Living in the country means you never get pizza delivered.
We have a few national chain pizza places in the town about 30 minutes from our house. They make pizza that’s decent in a pinch and will satisfy your craving, but it’s nothing great.
The only really good pizza places are about 70 miles from here so, needless to say, we don’t get pizza very often.
We’ve tried frozen and the only one I can even tolerate is the Sam’s Club in-store pizzas but even they are not meant to be actually frozen. Just brought home and baked. It even recommends against freezing on the box.
For years, we tried making pizza at home with varying amounts of success. We’d get the toppings just right but the crust always had problems. Too thick. Too floppy. Too Soggy. We like it fairly thin with a crispy bottom. I like the outer crust to be crispy on the outside but tender and chewy on the inside.
Recently, I have nearly (nearly) perfected our homemade pizza experience. I would still rather someone else do the work but 70 miles for a slice of cheesy heaven just isn’t doable even on a semi-regular basis.
A HOT oven
A pizza stone
Turn your oven to it’s HOTTEST setting. Mine goes to 550 degrees.
Place your pizza stone in the cold oven and let it preheat along with the oven.
While your oven is preheating prep all of your ingredients and roll out your pizza dough. I use a combination of rolling with a rolling pin and hand tossing to reach the desired size and thickness.
When the oven has reached temperature, remove the stone and dust with cornmeal. Immediately place your crust on the pan. The bottom of your crust will begin to cook as you dress your pizza.
Return the pizza to the oven and let it cook.
When your pizza is cooked, remove it from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes before cutting.
Enjoy your delicious pizza!
I think the crust recipe really matters. A mediocre crust will not taste better no matter how you cook the pizza. Find a crust recipe that you like. For us, this is our go to crust recipe that I have tweaked and modified over the years until it finally met our likes.
3 tsp yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
3-4 1/2 cups bread flour
In the bowl of your stand mixer combine the yeast and the warm water. Using the dough hook attachment let these ingredients mix for about 30 seconds or so. Add the oil and salt and continue mixing.
Slowly begin to add the flour, 1/2 cup at a time. You may not need all 4 1/2 cups of flour so pay attention to the dough. You want it to be moist but not sticky.
Coat the dough with a small amount of oil and return it to the mixer bowl. Cover the bowl loosely with a piece of plastic wrap. Allow the dough to rise at least 40 minutes. The longer you let it rise, the more yeasty flavor it will develop.
Gently punch down the dough and divide it into three equal pieces. Each piece will be about 10 ounce. The dough freezes well and can be frozen at this point if you are not going to use all of them.
Roll out your dough and proceed with the method described above.
Your options for toppings are limitless. Our favorite toppings are mild Italian sausage, pepperoni, and caramelized onions. What are your favorite pizza toppings? Share your ideas in the comments below.