Nothing that I ever made at home is as well received as when I am making pizza!
Don't deny yourself the great taste of a homemade pizza made with fresh quality ingredients.
It doesn’t matter how round your pizza is or if it’s in a pan, thin, thick, traditional or with exotic ingredients! The pizza was made by you, your family and guests will appreciate it! So make some pizza today!
If you've never made pizza before it can be intimating, what if I mess up? I never did it before? forget it I'll just order out! Trust me, it's worth the time and effort! Making Pizza at home is one of the most rewarding culinary tasks.
All anticipate when the pizza will be ready, take a sneak taste of the cheese and ingredients ,savoring the aroma as it permeates through the kitchen!
For me, it is most rewarding when I see the face of my children when the pizza comes out of the oven! It's a family event where all participate.
I roll out the dough; the kids add their sauce and toppings (of course I have to make sure they don’t go crazy with the sauce and ingredients).
When the pizza is topped, I man the oven baking each one at a time on a preheated oven stone.
I also like pan style, fantastic for a fried crust bottom and a foccacia pizza taste.
Pizza in a pan is a must for those who love the Sicilian Pizza where it it’s simply topped with herbs, tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, and olive oil. This was my Mother, Anna Marie's favorite who loved it also with slivers of onions on top. Making Sicilian Pizza is great for the all day pizza graze! I’ll make a few and just leave them on the counter and we whittle away on them thru the day!
Are you inspired to give it a try? Great!
Next print out the recipes, decide what sauces and toppings you want to try and go shopping! You may want to order online the San Marzano Tomatoes, Parmesan Cheese, Olive Oil, Pizza Stone, pan or Pizza Peel if you can’t find them, as always simply follow the highlighted link to shop.
Now that you have all your ingredients and equipment is time to start!
Following the recipe, make your Italian Pizza Dough in advance, 24 hours is best but you may make it and wait 3 hours for the same day i.e. 9:00 for Lunch and 4:00 for Dinner. If you make it a day ahead you only need to pull it out 1 hour before Making Pizza!
While your Italian Pizza Dough is proofing or coming to room temperature you may pre prepare your Pizza Sauces and Pizza Toppings, again you may do this in advance as well to save time.
I recommend grating your own Whole Milk Mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Commercially pre grated cheeses have an anti caking ingredient added to them which I find affects the melt and browning of the cheese. When growing up I never seenpre grated cheese!
Now you should have all your ingredients in order on the counter and you are ready to start!
Pre-heat your oven from cold with the Pizza stone inside to 550 degrees. If using a Grill Stone follow the manufactures instructions on heating the stone for Making Pizza on the grill. For Sicilian Pizza I reduce the temperature to 400 degrees because Sicilian Pizza is thicker and has more toppings.
For Pizza, Naples style on an oven stone
Prepare 1 cup of flour and 1 cup of semolina for your pizza peel. I use this only to coat the peel and to create a crisper bottom. If you like cornmeal you may use that instead of semolina or simply use flour. Experiment to see what you like! Do not use too much or your crust will have a burnt flour taste.
Stretch out your dough ball
I recommend not getting hung up on if it is perfect. On the posts I have added some videos of the pro's that make it look easy! Remember to use enough regular flour on the table to allow the Italian Pizza Dough to slide and not stick.
Stretch out the edges and leave the center alone the center will take care of itself, you don’t want thick edges and tissue thin centers. Ok, I hear you, yes it is acceptable to use a pastry or rolling pin as well, it all depends on the style look and texture you desire.
Now that your Italian Pizza Dough is stretched or rolled you may want to "dock" the center to prevent bubbles you can do this with a fork by pressing the dough with the points creating little perforations in and around the center. You don’t want to make holes in the dough.
Docking simply seals the top of the dough to the bottom preventing the gases of fermentation from kicking up creating big bubbles. You may also want to buy one of these gadgets to make it easier. To dock or not to dock, that is the question? It’s up to you!
Now place your stretched or rolled pizza dough onto the semolina and flour dusted pizza peel.
Sauce and top with your favorite ingredients
Here are some guidelines
Any wet sauce 2-3 fl oz per 10-12 inch Pizza.
Oregano Pesto or thick spreads should be thinned a bit with olive oil. Because they are fuller flavored I would start with 1 1/2 fl oz or to your taste.
Fresh Mozzarella is wet so use less than you would normally use classic Pizza Marguerite recommends 2 1/2 oz. For regular Mozzarella I like 3 oz!
I hear you again, yes you can just add ingredients the way that looks right to you, cook with feeling, imagine the flavors and eat with your eyes ! With toppings you may top to your desired taste! I like to follow a rule of no more than 3 ingredients totaling to 4 oz wt.
Making Pizza (Recipes)
Time to bake your Pizza!
Open the oven door, bring your Pizza which is on the peel over to the oven and place the top edge of the peel to the back of the heated Pizza stone. Your Pizza should slide to touch the stone and with a quick forward then back flick of the wrist slide the Pizza onto the stone. If you mess up and the Pizza is not on the stone use a spatula to move it over. Of just let it go and try again with the next Pizza.
Set the timer for 3 minutes, when the time is up peak at the bottom of your Pizza; if the crust is not golden brown leave it in for a minute or so. If the bottom is brown and the toppings are not golden or bubbly hot you may have went overboard on the amount on toppings. No problem it will still taste good! Below is a quick video I found that will show you what it look like when baking.
Remove the Pizza by sliding the peel under the Pizza; you may have to coax it onto the peel with a fork or a tongs. Be care full not to push the Pizza back slamming it to the back of the oven. Trust me, it’s a real mess!
Place your Pizza on a platter or cutting board and allow the ingredients to set up a bit and then cut with your cutting wheel. Some Pizzerias like to serve the cut pizza on a rack keeping the pizza crisp. (Memories of the Fox Hole Pizza in McHenry, IL)
For Sicilian Pizza
Pre heat your oven to 400 degrees
Place 1 oz of good olive oil on the bottom of your 10x15 pan. Use 8 oz of Italian Pizza Dough that has rested for an hour or has been proofed for 3 hours. Flour your surface and roll out your dough creating a rectangle. Place the rolled out Pizza dough in the oiled pan. You may also bang the dough by hand and then finish stretching it out in the pan. Remember the more you pull the Pizza dough the more it will fight back so be sure to let it rest after stretching.
Now that your Italian Pizza Dough is in the pan to the edges it is time to add your sauce and toppings using the same guide as above. You may desire more toppings and cheese, I do!
Bake your Sicilian Pizza in your preheated 400 degree oven in the middle rack. Start with 12 minutes, after the timer rings, using a fork lift the crust and take a peek at the bottom it should look golden and fried in appearance; the toppings should be melted and bubbly. If not allow it to remain in the oven.
Remove your Sicilian Pizza from the oven and let it rest on the counter in the pan for a moment and cut in squares while still in the pan.
I hope this becomes of your family tradition as well as a great way to bring friends together for your own Pizza party!