I could probably eat pizza every night for a month and not get sick of it. Especially the homemade kind. We have this slick pizza oven that fits in our barbecue with a stone interior. Once it heats up it’s like having an authentic wood burning pizza oven. A bunch of our neighbours now have them too. They come with a “peel” which is the long handled giant spatula for loading, turning and unloading the pizza.
The pizza oven we have is called BakerStone. You can buy them online or from a bunch of Canadian and American stores. I should get royalties for this!
I often make my own pizza dough but you can buy frozen dough that works great too. My favourite homemade pizza dough is this recipe from Curtis Stone. Some dough recipes make a thicker crust. I find this one is perfect and I can get the dough fairly thin which is how we like it best.
The sky’s the limit when it comes to toppings. Just make sure anything in liquid like olives and artichokes are well drained and anything that needs to be cooked like onions and peppers are thinly sliced. Pre cook raw meats because the pizza cooks pretty fast.
While the pizza oven is heating, roll out your dough, shred the cheese and prep your toppings. Put tons of cornmeal on the peel and lay the rolled out dough on top. Spread sauce evenly on the dough, sprinkle with cheese and arrange toppings.
Tips for successful homemade pizza
Make sure you have lots of cornmeal on the peel before you put the rolled out dough on it. Don’t worry, most of it falls off. It works like a million tiny marbles to help slide the pizza into the oven. When you put your rolled out dough on the peel, give it a jiggle to make sure it moves around. If it doesn’t, lift it up and put more cornmeal underneath.
You can buy some really good pizza sauce so there’s no need to make your own.
Don’t use too much sauce or too many toppings. Or too much cheese. Trust me. The pizza gets too heavy and doesn’t cook properly. Some toppings release liquid – like mushrooms. Go easy on those. You’ll be tempted to put way too many different toppings on your pizza. If you can’t decide, just make more pizza!
Get the oven nice and hot before you add the pizza.
Slide the pizza into the oven once it’s heated to the max. It takes some practice to get the right technique. Especially if you’ve put too many toppings on it. Hint – if it sticks, leave the peel in for a minute or so until the bottom has cooked enough to pull it out. This only works with the metal peels. Obviously.
Give it a quarter turn every minute or two. A thin crust pizza with only a few toppings will cook in about 5 minutes. Thicker crust can take up to 10.
Let it cool for a few minutes on a big wooden cutting board. If you can wait that long.
The bottom of the crust should be nice and brown.
Cut it with a pizza cutter or sharp knife and chow down.
There are so many variations to the traditional tomato sauce and cheese pizza. We’ve had neighbourhood pizza parties and made multiple pies with various toppings. Tons of fun.
Don’t have a pizza oven? No worries, you can heat a pizza stone on the barbecue or in the oven and it works well. It takes a little longer because you don’t have that intense heat coming from the BakerStone but that’s ok. Any effort that results in pizza this good is worth it!