I’ve had my share of bad pizza. Even bad homemade pizza is still better than most chain restaurant pizza in my opinion, but soggy, half-cooked homemade pizza is just . . . well, it’s just unnecessary! You can totally make great homemade pizza, and you don’t even need any special equipment.
I take that back. You do need special equipment. You need parchment paper and a spray bottle. But that’s it!
Today I’m going to share how I make our pizza every Friday night. The techniques have evolved over the past five years, but I’ve finally reached what we consider a really fantastic pizza. Keep in mind that this is what we like, and you might prefer a different type of pizza-like that bready kind, or that cracker-crust kind that I’m so outspoken against;)
Friday Night Pizza
Toppings- I do half pepperoni and sausage (for David), half stuff that I like, such as olives, peppers, red onion, sun dried tomatoes and kale (Our pizza totally represents our food tastes in everything!)
Shredded parmesan cheese
Cornmeal and olive oil
1. If dough has been rising, punch down and let rest (this makes it easier to stretch). Preheat oven to 500 degrees, or as hot as your oven will go. Line pan (I use either an 18 inch round pizza pan or my 11x17 inch cookie sheet) with parchment paper, smear the paper with olive oil and sprinkle with cornmeal.
2. Roll and stretch dough out on prepared pan, pressing as thin or thick as you like. Top with sauce, italian blend cheese and desired toppings. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese**, then lightly dust with oregano.***
3. Slide pizza (AND the pan!) into preheated oven and spray with water. I usually do 6-8 shots with my spray bottle misting, not just squirting a stream of water. Bake for 7 minutes.
4. After 7 minutes, carefully slide pizza off the pan and onto the oven rack. The parchment paper will stick to the bottom of the pizza. This is good. Spray again with water, then bake for another 6-9 minutes, until the cheese is browned and bubbly. It needs to be bubbly (this is a technical term).
5. When pizza is cooked, slide the pizza out onto the pan or a cutting board. I have a wooden cutting board the perfect size and that’s what I use. I just stick a knife in the edge of the crust, then pull the pizza off the rack and onto the cutting board. You’ll need someone to keep the kids out of the kitchen while you’re doing this so they don’t run up to the oven- 500 degrees is HOT!
6. Slice and serve! David likes to sprinkle his pizza with crushed red pepper flakes, I like to sprinkle a little whole fennel seed over mine.
*I’ve been told that using a blend of cheeses is crucial to getting that yankee pizza flavor. Just mozzarella isn’t going to cut it. I use the Great Value (walmart) brand italian blend shredded cheese. They also carry a pizza blend, but I don't use it. Just the italian blend:)
**The shredded parmesan cheese helps hold all the toppings on- I only use about 1/4 C. for this.
***At this point you can refrigerate the pizza until you want to bake it. Many times I prepare through this step Friday morning and then just store in the fridge until suppertime.