Mouthwatering Homemade Pizza
If you’ve never tried to make your own pizza, you are missing out on a potentially serious flavor experience. And if you have tried making your own pizza, then you’ve also experienced the disappointment of soggy crust and bland sauce. So, here are some tips to for both pizza newbies and the more experienced pie makers.
- Make your own crust. Pizza dough is simply a mixture of flour, yeast, oil, and warm water. A bit of sugar or honey feeds the yeast to make a crisper crust. Try this Easy Pizza Crust recipe to get you started. Nix the mixer and knead your dough by hand to get the best texture. Skip the rolling pan too and flip your dough like a pro. Tossing pizza dough takes practice, but the difference in texture is totally worth it. Plus, you can impress friends and strangers alike when you bust out the trick at dinner parties!
- Use pre-made crust, if you must. If you don’t feel comfortable wrangling yeast (or you tend to kill it like I do), grab a ready-made crust. There are mixes, frozen, and flatbreads to choose from. Look for gluten-free mixes from Namaste, Pamela’s, and Bob’s Red Mill in the baking aisle (bonus: these are all gluten-free). You’ll find True Dough, Vicolo, and Udi’s in the freezer. For fresh flavor, try the Rustic Crusts in the ethnic foods section.
- Before you top it, bake it. Par-baked crust is the secret to non-soggy pizza that holds its shape. Pop the dough in the oven on low heat until it just starts to turn golden-brown. You can also par-bake your dough in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
- Less is best when it comes to toppings. Picture this, you’re about to dive into a beautiful slice of pizza. Before you can even take a bite though, there’s an avalanche of cheese and toppings. Go easy on the toppings (especially the cheese). This restraint will yield a more balanced flavor and save you from having to scrape a cheesy blob off your plate.
- Poach your toppings in olive oil. If you are adding fresh veggies to your topping list, slowly roast them in a little bit of olive oil over low heat. They’ll end up with a richer flavor than when they are just tossed on the pizza.
- Use fresh herbs, if you can.
- Stop the sticking. Add a generous amount of cornmeal to your pan before plopping your dough down. The cornmeal creates a barrier between pan and crust, making it not stick.
- Make your own sauce. If you are pressed for time, jarred sauce is plenty tasty. But homemade sauce takes just minutes to make and is so much more flavorful. You can easily make a quick sauce using a small can of tomato paste mixed with one can of water. Add a little olive oil, some fresh herbs (or dried, in a pinch), and some sugar to taste.
- Give it lovin’ (heat) in the oven. Don’t skip pre-heating. A hot oven makes for a crisper crust. You should also bake the pie at the hottest temp your oven will go. At 550°F, a pizza will only take 5-10 minutes to bake, so there’s another bonus to turning up the heat.
- Let it rest. It smells so good and you’re starving. But, wait! Before you slice into that fresh-from-the-oven pie, let it sit for at least five minutes. This break gives it time to cool (no burning the roof of your mouth either – yay!) and allows the toppings to merge better with the crust. Failure to do this step often proves messy, as piping hot cheese and toppings slide from slice to pan, leaving you a naked pizza.
If you liked these tips and want to learn more, take one of our pizza making classes. Check on our Events page to see if there are any on the schedule!