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Making a Pizza at Home
Old 10-03-2008, 03:50 AM   #1
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Making a Pizza at Home

This is a spin-off of CFBs comment on another thread.

Anybody got a good Pizza Recipe?

Over 30 years I was overseas in Italy on Joint NATO exercises with our Western European Allies. After a night of carousing and drinking copious amounts of carbonated barley tea with my buddies (we were all about 19 or 20)... I can remember 2 things.

Hearing this song for the first time in the bar.

Then around 1 am... we left the bar and went across the street to a hole in the wall pizza place that had a wood fired pizza oven. From my recollection, the pizza was simple yet fantastic.

Not sure if it is the fond memories of mid-night munchies at 20 years old after a night of drinking and carousing with a bunch of buddies (Military days) or a great pizza. But I am pretty sure it was a great pizza.


Anyone have any experience making pizza at home (in a regular oven) and perfecting it... or does it take a real pizza oven.
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Old 10-03-2008, 04:38 AM   #2
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I have a pretty good book. The 50 best pizzas in the World, including some recipes for California Pizza Kitchen and some famous Chicago Pizza places.

I think bread machine make good pizza dough, although I am not sure it is worth the hassle compared to buying.

The most important thing is the purchase of a Pizza stone not a wood fired pizza oven, but much cheaper.
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Old 10-03-2008, 06:27 AM   #3
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These days you can buy premade pizza dough balls at your local super market,bring them home,flatten them out and put your favorite toppings on,also buy a pizza stone,it goes in your oven and once its hot you cook your pizza on it.I can assure you no matter what you do its never going to taste as good as that pizza you had in Italy when you were young,but you can settle for coming close.
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Old 10-03-2008, 06:51 AM   #4
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I don't think you can get the same results without the intense heat of the wood oven or a professional electric pizza oven.. you really want something that can get up to 600-700 degrees F or more!

A good forum for dough recipes and other ideas is here:
PizzaMaking.com - Pizza Making, Pizza Recipes, and More!

I have heard of some people rigging their electric self-cleaning ovens to be able to cook at the "self-clean" temp. Otherwise do the best you can with quarry tiles or pizza stones.. it will probably come out fine and tasty even if not identical to your memories. [It wasn't just your youth or the night of boozing.. the pizza from Naples is indeed special and recognized all over Italy as the best! We were traveling down south and stopped at one of the fast-food/rest-stops along the highway not too far from Naples and even the pizza there was just phenomenal! Go 50-100 miles east, north, or south, though.. and it goes back to being just ok.]

If you have an outside space, you could also think about constructing your own wood oven, either from scratch or using commercially formed shells:
Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community - The Pizza Oven Installation and Cooking Community
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Old 10-03-2008, 07:28 AM   #5
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I tried the pizza stone thing, with Publix fresh pizza dough. I went back to Digorgos frozen pizza. It was too much work to make it myself - clean up and such. Also, the homemade was higher in calories than the frozen.

Try drinking a couple of glasses of wine before eating the store pizza - eventually it will taste like your earlier memories.
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Old 10-03-2008, 08:43 AM   #6
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I had a pizza stone, and did not like it. I get the best results with a grating style pizza pan (like a screen).

You don't really need a recipe. Put on some spaghetti sauce, and grated cheese, and some olive oil. Add toppings.

One topping that works well is two onions chopped up and caramelized in a frying pan.

Other toppings that have produced good results: sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, artichoke hearts.
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Old 10-03-2008, 09:47 AM   #7
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Try drinking a couple of glasses of wine before eating the store pizza - eventually it will taste like your earlier memories.
funny!
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Old 10-03-2008, 10:03 AM   #8
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I stopped making homemade pizza back in the 1980's. It was really good, and Saturday was "pizza night" at our house.

The advantages were that I knew that the pizza was made of high quality ingredients, and I didn't necessarily know the quality of ingredients used in frozen pizza or pizza from chain pizza joints. Also, my family was nuts about homemade pizza so I got a lot of compliments and we could eat at home.

The disadvantages were that there was a lot of shopping, prepping, cleanup, and leftover ingredients involved, and like Dex said below, after all of that the result was very high in calories! Everybody wanted their favorite toppings piled on, and the calories piled on too.

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Also, the homemade was higher in calories than the frozen.
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Old 10-03-2008, 10:25 AM   #9
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Easiest recipe of all is a boboli with their sauce and your precooked toppings. Precook them because the boboli is already cooked and by the time your toppings cook, the pizza will be burned.

Cheapest is buying the dough somewhere that sells chunks of pizza dough...Winco sells pizza dough in the cold section near the deli meat counter, at least all the ones I've been in do. Couple of bucks for enough dough for a large pizza. BTW, Costco and Sams Club sell their pizza dough and sauce by the case. So if you want to have a cool pizza party at home and have the price turn out right, and you've got 15-25 people coming over this isnt a bad route to go. Cut the dough up into smaller chunks and lay out a "pizza bar" and let everyone make their own. You can get 6-8 small pizzas at a time into a full sized home oven, press the toaster oven and the grill on low into action and you're good to go.

Fast and easy sauce: mix a can of tomato paste with enough water to thin it, a few pinches of italian seasoning and a little extra oregano, little bit of granulated garlic, few pinches of parmesan cheese. Spread it on.

Nice thin slices of mozz, some thin slices of tomato, and a few basil leaves. Bam!

If you want a ridiculous level of detail, this guy spent years trying to reproduce the best pizza he's had from the top pizza joint in NYC. He's analyzed flours, tomatoes and even sawed the safety latch off of his oven door so he can cook his pizzas in the oven on the cleaning cycle at 800 degrees.

Jeff Varasano's NY Pizza Recipe
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Old 10-03-2008, 10:27 AM   #10
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i have a square pizza stone, given as a gift. it does a good job, but my dough was not always fully cooked inside. i tend to make thicker crust pizza. and the stone was a real pain to clean off runoff sauce and cheese.
a light bulb went off one day while at a restaurant supply store - i saw a medium size version of the huge metal flat round pans (unchromed stainless steel?)that all commerical pizza places use.
so now i use the flat pizza pan placed right on top of the pizza stone, left inside while preheated to 400 degrees in a standard gas oven. voila!
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Old 10-03-2008, 10:35 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by cute fuzzy bunny View Post
If you want a ridiculous level of detail, this guy spent years trying to reproduce the best pizza he's had from the top pizza joint in NYC. He's analyzed flours, tomatoes and even sawed the safety latch off of his oven door so he can cook his pizzas in the oven on the cleaning cycle at 800 degrees.

Jeff Varasano's NY Pizza Recipe
bless you for that link.
this is a man i could learn to love. he makes authentic NY pizza.
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Old 10-03-2008, 10:38 AM   #12
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After I looked at all the beautiful pizza photos on his site, I felt compelled to go stick a trader joes pizza into the oven.

Yay! Pizza for breakfast! Good thing Gabe already went to school and momma went to the gym. The travesty will go unnoticed.
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Old 10-03-2008, 10:46 AM   #13
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After I looked at all the beautiful pizza photos on his site, I felt compelled to go stick a trader joes pizza into the oven.
Yay! Pizza for breakfast! Good thing Gabe already went to school and momma went to the gym. The travesty will go unnoticed.
now ya did it! i was wondering what to have for lunch, and lo and behold, i found some leftover sausage/pepperoni pizza lurking in the freezer.
oh, and BTW, did ya find your whump yet?
maybe Gabe would know where is the best place a whump (a G rated whump) would hide...
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Old 10-03-2008, 10:48 AM   #14
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Here's one that sounds odd, but I like it (in part because, like me, it's cheap and easy). Spread cream cheese, canned salmon, chopped red onions, and capers on a pizza shell and bake.

Stay Cheap!
-Jeff Yeager
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Old 10-03-2008, 10:50 AM   #15
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Sounds like a good game. I'll take him outside and ask him to help me find the whump and see how long it takes for him to ask me what a whump is.

I wonder what whump pizza tastes like?
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Old 10-03-2008, 10:51 AM   #16
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Here's one that sounds odd, but I like it (in part because, like me, it's cheap and easy). Spread cream cheese, canned salmon, chopped red onions, and capers on a pizza shell and bake.

Stay Cheap!
-Jeff Yeager
Flat bagel!
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Old 10-03-2008, 11:03 AM   #17
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I have a decent dough recipe that I use. I enjoy making pot pie pizzas... pretty much you put the cheese, sauce and toppings into a ceramic bowl, and drape the dough over the top of the bowl. To serve, flip over, and you get a pot pie type pizza, plus you know the crust is completely cooked since you cook it bottom up.

I also have a couple pizza stones that I use.

Pizza dough is cheap and easy to make...

1-3 cups warm water
a few tablespoons of sugar and a few teaspons of salt
Mix in bowl
Add a package or two of yeast
Let sit 10 mins
Stir
Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil - more for less flake, less for more cake
Add a few tablespoons of italian seasonings of your choice (Ive used everything from dried premix to fresh basil from the garden)
Mix with spoon and add flour in cups until you form a decent dough that is a bit sticky.
Roll out or form with hands into small discs using flour to keep the dough sticking to itself, or press into pan or pizza stone.
Braise the surface with olive oil and sprinkle on more seasonings, salt surface, add sauce, toppings and cheese.

Bake upper 375 to 425 until done to specification (higher temps for more crisp, lower temps for more bread-y-ness).

Use less water for less dough as the end product. I usually start with a cup and a half of water for a very breadlike crust (think deep dish) on a 10inch radius pizza stone, or four pot pie pizza bottoms.

Ive also made more of a focciata (sp?) bread out of it by adding a touch more sugar and covering in cheese and roasted tomatoes. Its pretty flexible... Ive used honey wheat flour for half the flour... Ive cornmealed the surface...

I got pretty good at making cheap bread and pizza dough when we were living below poverty when I was still in school. So Ive played with this basic construct a lot. I mean, oil, flour, water, yeast, sugar and salt... the other stuff was luxtury items...cheap
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Old 10-03-2008, 11:07 AM   #18
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Sounds like a good game. I'll take him outside and ask him to help me find the whump and see how long it takes for him to ask me what a whump is.

I wonder what whump pizza tastes like?
domesticated or wild whump?
there IS a difference
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Old 10-03-2008, 11:08 AM   #19
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Heirloom. So the best of both worlds.

Funny thing is, I can already guess the genesis of this. He'll get a big eyed smile and start looking and after a while he'll ask me what it looks like, and after about ten minutes of evasive answers he'll figure out that I'm having him on and go tell on me to mom.
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Old 10-03-2008, 11:11 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by PsychoticChemist View Post
I have a decent dough recipe that I use. I enjoy making pot pie pizzas... pretty much you put the cheese, sauce and toppings into a ceramic bowl, and drape the dough over the top of the bowl. To serve, flip over, and you get a pot pie type pizza, plus you know the crust is completely cooked since you cook it bottom up.
do you line the bowl first, then toppings, then a top crust?
what shape or depth bowl?
i'm going to try your dough recipe. thanks!
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