You have questions, and I have answers. Here are some pizza making FAQs that I've gotten from Thursday Night Pizza's readers over the years. If anything's missing, feel free to message me here or on Instagram or Facebook and I'll get you the answer ASAP.
My go-to pizza pan is a dark-colored large rimmed baking sheet, but any dark-colored pizza pan works great. If you like an extra-crispy bottom crust, use a carbon steel perforated pizza pan like this one. For more info, check out my post and video on choosing the best pizza pan.
A baking stone or steel will allow you to make the best, restaurant-style pizzas at home, but you don’t have to get one (see previous question). I use my steel baking plate every time I make pizza. It creates the hottest-possible environment in my home oven, which results in crusts that rise perfectly around the edges and brown just right on the top and bottom. To learn more, check out my post and video about different stones and steel options.
First, put your stone or steel on a rack in the bottom third of the oven, then set the oven to 500°F or as high as it will go. Let the oven and stone or steel preheat for at least 30 minutes (preferably 1 hour) while you prep all your toppings and allow your dough to come to room temperature (if necessary).
Then, once the oven is nice and hot, switch the setting to Broil on high. This way, your oven will get as hot as it possibly can, which is the ideal environment for cooking pizza. Let the oven keep heating up on the Broil setting for 10 to 20 minutes.
About 5 minutes before you’re ready to bake the pizza, stretch out your dough and place it on a flour-dusted pizza peel. Top the dough, shimmying the peel periodically to make sure the dough isn’t sticking. (If the dough is sticking, slip a floured offset spatula between the dough and peel and keep sliding it back and forth until the dough slides around when you shimmy the peel.)
As soon as your dough is topped, immediately open the oven and shimmy it onto the super-hot stone or steel, using quick back and forth motions like you’re trying to swipe a table cloth off a table without knocking off the place settings. Close the oven door and let the pizza bake (or, I guess, broil) until the crust is golden brown around the edges and evenly browned on the bottom and the cheese on top has browned in spots. Use the peel to take the pizza out of the oven.
Easy! Just preheat your cast iron skillet or pan, carefully lay your stretched-out pizza dough inside, add toppings, return the pan to the oven, and bake. For more detailed instructions, check out this post and video.
Even if you hardly ever cook, you probably have all the essentials in your kitchen. The only tools you absolutely need for homemade pizza are a large baking sheet or pizza pan, a large bowl and wooden spoon (if you plan to make your own dough), a cutting board and knife (for prepping toppings), and a pizza cutter (though you could always use a knife to cut pizza into slices). If you want to take your homemade pizza to the next level, you might want to get a baking stone or steel and a pizza peel. Click here to learn about my favorite pizza equipment.
Yep. If you have a bottle of beer in the fridge, you can make my awesome Beer Pizza Dough, and if you have sourdough starter, you can make No-Yeast Sourdough Pizza Dough. Don’t have either? Try my cauliflower or summer squash crust.
Yes you can. Just make a batch of homemade dough, ball it up, and put it in a zip-top freezer bag or vacuum seal bag. Use a straw or vacuum sealer to suck out as much air as possible, then seal the bag. Label and freeze for up to 3 months. Click here for the full post about freezing pizza dough.
To freeze a whole pizza: First, stretch out and parbake your dough. Then, add sauce, toppings, and cheese; double wrap the pizza with plastic, then foil; label and freeze for up to 3 months. Click here for the full post and video.
Of course it is! I would never shame you for using pizza dough you bought at the store. In fact, if you can buy balls of pizza dough from your favorite pizzeria, you should totally do it. (Pro tip: Buy good dough in bulk and keep it in the freezer!)
However, that being said, I do have a few words of warning when buying pre-made pizza dough. First of all, the best store-bought doughs come in a bag, not a tube. Also, they only include ingredients you recognize (flour, sugar, salt, yeast). And if the dough you buy is chilled, always let it come fully to room temperature before you use it.
There are SO many different styles of pizza out there. For that reason, I've created lots of different pizza dough recipes to satisfy everyone's tastes. Overwhelmed? This easy quiz will help steer you toward the perfect dough.
Believe it or not, this is probably the most common pizza making FAQ I get from Thursday Night Pizza readers. And the answer? No. Definitely not. There will always be more classic recipes to pizzafy and topping combos to explore. I'm just getting started!
Typically, you'll need ½ to ¾ cup sauce, 4 ounces of cheese, and about 1 hefty cup of other toppings per pizza. If you like a loaded pie, add as much as you want . . . but be ready with a fork and knife at the table.
If you're using a baking sheet or pizza pan, preheat the oven to 500°F. If you're using a baking stone or steel, preheat the stone/steel and oven to 550°F or as high as your oven will go, let it heat up for at least 30 minutes, then switch the oven setting to Broil on high.
Every time I teach a pizza class, someone asks me this pizza making FAQ. First, prep all of your toppings before you touch your pizza dough. The longer raw dough sits on a pizza peel, whether it's a wooden or metal one, the more likely it is to stick. When all your toppings are ready to go and within arm's reach on your work surface, dust your work surface with regular and/or semolina flour and stretch out your ball of pizza dough. As you stretch it out, feel for wet or sticky spots and dust them with flour, shaking off any excess. Dust the bottom and edges of the stretched-out dough with flour and shake off any excess.
Finally, sprinkle a light coating of flour on the pizza peel, place the dough on the peel, and top it quickly. Shimmy the peel before you try to launch the topped dough onto the hot stone/steel; if it won't budge at all or sticks in one or two spots, dust an offset spatula with flour and slide it under the dough all the way around, shimmying the peel until the dough moves freely.
Either your oven wasn't hot enough or you didn't let the pizza bake for long enough. Let your oven preheat for at least 30 minutes before you bake the pizza, and let it bake until the crust is golden around the edges and evenly browned on the bottom.