making pizza at home

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by thatchairlady, Feb 19, 2012.

  1. thatchairlady

    thatchairlady

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    I probably make home-made pizza about 2-3 times a month.  Sister bought LARGE bag of yeast at Costco and gave me a jar full... it lives in freezer. I'm satisfied with results with on exception.  Thought still totally tasty, the cheese browns and isn't ooey-gooey?  Think highest my home oven goes is 500, maybe 550?  Typically takes about 20 minutes or so in oven that hot.  Someone suggested I put everything on except the cheese for about half of the baking time... then add cheese toward the end.  Have had better cheese results with that method, but it's still not the way I'd like it.  Since REAL pizza oven are MUCH hotter than home ovens... maybe cranking mine to as high as it goes isn't the answer?

    ANy input or suggestions?
     
  2. kaneohegirlinaz

    kaneohegirlinaz

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    IMHO, my pizza has come out great, no matter what oven I’ve used.  I turn the oven up as high as it will go and let it heat up for a minimum of 30 minutes; with a Pizza Stone in there from the start, on the lowest rack.  I use a Pizza peel, assemble my pizza minus the cheese (that includes any extras like mushrooms, meats and the sort), bake it half way (it’s about 5 minutes, until the crust starts to puff), put the cheese on (real quick like) and bake it the rest of the way until GBBAD (golden brown, bubbly and delicious).  Both of our oldest nieces have requested a Pizza Party for their Sweet Sixteen as my gift to them!   

    Sometimes I make Pizza in a pan, but the same way and it still comes out tasty. 

    [​IMG]
     
  3. thatchairlady

    thatchairlady

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    OK... so it's MIDNIGHT and I'm kinda craving PIZZA!!  BEAUTEOUS pie!  I use your method and results are fine... just kinda wish I could have that almost DANGEROUS cheese... the kinda that can burn up the roof of your mouth.

    I make what I call a "garbage" pie... when I have "garbage" in fridge.  A GP is one with ANYTHING I have on hand... except anchovies... onions, peppers, mushrooms, pepperoni, (and any other meats), black olives, etc.
     
  4. iceman

    iceman

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    In all actuality, the most professional pizza ovens that I've worked (and owned) go @ about 500*- 550*. I kinda think those super high temps go for different types of pizzas than you are talking about. 700*+ works nice for cracker-crusts, and in coal-fired or wood-burning stoves. I sorta believe for what you are looking for, 500* is just fine. My guess that your difficulty may be in the cheese. The really good mozzarella in your better pizza places is not the stuff you just find in grocery stores. It's also not the mega-priced stuff you get in specialty stores either. Shop around, looking for the stuff that feels the creamiest and tastes the best to you. If you find something that you like, buy it without any water. You don't need to pay for water. That is of course unless you're buying it in bulk sealed containers. 
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012
  5. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Your problem may be the crust.  You haven't told us what kind of crust you're making.  We prefer very thin crust pizzas at our house so we put all the toppings on and in 10 minutes the crust is cooked and crunchy and the toppings/cheese are perfect.  If you're looking to make a thick crust then you may have to precook your crust before adding any toppings.  Try to avoid pre-grated mozzarrella-like cheeses and go for real mozzarella.  Not the stuff that is packed wet at the specialty shop - go to the fancy cheese section at the supermarket and get the tightly packaged mozz balls.  Those are creamy enough yet dry enough to withstand grating. 
     
  6. kaneohegirlinaz

    kaneohegirlinaz

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    Heh, thanks C-lady! 

    That pie I made was for a cocktail party we had and it was gone in seconds

    in fact, my husband was just saying last night that we should do that again…

    We LOVE pizza!!  I can honestly say that is the one and only thing that my husband will beg me to make!!

    Anywhos,

    I do agree with KK, I was going to ask you what kind of cheese you are using… 

    I buy the brick form of part skim Mozz, Kraft brand, then shred on the “big” holes of my food processor. 

    I seem to recall a Cook’s Illustrated article or America’s Test Kitchen program, one or the other…

    on the topic of best “pizza cheese” and I’m almost certain it was Kraft as the winner. 

    Something about the pre-grated stuff having something coating the cheese, an anit-clumping agent, and that inhibits the melting process.

    Speaking of Mozz.. 

    I saw a TV commercial the other day that Kraft has added Philly Cream Cheese to their pre-shredded Mozz

    OH MAN Mr. BILL, SAY IT ISN'T SO!!!

    My husband WILL NOT eat anything with cream cheese in it!
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012
  7. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Funny, cream cheese is one of my most favorite pizza toppings. I dollop it on along with mozz. Tangy, creamy, delicious.
     
  8. margcata

    margcata Banned

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    Majorcan ( Mallorquin ) Pizza called Coca derives its name from the Latin verb Coquere, which denotes to cook. Shaped in a long oval, and can be made with savoury ingredients, or sweet, is a popular street food in Mallorca, one of the Spanish Balearic Islands, in between Spain and Italy.

    Toppings typical include: bell pepper, Swiss Chard and a variety of cheeses.

    The flour is a Napoli variety.

    We enjoy a homemade pizza for a week night early dinner when we can. Nice change.

    Margcata.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012
  9. maryb

    maryb

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    Invest in a good pizza stone and bake in the lower third of the oven. My stone lives on the bottom most position in my oven.
     
  10. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    I've often thought about doing this.  Does this affect how the oven works otherwise?  How do you clean the stone?  What else do you cook on it?  Sorry for hijacking the thread.
     
  11. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    A pizza stone certainly helps. A 12" cast iron skillet is a workable substitute, but a small pizza.

    Tell us more about your crust, your saucing and cheese.  People often overload a pizza with toppings thinking it will be even better. But no, you need to balance the amount of sauce, cheese and toppings to the thickness and style of crust for a good pizza. Restraint rewards the result. 
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2012
  12. colin

    colin

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    Unglazed terra cotta tiles work almost as well as a dedicated pizza stone, and they're cheap!  In my experience most crud just burns off them.  A metal counter scraper does the rest.  I keep four tiles on a low rack, and they're what I bake bread on, as well as pizza and focaccia.  You can even finish a fruit tart on the tile to get the bottom extra crisp.

    I prefer a thin crust for pizza, and sparing amounts of real (fresh!) mozzarella or other cheese, as Koukouvagia suggests, if I use cheese at all.    I use Kaneohegirl's method, maximum temperature and cheese on late.  Try other cheeses, like gorgonzola!  In recent years I've become really minimalist.  For example when the spring onions from the garden are at their peak, I may use very little else.  If I have two or three different tasty fresh things, I'll do different successive pizzas featuring each rather than jamming them all together.  

    I'd be interested to hear more re dough.  My usual is a plain bread dough (water flour yeast salt) with a little olive oil added for extra crispness.  
     
  13. maryb

    maryb

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  14. teamfat

    teamfat

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    You may want to consider a build your own party.  Have a bunch of dough balls sized for 1 - 2 person pizzas, all sorts of toppings prepped and ready to go.  Have the young ladies form their own crusts [ A definite insight into their personality ] choose their toppings and keep an eye on their creation as it cooks and the final sampling of the creations.

    I don't have a pizza stone, but do often use my big cast iron skillet on an upper rack in the oven, which has preheated for longer than you normally would, the pizza just a few inches below the skillet on the rack above.

    mjb.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2012
  15. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    Thanks, I definitely want to get a stone for my oven.
     
  16. madonnadp

    madonnadp

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    Please use good ingredients! Processed cheese has no flavor, it's like cement. Fruity olive oil, fresh mozzarella, unsweetened tomatoes are a must. Good quality unbleached flour and the smallest quantity of yeast are also the secret to a good dough. Cheap flour will not raise properly and will taste like cardboard once it's cooked. Please also use little topping and cook it fast so the crust stay crunchy and light. A Neapolitan pizza cooks in 90 sec. in a professional oven!

    Here is my relatively quick version

    http://madonnadelpiatto.com/2009/09/21/pizza-fatta-in-casa/

    and here is my slow version

    http://madonnadelpiatto.com/2010/09/16/slow-dough-focaccia/

    They do cook in 10 min, but the results are generally satisfactory because of the choice of few good ingredients in modest amounts. Less is more.
     
  17. davehriver

    davehriver

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    I like thin crusts I precook the crust for about 8 min at 450 then add the stuff and cook at 500.  I precook any meats and saute the onions ahead, my wife can't eat onions unless they are fully cooked, they taste better anyway. Pre cooking the pepperoni or sausage make the pizza way less greasy and gives you crunchy pizza and perfect cheese.  I usually use cheap mozzarella, home made ricotta, provolone and pecorino reggiano.
     
  18. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    While I don't discount your method, one of the things I love most about pizza is how easy it is to prepare.  Sauteing items separately beforehand is a lot of work and very fussy.  Of course sausage must be precooked but ham? not really.  I think you're right, I'm just too lazy to do it this way.
     
  19. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    I like my vegies precooked, especially mushrooms and onions.
     
  20. koukouvagia

    koukouvagia

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    I think it's a matter of preference then.  I like a little bit of bite to mushrooms on pizza.  I buy baby bellas, slice them rather thickly and then toss them with olive oil and oregano.  This is key, in order for them to cook nicely on the pizza.  If I toss them on without the olive oil they shrivel and don't have a good texture - the olive oil plumps them up and marinates them.  No salt though!  If you put salt on them then they release all their liquid as they cook and you'll have a soggy mess of a pizza.  I have experimented extensively with this because mushrooms are my favorite topping and have found this method to work well.  I put onion in my sauce, but not on the pizza itself.