My boyfriend David is quite the fan of carbs. Breads specifically, and pizza even more specifically. We actually shared a veggie pizza on our first date (it was the California from GoatHill Pizza in the Potrero Hill area of SF, if you must know). I’ve always been a fan of pizza, I mean who isn’t, but David was definitely my inspiration in creating the perfect pizza recipe.
I’ve written up the recipe for my no fail dough, and composed a list of tips, so that you can make delicious pizza for your man (or woman) too!
But that’s not to say that homemade pizza isn’t great even when you’re by yourself. In fact, David is out of town, and this evening I made two pizzas just for me. Not only did I need pictures for the blog, but I had delicious dinner and am planning to have leftovers for lunch tomorrow.
The main problem us home chefs face in making pizza is the lack of a commercial pizza oven, which can reach temperatures of up to 1,000 degrees fahrenheit. Some restaurants even use conveyer belt ovens that guarantee timely, proper cooking of each pizza that goes through it. When I was fourteen I worked at a deli that had a conveyer belt oven, and let me tell you, it is impossible to mess up a pizza with one. They come out perfect every time! Fortunately, by turning your oven up to it’s highest temperature, and watching it like a hawk, you can get your own perfect at home pizza.
It took a bit of experimenting for me to find a dough recipe I really liked. Most of the pizza dough recipes I found online only called for one type of flour, usually either all purpose or bread flour. The Whole Foods near David’s place doesn’t carry bread flour, and I wasn’t getting the type of results I wanted using just all purpose flour. I eventually found the best results with a combination of all purpose flour, garbanzo bean flour, and cornmeal. The protein from the garbanzo beans make the crust turn out chewy on the inside, but crispy out the outside. Oh, and the color is great!
3/4 c water
1 1/4 tsp of dry active yeast
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil
1 3/4 c all purpose flour
1/4 c cornmeal
1/4 c garbanzo bean flour
Additional flour, cornmeal, and oil
Note, this will make enough dough for 2 small pizzas.
1. Warm water to between 110 and 115 degrees fahrenheit.
2. Add sugar and salt, stir with a fork, then add yeast and stir again. Let sit until foamy, at least 5 minutes.
3. Combine flours and cornmeal in a separate bowl. Add olive oil to yeast liquid, then pour into your bowl with flour. Stir with a wooden spoon, then turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes.
4. Pour about a Tbsp of oil into a clean bowl. Roll your dough around in the oil so that it’s coated, then cover with saran wrap and let rise in a warm location for an hour.
5. Remove dough, punch down, then let rise for at least another hour before using.
Mathew’s tips for a perfect pizza
- Crank the heat up! Turn your oven as hot as it will go, usually 550 degrees fahrenheit.
- Don’t get hung up on shape. It is difficult to get a perfect circle, and you shouldn’t let it get you frustrated if your pizza is misshapen.
- Use your hands to shape the dough, a rolling pin will agitate the gluten and hurt the quality of the dough.
- Coat the bottom of your pizza dough with cornmeal. This will prevent it from sticking, and also make the bottom of the crust nice and crispy.
- A pizza stone is a must. They aren’t that expensive, and it’s an essential tool in order to get a good crust in a home oven.
- Preheat the pizza stone for at least 30 minutes. It needs the time to heat thoroughly.
- A wooden peel is another must. Trying to move a pizza in and out of a hot ass oven is difficult without one.
- Press your dough out on a counter, then transfer to the peel. Shake off any spare cornmeal during the transfer, this will avoid it falling off the peel and into your oven.
- Lightly brush the crust with oil, it will give it a nice color.
- Use a quality sauce – I recommend my roasted tomato and herb sauce - but you could definitely go with another recipe. You could even go with a pre made sauce if you’re in a hurry, but if you do make sure it’s high quality.
- Finish your pizza with salt and pepper. No matter what toppings you go with, a sprinkle of salt and pepper will always give it an extra edge.
- Don’t stand directly in front of the oven when you open it. Although not a tip related to the quality of your pizza, this one is important to remember. That rush of hot air is unpleasant, to say the least.
- Let it get a little darkened. It’s very easy to undercook a pizza. Letting it bake that extra minute or two will result in a very crispy crust.
- Use a pizza cutter wheel. Seriously, after spending all this time working on a pizza from scratch you don’t want to mess it up with a regular knife.
- Top your pizza with additional ingredients after it’s done baking. Just because you removed it from the oven doesn’t mean you have to stop. Personally I love topping pizza with fresh arugula, a chiffon of basil, or even a bit of sour cream.