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Old 01-17-2009, 05:06 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Pizza Making

Ive been thinking about making my own pizza for a while. I bought a pizza stone a few weeks ago, and yesterday I finally decided to give it a shot. Anyone else into making their own pizza?
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Old 01-17-2009, 06:34 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Yup, I am! Not as good as a woodfired oven though.

Half cup of warm water mixed with half teaspoon of yeast and a teaspoon of sugar... leave for 10 mins... then mix into flour with a pinch of salt and knead until elastic... cover and leave for an hour to rise... knead again... then roll into pizza. Bake the base for 5 mins, add toppings, bake until cooked! Yum!!
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Old 01-17-2009, 07:06 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Location: San Antonio, TX
First rule - heat is king. Set your oven, with the pizza stone in it, to its highest setting, and let it get hot - a good 30 minutes, at least.

For the dough, I don't have a recipe that I recall off the top of my head. I usually like to let whatever dough I make sit in the fridge over night, because I think the crust ends up easier to work ('relaxed' is the baking term, I think), and has a better flavor. I've also added some plain, unflavored yogurt (replacing a little bit of the water) to give it a nice tang.

Since you put the stone in the oven, you can't construct the pizza on the stone. This means you have to learn to use a pizza peel. This took me forever to get right, and a lot of ruined pizzas. Basically, don't be afraid of corn meal. After you toss/roll out the pizza dough, dump a massive quantity (well, a medium handful is probably fine) of cornmeal on one side, flip it over onto the peel, construct the pizza, and then 'flick' it onto the stone with the flick of the wrist technique that will probably take you several very funny looking pizzas to get right.

Don't use too much sauce. I think everyone, myself included, uses too much sauce at first. Too much, and the cheese/toppings will 'float' on a lake of sauce, and/or will flop right off the pizza when you flick it onto the stone.

Speaking of the sauce - I believe Mario Batalli has a fantastic basic tomato/pizza sauce. Google for his recipe. Add oregeno if you like. Whatever.

Cheese. I love me some mozzarella. I think Trader Joe's has a huge hunk (ie, not a rectangular-shaped brick) of mozzarella that's not too expensive, and really good. Other than that, use whatever you like. I think you'll be much happier using better cheese.

Toppings. I like it simple, like mozzarella, basil, and maybe some mushrooms if I'm feeling funky. But put whatever the hell you want on it. Its your pizza.

As mentioned before, after constructing, flick it onto the stone, and let it cook for 5 minutes or so before checking. If it stuck to the peel, you didn't use enough corn meal and/or your dough was too damp. Just smoodge it onto the stone as best you can without burning yourself, and try again next time.

After 5 minutes or so (maybe less or more depending on your oven), check on the pizza, and if it's done (if it looks done, it's done. If it's smoking, it's burnt), use the peel to take it out, cool it briefly on a wire rack (so the crust stays crisp), transfer to cutting board, cut, and serve.

Last edited by robot_parade; 01-17-2009 at 07:07 PM.. Reason: edit for engrish.
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Old 01-17-2009, 10:01 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I tried making my own sauce by chopping three tomatos and putting them in a blender. It was good but it had a bit of an aftertaste. I think it was from the seeds. Anyone have any methods of making sauce with whole tomatos.
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Old 01-18-2009, 04:29 PM   #5 (permalink)
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We make pizza just about every week.

It's a dead easy and the coolest part is you can put whatever you want on it. We tend to make them on Friday nights and use up all the extra stuff in the fridge before we go shopping on Saturday).

Here's a sauce recipe (from Jamie Oliver):

Ingredients

* Olive oil
* 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
* A bunch of fresh basil, leaves picked and torn
* 3 x 400g tins of good-quality, whole plum tomatoes
* Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Place a large non-stick frying pan on the heat and pour in 4 generous glugs of olive oil. Add the garlic, shake the pan around a bit and, once the garlic begins to colour lightly, add the basil and the tomatoes. Using the back of a wooden spoon, mush and squash the tomatoes as much as you can.

2. Season the sauce with salt and pepper. As soon as it comes to the boil, remove the pan from the heat. Strain the sauce through a coarse sieve into a bowl, using your wooden spoon to push any larger bits of tomato through. Discard the basil and garlic that will be left in the sieve, but make sure you scrape any of the tomatoey goodness off the back of the sieve into the bowl.

3. Pour the sauce back into the pan, bring to the boil, then turn the heat down and simmer for 5 minutes to concentrate the flavours. It will be ready when it's the perfect consistency for spreading on your pizza.

4. Store the sauce in a clean jar in the fridge – it’ll keep for a week or so. Also great to freeze in batches or even in an ice cube tray, so you can defrost exactly the amount you need. But to be honest, it’s so quick to make, you might as well make it on the day you need it.
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Old 01-18-2009, 08:38 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Location: San Antonio, TX
The recipe Charlatan posted sounds about right to me. Here's the one I use, from <a href="http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,1977,FOOD_9936_22502,00.html">Mario Batali</a> - Except that I run it through the blender when it's about done because the chunky tomato effect isn't the best for pizza.

If you don't like the seeds, or think they're contributing to an 'off' flavor, cut the top off each tomato to expose the 'channels' inside, where the seeds are. Then, while holding the 'to over a sieve, run your finger through each of the 'channels' to skoosh out the seeds and the surrounding juice. The sieve should catch the seeds, and you can save the juice in a bowl placed under the sieve.
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Old 01-19-2009, 10:22 AM   #7 (permalink)
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just make sure you make enough to leave some leftovers for some cold pizza the next morning eh?
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Old 01-19-2009, 02:17 PM   #8 (permalink)
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We take a couple shortcuts when making pizza at home. One is to buy sauce. Muir Glen makes a really great canned sauce. While it's certainly not the same as homemade, as far as I'm concerned it's as close as you can get in a commercial product.


We also buy our dough from the hippie food co-op; it's made by a local restaurant.
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Old 01-19-2009, 04:32 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Robot man gave some excellent pizza advice.
Only a couple of things to add: If you use mushrooms, slice them and throw them in a saute pan with a little olive oil and kosher salt. Cook them down a couple of minutes. This will drive off the water and make your pizza crispier.
Second: We put the sauce on last. Just little dollops on top of the pizza. Acts to protect delicate ingredients from burning. You don't have to spread the sauce casue it will do its own thing once in the oven.
And spring for some nice handmade soft mozzarella.
Enjoy!
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Old 01-21-2009, 12:56 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I have always been a big fan of the pizza stone. We use ours not only to make pizza but to bake bread, rolls, cook egg rolls, french fries - the list goes on and on.

One bit of advice about the pizza stone we discover. Once your done using it and have let it cool enough to clean - simply rinse it off with hot tap water and a clean dish rag. You do not want to use soap since the stone will absorb it. Ours is several years old and looks pretty "seasoned" but we don't have to worry about things sticking to it anymore.
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Old 01-21-2009, 02:44 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I'm going to go Marcella on you all and say that pizza needs genuine Italian parmesan cheese. A little mozarella is ok, but it has to be a small amount, and real Italian parmesan from Italy needs to go on top of it. This is a case where Wisconsin & Argentinian knock-offs will not do.

I don't really have a recipe. We use some bread dough from the batch of bread we're doing, and at the height of the tomato season, garden tomatoes and basil (also from the garden). Otherwise, i use Pomi tomatoes-in-a-box. (Organic canned tomatoes have citric acid and/or calcium chloride which make the tomatoes firmer and resistant to becoming a sauce. )

Of course, it's also possible to make a pizza without using tomatoes at all. One of my favourite pizzas is onion, olive, and anchovy pizza. I cook the onions very slowly in olive oil. After they've turned dark yellow, i spread them over the pizza dough. Sometimes i add rosemary. Slap on quelques anchois et olives noire... Mmmm!

p.s. Charlatan's recipe for sauce seems to be good. Let it go for at least 15 minutes at a slow simmer. A glug or two of red wine along with the tomatoes can be good.

Last edited by guyy; 01-21-2009 at 02:49 PM..
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Old 01-23-2009, 04:36 AM   #12 (permalink)
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We make pizza regularly and for years have used Boboli crusts. They come out as good as any pizzaria makes and better than many. Easy, and a real winner. I never imagined that a prefab crust would be so fantastic. And, since the crust is the mainstay of pizza...
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Old 01-23-2009, 09:03 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by guyy View Post
I'm going to go Marcella on you all and say that pizza needs genuine Italian parmesan cheese. A little mozarella is ok, but it has to be a small amount, and real Italian parmesan from Italy needs to go on top of it. This is a case where Wisconsin & Argentinian knock-offs will not do.
Real parmigiano reggiano is easily found at Costco in nice, big hunks.

Recently I had a pizza with Gruyere cheese on it. It was really, really good. It actually made me want to start experimenting with different kinds of cheeses on pizza. If anyone has a recommendation, I'm game to try it.
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Old 01-24-2009, 06:20 AM   #14 (permalink)
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oso --

Gruyere could work. Gruyere goes into gratins, and pizza is kind of like gratin on bread.
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