Make your own pizza at home!

I thought about it a little bit, but not a lot. A friend of mine that used to work at a pizza place told me that your home oven is just not hot enough. That’s not exactly true. I started to do it only because a different friend of mine did it first. He made it and his pizza to me, tasted like pizza that you would get in an elementary school cafeteria. Well, I thought maybe I could do better. Since we are in a lock-down anyway, I thought I would give it a shot. I’m very glad that I did. It’s very easy and well worth it.

I watched a bunch of YouTube videos and since I have a cast iron pan and no pizza stone, I started with the former. My pizza dough has about 50% hydration.

The dough recipe is as follows:
1 cup bread flour
1 cup water
1/4 teaspoon yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt

I just take a spoon or fork or spatula or chopstick or whatever I have close by and mix it. Mix it until it comes together and you see no more water and you can either knead it or just leave it. Then you let it sit for 2 hours at room temperature or overnight in the refrigerator. If you’re in a hurry, you can proof it in the oven by turning the oven on to the lowest temperature possible (mine is 150F) and then opening the door. Leave the door open for a couple of minutes so that the temperature comes down to under 100F. Then, quickly setting it next to a cup of boiling hot water and shutting the door. (Don’t let the water touch the dough.) When the dough doubles in size, it’s ready to be stretched out and go into the pan. I’ll salt and put some Italian seasoning on the pan just prior to putting the dough into the pan because I want to get some flavor on the bottom of the pizza. If you’re lazy like me, you can just drop the ball into the pan and stretch/flatten it out there. If the dough pulls back too much, just leave it and let it sit for about 5 minutes and try again.

I don’t have any portion sizing for the sauce/toppings. All I can say is don’t put too much. From one of the YouTube videos I watched, the guy says, if it feels like it’s just short, it’s probably perfect.

I’ve used this recipe for my sauce:
8 tomatoes
5-6 basil leaves
garlic salt/pepper
a couple of garlic cloves
a little bit of Parmesan cheese

Then you can basically just cook the sauce out until it’s reduced to very little water. I might’ve put too much Parmesan – the sauce came out orange, but tasted fine. I cooked it along with the mushrooms also so that the mushrooms wouldn’t release too much water into the pizza.

In the picture, I’m using store bought Classico pizza sauce. Just take a spoonful of store bought pizza sauce or the sauce you made and spoon it around the dough on the pan. When you feel like you’re just short, it’s probably enough. Don’t put too much or the dough will stay wet. If you would prefer the dough to be dry, you can put a layer of cheese down on top of the dough first. You might get a wetter pizza though. Then just lay the toppings on. I don’t buy shredded cheese, ever. I’m not a fan of the anti-caking agents that they come with and it also goes bad very quickly. I prefer to buy blocks of my own cheese and grate or slice or cut it myself. In the picture, I’ve sliced my cheese thinly and layered on top and the bottom. I mix mozzarella and parmesan. You can see raw mushrooms in the picture, but I won’t put raw mushrooms on a picture anymore. I’ll just par-cooked if not cooked because mushrooms release too much water. I would recommend cooking any vegetables prior to putting them onto the pizza just to release the water.

When you’re done topping the pizza, fire up the stove onto medium high heat and let it cook for about 5 minutes or so. Then put it into the broiler at low heat for about 5 minutes or until golden brown. I then go and check the bottom of the pizza with the spatula and adjust the heat until I see the desired color. For me, it’s golden brown.

This is what the pizza looked like before baking.
This is what the pizza looked like after baking.

Enjoy your pizza! I’d love any feedback! Questions or comments welcome.