It’s actually not that hard to make good pizza at home. It takes a little time, a little patience, and a little practice. But how do you make great pizza? That takes more practice and experience plus good quality ingredients. No matter what type of pizza is your favorite, all great pizza starts at the bottom with the crust.
I’m going to assume you’re already doing the basics like starting with good ingredients and measuring by weight, not volume. Here are three often overlooked details that can take your pizza crust from merely good to great.
If my text messages or website traffic are any indication, people are rediscovering, or at least trying, the joys (and some frustrations!) of baking homemade bread and pizza during the quarantine. Nothing could make me happier. I’m filling up my freezer with lots of anxiety baking. It might not help my waistline but it is helping my mental health during these strange times.
As a veteran home baker, here are my favorite links and resources to help you succeed in making your own homebaked bread or pizza.
I’ll admit to being skeptical about these gluten-free alternative personal pizza crusts but by the end of the night they had definitely won me over. They won’t ever replace true pizza crust and they just flat out confused the kids when I refer to them as pizzas but they did help satisfy that the pizza craving during our January cleanse when the alternative might have been to cave to the craving and eat half a pie myself.
The dough is knead-free, flour-free, and gluten-free and comes together fairly quickly and easily. We topped our mini-pies with sauce, various roasted veggies, and cheese for a delicious and filling protein-packed pizza fix without any of the guilt or cost of takeout.
That’s not to say that everything went smoothly with the first batch…
So it’s parent-teacher conference time. Both kids are doing fine but it’s a good reminder for me to never minimize their accomplishments. It’s something that I find challenging at times. It can be easier for me to point out what else they could have done than to praise what they have done.
By this point, it’s very obvious that while Cecilia and I share many traits, how we learn is vastly different. How someone with my genes can hate flash cards? I still have flash cards I made in college! (At some point, on some Saturday, Michelle will discover them in the basement and take them to the transfer station.) It’s not my job to change her or make her see it my way (unless it’s about Boston sports). It’s my job to be on team Ce, to root for her and encourage her. To make sure she understands that I’m proud of her regardless not because she is perfect or smart. That I’m most proud of her high marks in effort and how she has the confidence to keep trying new things.
We had a rare Saturday where we had very little scheduled. We weren’t entertaining. We weren’t crashing someone’s house to be entertained. We had no houseguests. No expectations. The only official thing on the docket was a make-up field hockey game late in the afternoon. Otherwise we were free to make like Whitman or Thoreau, men who valued the virtue of loafing, and spend a Saturday doing very little.
You can probably guess how this goes.
It was a challenge for Michelle to turn off her puritan work ethic. The sweetness of doing nothing does not come naturally. The clutter in the basement, or under the cabinet in the bathroom, or that one drawer in the kitchen, was a siren song…
If you’ve heard of Wisconsin Brick cheese and live outside of the Midwest, you’ve probably heard of it in relation to Detroit-style pizza. It’s a high-fat aged cheese with a uniquely tangy, salty, buttery flavor that lends the deep-pan Detroit pizza its buttery taste and more important its crispy, lacy, blackened edges. The edges will look black and burned beyond edible but don’t be fooled that’s black gold.
With just a little effort, the home cook can really up their pizza game. Ten years ago, I moved to the suburbs and immediately realized all the pizza was mediocre at best and if I wanted to once again have pizza anywhere near as good as a place in the city (even a city like Boston with an Ok but not stellar pizza rep) I was going to have to make it myself.
Since then, I’ve tried many different flours, recipes, toppings, and dough. Top it with whatever you want, what will really elevate a pizza is a great dough.
Here’s my list of my favorite pizza types and pizza dough for any occasion.