I never made completely homemade pizza before shooting this episode. I also had never had such delicious, perfect pizza anywhere in tha werld before shooting this episode. Thanks to Brandon of Via 313 pizza, I now can make my own wicked-good pizza at home ANY TIME I WANT TO (provided I have a premonition to make the dough the day before I want pizza).
It’s really much easier than I ever thought. Here are a few guidelines from Brandon, plus some things I figured out in the subsequent days after shooting this episode, days wherein I made and ate pizza for dinner every night.
- Use bread flour and instant (a.k.a. bread machine) yeast when making your pizza crust dough.
- Portion the dough out before letting it rest overnight in the fridge. If you try to refrigerate the whole batch in one bowl, thinking you will portion it after resting, you’ll end up with an overflowing bowl of pizza dough and then when you portion it, you’ll bust up all the air bubbles the yeast has made.
- Preheat your oven to as high as it will go. Mine goes to 550, yours might only go to 500. That will still work.
- Flour the pizza peel (or cardboard square, or rim-less baking sheet) liberally before you dress your piza crust on it. It’s really sad when you make a beautiful piza but didn’t use enough flour and it won’t slide off the peel and into the oven. Coarse cornmeal would probably work, too, in place of flour.
- Use full-fat mozzarella or provolone for the best flavor and grate it yourself if you can. Pre-grated cheese has “non-clumping agents” added to it and I suspect they interfere with the meltiness of the cheese.
- Use a pizza stone or a large cast iron skillet for cooking. Preheat it in the oven. While I suggested in the video that you use the skillet upside-down, when I actually did it myself, I used it right-side-up because the bottom of my skillet is absolutely dirty. I slid it into the skillet, making sure the pizza was slightly smaller than the bottom of the skillet, and it folded over a bit around one edge but it was still delightful.
- Let it cool at least 5 minutes before cutting, and a few more minutes before eating to avoid the dreaded Pizza Burn.
I think that’s all the tips I have. On to the recipes!
- 5¼ cups bread flour (King Arthur brand suggested)
- 2 teaspoons instant (bread machine) yeast
- 2 cups lukewarm water (90-100 degrees F)
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Extra flour and olive oil for kneading and storing
- For the Homemade Pizza Sauce (my recipe):
- 2 pounds Roma tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt
- In the bowl of stand mixer with a bread hook or just a large bowl, combine the yeast and flour.
- Dissolve the salt and sugar in the water, then add the oil.
- Add the water mixture to the machine and turn it to low speed for kneading. (In the absence of a mixer, combine with a large spoon until a workable dough forms.)
- Knead on low speed for about 5 minutes, or by hand, adding a tablespoon of flour or so if necessary to make a soft, smooth, non-sticky dough.
- Divide the dough ball into 4 or 5 equal portions and shape into round balls as shown in the video.
- Coat each ball lightly in oil and store in individual containers in the fridge overnight.
- Remove from the fridge 30 minutes before you plan to shape the pizzas.
- When shaping, sprinkle a countertop with flour and put a dough ball down. Form a crust around the edge, then gently press out the center. Use your knuckles and a gently stretching movement to form the pizza crust.
- Lay on a well-floured pizza peel or cardboard square and dress the pizza.
- Transfer it into a preheated oven (500-600 degrees F) onto a preheated stone or cast iron skillet and bake 5-10 minutes until brown and bubbly.
- Remove and cool on a cutting board for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.
- For the sauce:
- Blanch and peel the tomatoes: Bring a pot of water to boil. Cut a small “X” in the bottom (blossom end) of each tomato and drop in the boiling water. Count to 60 and remove with a slotted spoon into a bowl of ice water for 30 seconds. Remove and peel off the skin with your fingers.
- Dice the peeled tomatoes.
- Saute the garlic in the oil over medium heat for about 30 seconds.
- Add the tomatoes, oregano, and salt.
- Reduce heat and simmer 15-20 minutes.
- Puree or leave the sauce slightly chunky.
For a super-duper-awesome gluten free pizza option, check out SOCCA!
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