One night after eating another frozen pizza, my husband informed me, “I don’t think we should eat frozen pizza.”
I took that to mean, “I don’t ever want to eat frozen pizza again.” So the next time we were going to eat pizza, I decided I would make it myself.
What he really meant, “We have been eating pizza too much lately.”
Since that miscommunication, I have been making pizza from scratch (except the cheese), and have learned a few dos and don’ts of pizza making that make homemade pizza pretty darn good.
The Equipment: DO consider buying a pizza stone and pizza peel
We have used both the special nonstick, “holey”, metal pizza pans and a pizza stone. The crust crisps up so much better on a stone than in a pan. Plus a pizza stone can be used for crisping the crust of artisan bread that can be made from scratch at home.
DO use plastic wrap instead of a towel to cover dough while rising
The dough recipe I use contains yeast so there is a rise time (my recipe says 30 minutes). Usually with all the other prep I do, my dough sits longer. In that time, I have had the top of the dough start to dry out. With plastic wrap instead of a towel, the moisture stays in the bowl, and then I don’t have dry bits in my crust while rolling out.
The Dough: DO use flour to roll out dough before placing on the peel
I prefer to roll out my dough than to toss it. However, if I rolled my dough on the peel with cornmeal, the meal would just get pushed into the dough causing the dough to stick once all the toppings were on. Now I roll my dough out with a bit of flour before covering my peel with corn meal. This method also helped to reduce the amount of corn meal I had to use to get the pizza off the peel.
The Cheese: DON’T use pre-shredded cheese
I can’t stress this point enough. Just last week I made a pizza just as I normally do, but all I had was packaged shredded mozzarella cheese that I had been using for other recipes. When we sat down to eat the pizza, I was wondering why the pizza tasted off. Turns out it was definitely the cheese, because the next week when I bought a 5 lb block of mozzarella and shredded it, my pizza tasted amazing again!
Fresh shredded cheese is the key.
The Sauce: Up to you
We make our own pizza sauce, usually from our garden tomatoes or canned diced tomatoes, but when I first started making pizza at home I used canned pizza sauce.
A few things we have noted:
- cooking the sauce before putting it on the pizza helped meld the flavor of the spices
- adding some sugar sweetened it just enough
- the canned diced tomatoes are usually too large so you may have to put the chunks in a processor or cut them before putting together your sauce