I am not the sort of girl who aspires to pizza perfection. I’m not an expert, and I don’t expect to ever re-create my favorite Neapolitan style pizzas at home. I have learned, however, that it’s easy to produce a pizza that’s far superior to anything you can find in a freezer.
The trick is to:
- Find a good crust recipe
- Heat your oven as hot as you possibly can
- Use good toppings, and not too much of them
More often than not, a cold oven means a pasty, doughy, floppy crust. Too many toppings can also make the pizza floppy and unattractive. I’ve been experimenting with a few different topping combinations. My favorite so far is onions, chicken, mozzarella, and bleu cheese, with a good helping of Penzey’s Sandwich Sprinkle (my new favorite spice blend). If you’re hungry for more pizza recipes, check out pizza week at food52, or Slice, one of my favorite blogs for pizza-ogling.
Lazy Weeknight Pizza (heavily paraphrased)
This is not an exact recipe. You’ll need a basic knowledge of bread-making technique.
makes three 12-inch pizzas
4 cups bread flour
1 packet instant (rapid-rise) yeast
3/4 tsp table salt
2 tbsp olive oil
1 3/4 cups warm water
For the dough:
1. Mix together the flour, salt, and yeast.
2. Add the olive oil and water, then stir until the dough starts to come together.
3. Knead in a stand mixer fitted with the bread hook (or by hand) until the dough is smooth, elastic, and tacky but not sticky. If it’s too sticky, add more flour.
4. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap.* Let rise 1-1.5 hours, until doubled in size.
5. Divide the dough into 3 pieces, an form into balls.
6. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes, then shape into pizza.
For the pizza:
1. Put a pizza stone or heavy baking sheet on a middle rack in the oven and preheat to 550F (as hot as it’ll go, essentially).
2. Shape your pizza on some parchment paper. Brush the crust with olive oil. Top with whatever you like.
3. Use another baking sheet or a pizza peel to slide the pizza onto the preheated stone or sheet in the oven. Bake for 13-15 minutes.
*At this point, you can put it in the fridge until the next day if you want. Then, just let it proof for like 30 mins at room temperature. Which is about how long you’ll need to preheat the oven.