorial and I am pinning it. In the past, I’d made one large pizza on a T-fal air-bake pan, but I’m ready to get more “real” about our pizzas now :) Our family just did a bake your own night last night, and because I didn’t have the right tools, I used an inverted metal sheet pan to preheat, then used foil to make our pizzas on. The pizzas were good… I used my James Beard crust recipe I’d used in the past, but the foil stuck badly on the bottom. I had to turn each pizza completely over to peel it off! Obviously not what I wanted.
So, I’d already read several reviews about the Old Stone Oven stone and that is what I am ordering on Amazon. My question is, were you able to leave your parchment paper in the oven, at 500 degrees for the entire baking time? I’ve read several other sources that say to remove the parchment after 5 minutes, but that seems like a pain… especially for a family pizza night. If you could answer, that’d be great :) Thanks so much!

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90 Kristen March 28, 2014 at 12:24 pm

Yeah, I’ve left the paper in and it seems to be fine. I mean, it’s pretty brown when all is said and done, but it works fine for me!

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91 Jill April 8, 2014 at 10:20 am

Made pizza over the weekend on my new pizza stone. This is now my go-to recipe for crust. It was SO much better than what I’d been making in the past. And thank you for the feedback. I actually cranked the temp to 550, and I still think the paper would have been fine the whole time, but I wanted to try sliding it out after 5 minutes and it worked beautifully. Slid right out from under the pizza. Thanks for sharing this post!

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92 Kristen April 8, 2014 at 11:22 am

So glad it turned out well!

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93 Linda H. April 10, 2014 at 6:45 pm

What do you do if you don’t have a stand mixer? Can you mix it with a wooden spoon? Thanks!

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94 Kristen April 10, 2014 at 8:47 pm

You can, but you’ll want to knead it a little longer than you would if you made the dough in a stand mixer.

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