Tuesday, May 11, 2010

a plea for help....

i like pizza.

Doesn't it look good?
It was so fun to make.
The crust--I found the recipe in an old Living issue--it was from a popular pizzaria and I knew it must be good.
The smell....oh it was perfect.
The toppings....a perfect combination:
-kalmata olives
-artichoke hearts
-fresh mozzerala


It was no good.

I wanted to cry.


The crust was a bit on the tough side, and worst of all....not done in the middle.

Back in the oven.

The edges just got way too crispy, and the middle still not done.


Do you bake your crust first?
On what kind of pan?
At what temperature?
Do you have a favorite crust recipe?
Will it taste like it came from here?
Will you share it with me?
Do I sound frantic?

must. have. pizza.

thank you.


Sarah said...

Oh no! That's so disappointing :( I use the recipe from this book


And off the top of my head its 500g strong white flour, 15g powdered yeast, 15g salt, a big glug of olive oil and about 300ml of water at body temp (or enough to make a really sticky dough) just stir and stretch it up for a bit and leave for an hour on the work top, works for me!

and it seems to work every time, tastes even better after 24 hours in the fridge. I cook it, topping and all, in a preheated oven at the highest temp it will go with my pizza stone preheat too. Takes about 10 mins...

Good luck with your pizza hunt!

sarah nicole said...

A friend of mine has had a lot of luck with the pizza dough recipe from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day (which is amazing, by the way - I love their bread recipe). The best part is that you can make a big batch of dough and store it in your fridge for up to two weeks, grabbing it whenever you need it, and no kneading! I hope you get your pizza troubles worked out.

Unknown said...

It depends on the recipe and on how thick your crust is but I always bake my crust about 3/4 of the way done before putting the toppings on just to be safe.

kristen said...

Hi! I love your blog! I feel like I finally know what I'm doing with pizza so I thought I would share! Make sure you preheat your stone at least 45 min before you put your pizza in to make sure it's heated through. Your oven should be 500 degrees or hotter for about 7-10 min. I use a recipe from here: http://www.homemade-pizza-made-easy.com/pizza-dough-recipes.html
they know what they're doing! Good luck!

banananutmeg said...

1) don't over knead the pizza dough or it will be tough
2) heat your stone for an HOUR at 450+ degrees before you slide your pizza onto it for baking.
3) never let toppings sit on your pizza for longer than a few minutes before baking...they release liquid and make the center too moist to cook all the way through.

I cook my pizzas at a very high temp.
even if you aren't in love with the CPK crust recipe, try the baking/rising directions I posted ions ago.

Mmmm now I want pizza.

{lizzythebotanist} said...

here's my recipe-it never fails. i adjust the amount of wheat/white flour depending on the toppings i'm going with (or steve's mood because he doesn't like wheat but i do):

1 c. warm water
2 T honey (i tend to sneak and extra T in too...)
2t. active dry yeast

dissolve honey in water, add yeast, mix until dissolved, give it 5-10 minutes to get all bubbly.

in another bowl:

3 c. flour (i try to do 2/1 wheat/white)
1 t. sea/kosher salt

make a well in dry ingredients and add

1 T olive oil
yeast mixture

blend and knead till smooth and elastic.

allow to rise for 1.5-2 hours.

roll and top, bake f0r 8-10 minutes at 500.

it's super easy-i just spouted that off from memory just to prove it. and i have some great topping suggestions, too, if you're interested.

good luck!

A Beautiful Life said...

I think I gave this link a while ago when you blogged about pizza too..I'm serious..we LOVE this pizza recipe, it's no fail it's good EVERY time..and honestly a pizza stone is worth getting. Warm it up before you put the pizza on at least 30+ minutes, use tons of cornmeal underneath your pizza while "decorating" it and then it will slide onto pizza stone (I used the back of a cookie sheet method and it works like a charm)
HOnestly..this recipe, which ALSO include a great homemade pizza sauce recipe is super great and it uses both white/wheat flour mixture so the dough is a good hearty mix.
Enjoy, pizza should be great EVERY TIME! ;)


melissa said...

looks like you've got lots of good help so i won't put my recipe in here, too. just find a crust you like. a pizza friend of mine helped me with the few things that make my pizza finally good--really thin crust, really high temp for baking (i don't have a stone--in fact i bake it on a rectangle cookie sheet and it's always crisp but not crunchy), fewer toppings than you think are necessary. and voila. mine never LOOK as good as yours, though!

last night i made pizza, in fact, and i thought i was crazy: who eats pizza on a monday for heavens sake? it's a weekend food! but it was still good, phew. maybe you just need to make it again on friday and it will be better.

Anonymous said...

i'm a cheater and buy trader joe's pizza dough...but it's awesome! :) so if you have one of those, try it!

jax from the harmon squad said...

This is by far the BEST pizza dough recipe I have ever used. NEVER FAILS to get compliments: http://www.fornobravo.com/pizza/pizza_dough.html
And a couple tips:
Use a pizza stone. The end.
The longer you let the dough rest in the balls, the easier it is to work with.
When shaping the balls into the crust, do as much shaping in the air as you can! The more you work it on a surface, the tougher it will be.
And use flour under the dough to slide it onto the stone, corn meal will burn.

And in addition to a pizza stone, it's worth investing in a pizza peel. We have both a wooden one and a metal one: the wooden is to assemble the pizza on (make sure you put plenty of flour on so the crust doesn't stick, causing it to tear when you slide it onto the stone), and the metal to get it out.

Hope that helps!

sheena said...

you guys are AWESOME!! I knew you could help. And I now I really want pizza!! Thank you so much....keep them coming!!

cara lou said...

I must admit, I make an insane pizza. Here is what I do...

Preheat oven to 500 degrees, with the pizza stone inside on the lowest shelf setting.

Assemble pizza on a baking sheet or peel dusted with corn meal. When the oven is heated (usually takes 20-30 minutes, I've never heated my stone for any longer than that), slide pizza from peel or baking sheet onto the stone.

Bake for 10-12 minutes. Turns out perfect every time!

As for the crust, I used to always use the Trader Joe's pre-made crust (it's pretty amazing). But I recently just started using Pioneer Woman's crust and it is very good too.


So I think the most important thing in pizza making is to pre-heat your stone and bake on the lowest shelf setting. Mine has turned out perfectly every time!

Good luck!

(I'm making pizza on Friday and can hardly wait!!)

Anonymous said...

The Pioneer Woman has a great pizza crust recipe that works every time! And her step by step photos are helpful. I gave up on homemade crust for a LONG time until I found her recipe! :)

MONster said...


we use this pizza dough recipe and these tips:


i've only tried it one time, but we liked it

Shawna S said...

Sheena -
I love your blog and had to comment on this post. I ended up hating my pizza stone because of the mess of the cornmeal. I even ended up with some angry pizza calzones because I could not get my raw pizza onto the stone - one part of it always stuck and my kitchen floor and counters were always covered in cornmeal.

I switched to a pizza pan with lots on holes in the bottom. Gets the bottom nice and done without over-crisping your sides. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0000D8CAO/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_1?pf_rd_p=486539851&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-1&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B00091PN7A&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1Z7KKB389JNAB0MECKFB

We roll out the dough - then do a little press to fit onto the pan. You assemble your toppings once the dough is in the pan - no transfering = happy me! Good luck!

Ronni said...

My suggestions is to MAKE SURE (sorry for the all caps, but it's important) that you preheat your pizza stone while the oven is preheating. And get your oven temp very high.
Good luck next time!

The Fredy Family said...

I buy my pizza dough from trader joes ( i am lazy) and I BBQ. After both sides are cooked then I transfer it to a cookie sheet (mine are usually rectangles) and add sauce, cheese and toppings and then broil on Lo until cheese is golden. It is soooooo good with the BBQ'd dough!!

Bluebelle said...

We make our dough in a bread machine and we cook it on a pizza crisper (a round tray with holes). This is good because it makes sure it cooks evenly and doesn't go soggy on the bottom.

Good luck!

vanessa porter said...

I recently tried out the pizza dough recipe from the Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day book, and it was amazing! I also have since used just the regular "master" dough recipe in the book (that would make sense if you saw the book!) and it was just as amazing! But I think the thing that would help the most is using a pizza stone with your oven set as hot as it gets.

And this might just be silly advice but make sure you spread all the toppings/sauce out evenly. It's all going to sink into the center a little anyway, so this might help the middle cook better? My first job was making pizza for years in the big GIANT pizza ovens, so maybe practice makes perfect!

vanessa porter said...

oh! and definitely (if you use one) put your stone in the oven while it preheats!

Bianca said...

I second "Artisan Bread in Five..." Hands down best homemade pizza I ever made. I also think the biggest key is hot stone, hot oven. Whenever I make pizza our smoke alarm goes off, because it's so hot and the cornmeal starts to smoke a lot....but then I know it's going to be good! Good luck!!

Desta said...

Go to The Pioneer Woman Cooks and steal her pizza crust recipe. It is super easy, you don't bake it first, and it turns out PERFECT. seriously - crispy, but not tough, soft, but not gooey, and cooked perfectly all the way through (even if you put it on a measly cookie sheet). It is pizza crust perfection!

judi said...

Wow! I am taking notes from all of these suggestions and making pizza for dinner!

ps: I used your flatbread recipe and made pizza last week. It was a soft crust but but very tasty!

Brinn said...

bummer, I hate that! Yes, cook the crust first, helps so much... but even better through it on the grill (yum). Pizza stone helps and crank your oven as high as it will go. Make sure the dough is all cooked then add the toppings place back in oven (or grill) and watch until cheese is melted. Good luck!

kami said...

here's an awesome SUPER healthy pizza crust...


good luck!

lisa said...

grill it grill it grill it.

Put the dough right on your grill, cook for just a bit, then flip it, put all your toppings and sauce on and grill for a little longer. It leaves that nice smoky flavor (like from a brick oven). yum.

summer said...

made pizza over the weekend and am blogging my absolute favorite never-fail pizza crust later this week! i got the recipe last year and haven't used anything else since. AND you can add whole wheat flour and flax if you like. (which i know you do.)

i'll send it to you, now that you already have a hundred options. but seriously, it's really yummy.

Unknown said...

oh no! I love homemade pizza too. It looks like you've already gotten good suggestions, but this is my simple recipe/process and it's always great. **it tastes especially good if you grill the dough and toppings (same process- just on the outdoor grill rather than the oven. brush crust with olive oil and throw it on!):

1 tsp rapid rise yeast
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp coarse kosher salt
1 to 1 1/4 cups water
2 Tbs plus 1 tsp olive oil

Combine the yeast, flour and 2 tsp salt in the container of a food processor. Turn the machine on and add 1 cup water and the 2 Tbs oil through the feed tube. Process for 30 seconds, or until the mixture forms a ball and is slightly sticky to the touch. If it is dry, add another Tbs or two of water and process for 10 seconds.
Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead by hand to form a smooth, round ball. Grease a bowl with the remaining 1 tsp olive oil. Place the dough in it, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm area until the dough doubles in size, about 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to the maximum temperature. Roll out the pizza dough into 2 (or more) individual pizzas. Par bake for 5 minutes, or just starting to brown. Top with sauce, cheese and toppings of your choice, and then finish baking until the cheese melts.

good luck! I hope you post what ends up working best for you!

Hayley said...

yes and yes. bake 3/4 way. top. then add topping just until cheese melts.

ps. thanks for sharing the fail.

Lillie said...

I haven't read the other comments--- I'm sure you've gotten far more good advice than you need--- and my advice is probably worthless since GASP--- I've decided that I prefer the ball of fresh pizza dough from Fresh and Easy or Trader Joes! You can get white, sort-of-whole-wheat, or herb-- of course white tastes the best. :) Not to mention it makes homemade pizza all of like a 15 minute commitment.

My main advice, I used to be ALL about the pizza stone. I'd make it on that board thing with cornmeal under it and then sliiiiiide it on the preheated stone. I felt so bad A in the pizza making dept. And then I had way better pizza at my friends house and she was using the F&E dough and a pizza pan---- (round pan with a ton of little holes in the bottom-- williams sanoma or cheap at BB Beyond or wherever) …. now I have two pans--- wish I had 4 because it's SOOOO much easier. I don't have to make one at a time, I can have them all ready, on the pans, ready to go in the oven when company comes over etc… AND I feel like it's better and more consistent. I don't have to throw cornmeal all over the ground.

I roll it pretty thin, cover with f&e pesto, mozzarella and fresh tomatoes and basil--- cook at 450 for like 10 minutes. A little brown on edges. Perfect. Consistent. Too long-- too confident--- sorry. :)

thehungrysisters said...

alright...i must profess that I. yes, I. make the best.pizza.ever. we get our crust raw from our favorite gourmet pizzeria and take it home to make immediately (so the dough maintains its freshness). we start by pre-heating a pizza stone in the oven at 450 degrees. emphasis on *pizza stone*. while the stone is heating, we stretch the dough into a nice round pizza shape. then we take the stone out of the oven and put the stretched dough on the stone and make the pizzas right on the hot stone. the pizzas go in the oven for about 15 minutes, until the edges are nicely browned (even a little burned looking). and VOILA! you have amaaaazing pizza.

our favorite topping combinations include 1) pepperoni/sausage, peppers and onions and 2) ricotta, goat cheese, mozzarella, parmesan (and any other cheese that is layin around), olives and fresh basil.

kristy said...

i know everyone swears by pizza stones, but i have had the best luck with cast iron pans. no pre-heating necessary. just bake at 20+ minutes at 400 degrees. works like magic.
ps. love your blog.

dust and kam said...


This is my most favorite pizza crust recipe. So, so good.

zachandamanda said...


I am new to your blog!! I love it! So creative!! I didn't read all the other comments here, but I put my pizza stone (or a metal pan works too) in the oven to heat up while my oven is heating up... I put my oven on 425 and bake the pizza for a short amount of time about 10-12 minutes... I don't know what is in your recipe but I used a half a cup of olive oil in my crust and it makes it nice and crispie!!
p.s. love your pony tail!!

Miss Fitz said...

Wow, it seems everyone knows alot about pizza. All I can really add is that I've always just used a metal pizza pan, brush everything with olive oil (and of course sprinkle with oregano and garlic) and dust the bottom of the pan with corn meal. BRUSH EVERYTHING WITH OLIVE OIL, even the edges of the crust, this way it gets crispy in the outside and soft on the inside. Also, I agree with most people, bake the crust a bit before adding toppings, but not so much that its brown. Oh, and a secret I have (obviously not a secret anymore) for cheese in the crust I just take string cheese and cut them in half and roll them in the edges of the crust.

Ben said...

Try grilling it. We always have success that way. And ditto to the olive oil comment.

Now I need to go back and read all the other comments. It seems like everyone has so much to share about pizza!

Ben said...

oops. I hate when I do that... Lauren, not Ben.

Season said...

We have this "pizza griller":


and we grill the dough on one side until it starts to brown, then flip and add sauce and toppings, then throw it back on the grill to melt cheese and finish cooking. And the reason I'm commenting even though there are already 37 comments is because YES it almost does taste like Settebello's.

kim west said...

Call Pizza hut.

kim west said...

only slightly kidding. I have a Pizza PIzzaz. we love it. You have a tempurature so you can either cook the top or the bottom or both. so if your cheese is all melted and you crust still doughy you just slide it over to bottom and it ends up PERFECT! It was a Christmas gift that I never would have bought for myself but now I can't live without it! Have fun eating pounds and pounds and pounds of pizza!