Pizza discussion forum


(photo by Mark Luinenburg)

Some of our blog readers have noticed that we have lots of summertime posts and discussions on outdoor-grilled pizza and even desserts, and pastries, but we’ve never posted on baking pizza the old-fashioned way.  As summer comes upon us, believe me, there’ll be more and more that we do outside on the gas grill (I like the Weber grills for that, available at Amazon).

One thing I have to share:  Amazon has dropped the price on the Old Stone Oven pizza stone:  Click here to order.

So before it gets hot, let’s talk about indoor-baked pizza.  Our lean doughs make great pizza bases, and nicely tolerate a pre-heated stone up to 550 degrees F.  Use lots of flour and roll it out to 1/8-inch thick and you cannot miss (be patient).  What kinds of pizzas are people making?

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120 thoughts on “Pizza discussion forum

  1. I made a fantastic pizza the other day:

    Boule dough base, layer of spinach, green grapes (cut in 1/2), goat cheese and walnuts. Drizzle with olive oil and then bake!

  2. I used to make a separate pizza dough until one night when I just scooped some dough out of the fridge and I haven’t gone back since! One pizza used to feed my family of 4. Now I have to make two. 🙂

    I love a Margherita for the adults and the kids get good old pepperoni. I do mix up the cheese on the pepperoni — sliced mozz, some shredded cheddar, and a hint of parmesan.

    For the Margherita, I marinate roma tomatoes in olive oil, salt and garlic while I prep the dough. I brush some olive oil on the dough and then sprinkle with mozzarella. The tomatoes go on next then another drizzle of olive oil on top. Bake and then top with basil and some parm cheese when it comes out of the oven!

    Unfortunately, we are in the desert so our oven pizza making will take a back seat for the next few months.

  3. I love pizza, every Friday night, or Sunday night, it’s pizza time! The only one pizza that my son eats is the homemade.
    I’ve several that I made often, like tomato sauce, mozzarella, tuna, onion and pineapple, or the classic tomato, mozzarella, basilica or even tomato, mozzarella, mushrooms and ham. Always with a drizzle of olive oil and oregano sprinkled.

    Sometime I use garlic olive oil, pass a garlic clove on the dough edge when the pizza is baked, or even crush a clove and mix it in the dough.

  4. We love the semolina dough as a pizza base. We use it regularly for our pizza night. Everything from traditional to BBQ chicken to proscuito, roasted potato, carmelized onion and feta. mmmmm, now I want pizza!

  5. Making pizza is a duel, my older son (4 yr) and now the younger (2 yr) wants to stretch the dough, and then fill with their favourite ingredients. I give up making a symmetrical pizza! Too many hands over the loved pizza 🙂

    And yes, is fantastic the kids notice the difference between the homemade and the delivery ones.

  6. I barely got the book, but I am very interested in making a pizza to see how it goes.
    I love homemade pizza, but I think it’s a little difficult to open and handle the dough.
    I need some training.
    I feel more confident baking breads by now.
    I will get there! 🙂

  7. Putting garlic into the dough sounds fabulous.

    Planning ahead – I pre-bake pizzas crusts:Roll out the dough, brush generously with olive oil and bake at at least 485 or higher for 6-8 minutes on a pizza stone. After they’ve cooled, put a few in a large zip lock in the fridge.
    Anyone in the family can take a pre-baked crust, pour on a thin layer of pizza sauce and add mozzerella (optional toppings are herbs and feta cheese)and put in a hot oven for another 6-8 minutes.
    Also, the pre-baked dough is good just as a thin bread to snack on or put in a sack lunch, if it doesn’t end up as pizza.

  8. I used to be in food science at a manufacturing plant that made the dough mix for the major pizza chain restaurants. I know a good bit about dough ;o) I swear, your boule dough is some serious competition with restaurant dough! Since getting your book a few months ago, we haven’t bough bread or pizza. Every week, I make a batch of wheat and a batch of boule. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this amazing cookbook and all your efforts that went into it.

  9. I just used the basic dough (about a week old) to make delicious calzones with my homegrown broccoli rabe and homemade ricotta. The dough is awesome.

    Thank you.

  10. we were away so I don’t have any dough in the fridge (going to fix that as soon as I write this btw) but our homemade pizza is better than our local place – we can change what we put on it each time and it is a whole lot cheaper than the $21 they charge.

    We have gotten so many people to buy your book because of how great everything turns out.


  11. FYI, the broa dough in the book makes a deep-dish pizza crust that is OUT OF THIS WORLD! Just had it with mozzarella, italian sausage, spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes. Watch out, Chicago!

  12. I use the olive oil dough for pizzas. Roll out about 8 oz to about 12″ and transferred to a hot pizza stone for thin crust pizza OR make to-die-for deep dish using more dough in a cast iron skillet oiled with olive oil. I like to use a layer of sliced provalone directly on top the dough for deep dish pizzas then layer on the sauce and the toppings…and I do mean layer on…pepperoni, mushrooms, frozen spinach (well drained), more cheese.

    Bake at a lower temp (about 400) for at least 1/2 hour-45 minutes. Best deep dish outside of Chicago.

  13. Hi!speaking of deep dish type pizzas… I am
    looking for ideas on how to use the dough to make tomato pie- I plan on rolling the dough out to fit a 18×13 half sheet pan- will oiling the pan be enough to keep it from sticking? Before I just stretched the dough on the oiled pan, but not sure that would work with this dough… any ideas appreciated!

  14. One disaster, one success.
    525F, hot pizza stone, sassafras paddle – I thought I was golden. All the toppings swept off onto the stone, the dough stayed put. Salvaged, baked, delicious but ugly (tomato sauce-cheese-pepperoni-mushrooms-olives-anchovies).
    2nd try assembled outside oven on ‘warm’ stone. Into the hot oven – marvelous!

  15. We like putting alfredo sauce on, instead of tomato. then we’ll put broccoli and chicken. we’ve also done it with bbq sauce and chicken. but the ultimate cheese pizza is tomato sauce (homemade of course) fresh whole milk mozzarella, and freshly grated asiago and romano!

  16. Mandy: Dust the dough well as you’re flattening it, and then generously grease your pan. Should work fine.

    Paul: Before you slide into the oven, make sure it’s moving well on the peel by shaking it from side to side. If it’s not, it won’t move off the peel well. Nudge some flour under the pizza with a dough scraper until it’s moving well.

    Also, while you’re rolling out, make sure that you use enough flour so the finished dough disk isn’t so sticky. Jeff

  17. One of my guilty pleasures is watching Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. On one of the episodes they showed a pizza joint where they used cornmeal instead of flour to roll out their dough. I tried it with some European Peasant dough and it was terrific. It took a bit more rolling, though I wanted to get it pretty thin. (I also docked it.) It gave it an extra chewy-crunchy texture. I pre-baked the crust for 5 min, then topped it with smoked chicken in BBQ sauce, red onions and mexi-blend cheese and baked until browned on top.

  18. I am looking forward to making pizza rgis weekend and I am torn between NY Styke and deep dish- I guess I will have to make one of each…

    Anyhow, I have been researching pizza recipes to use with the AB5 dough. The searches resulted in some interesting places, so I thought I would share them with you.
    This site has recipes for almost every type of pizza from NY style to Chicago deep dish and stuffed with recreations of pizzas from Pizzeria Uno to Pizza Hut (you call that pizza? ugh).

    FYI, until I started reading these sites, I didn’t realize that Chicago pan pizza uses chopped up tomatoes instead of a tomato sauce.

    There are also some dough calculators but I don’t lnow enough about the recipes thay used for calculations, so I can’t comment on their effectiveness.

    The next site is Encyclopizza.
    Everything you have evr wanted to know about pizza and the pizzeria business with loys of recipes for dough and sauces of all types, including NY style.
    Find a pizzeria near you, oven infos, pizza history (brief and not well written), and recipes.
    Not to be confused with, whicj brings us to

    the real
    This is a link to a video and transcript about (see the name tie-in?) making a stuffed Chicago pan pizza.

    The Chef, John Mitzewich, has some more pizza recipes, including a no-knead dough recipe that sounds an awful lot like he fot it from this siye. Unfortunately, he seems to have gotten it wrong, as the only comment he received about it, wa saying how awful it turned out.

    Needless to say, I am going to send him, and the other sites, links to this pizza forum.

    BTW, Jeff and Zoe, which doughs would you recommend for a true Neopolatin NY style pizza and a Chicago deep dish?

    I ate my last frozen pizza tonight, which I had gotten before I discovered AB5 (and I was taught never to waste food as there are starving children somewhere in the world) and I realized that it took me as long to make the frozen pizza as it would be to make a fresh pizza with AB5 ready-made dough.

  19. My favorite for Neapolitan is, believe it or not, the Peasant dough. I haven’t done Chicago deep dish but I know the dough is enriched…

  20. Olive oil is the favorite dough for everything bread here (except sweet breads, of course). We have done it all in terms of making pizza with it… I have 5 kids and I will par bake 5″ crusts. They top them with pizza sauce out of a squeeze container, their favorite toppings and a slice of provelone (the perfect size).
    My husband and I prefer deep dish. Again, we prefer to par bake the crust. We also cook the pepperoni in the micro in single layer between paper towel for 30 sec so it isn’t too greasy. I also will dry out my mushrooms on a sheet pan at 450 degrees so they won’t weep. I HATE soggy pizza. Muir glen diced tomatoes with italian seasonings, drained, with extra clove of garlic pressed in is the sauce. Then, add pepperoni, mushrooms and well drained artichoke hearts. My hubby LOVES this pizza (okay not the artichoke hearts so much).
    Thanks again for this book!!!!

  21. when I tried to make pizza on the grill, I put my pizza stone on to preheat and it broke! 🙁 It was well seasoned and over 6 years old. what did I do wrong? I’m a little nervous to try it again. Please reassure me!

  22. I just got your book and it’s awesome. I made the olive oil dough for pizza, but I think next time I’ll try the boule. My first attempt had artichoke hearts, sundried tomatoes, red onions and feta — misshapen but delicious. My second, better formed, was sage bechamel, roasted acorn squash, sausage and parmesan. I can’t wait to try more — it’s so much fun to be able to bake so easily!

  23. Hannah: Sorry it cracked! We’ve had good luck with half-inch thick stones, much less good luck with the thinner ones. The Williams-Sonoma stone is the only one that’s lifetime guaranteed against cracking (save your receipt).

    Johanna: Thanks for the kind words!

  24. A reader writes:
    “…the dough is very sticky and hard to handle and that no way could you form a loaf in 30 to 60 seconds… the last pound of dough in the container (it was less than 10 days old) was the consistency of pancake batter and had none of the characteristics of bread dough…”

    I’m guessing that it’s something with the flour, or with the measurement. The most common explanation for this that we’ve seen is that people are using bleached flour. You have to use unbleached all purpose flour.

    Second, the measurement method. Be sure you are using the scoop and sweep method from the book. Another accurate way to go is to weigh your flour (it’s 2 pounds of unbleached all-purpose for 1.5 pounds of water).

    Are either of these the explanation?

  25. We almost live on pizza now. I hand-shape them. Many of the doughs make great pies, and is there any end to good sauce and toppings? I’ve tried parchment paper to ease the peel-sticking issue, but the crust seems tough. Is the paper idea doomed?

  26. I see I’m days late, but I watched the same show as Geoff did, and used the very same technique of rolling out the dough with cornmeal, pressing it into both sides of the (olive oil) dough. It really did make the crust crispy on the outside, while staying chewy on the inside. It was great with a cheeseburger pizza – inspired by (and concocted of) leftovers, deemed “the best pizza ever” by my husband!

  27. Hi Jacki,

    The nice thing about baking the pizza right on the stone is that the stone will wick some of the moisture away from the dough and give you the best crust. Maybe you could try just a bit more flour under the pizza to get it in without parchment. I’ve had people recommend rice flour, because it is more slippery than wheat flour.

    Hope that helps! Zoë

  28. Jeff,
    the tomato pie came out great- I took 2 lbs of dough rolled it out then put it on the greased half sheet pan, put on the sauce and baked it…
    it was delicious, and I was able to make four of them for an event instead of the one I used to be able to make at a time due to the limits of the amount of dough I could make in my now defunct bread maker.

    Thanks again for everything!

  29. I picked up your book today after reading about it for 2 weeks. I made a batch of the master recipe, and set it out to rest. While I was waiting, I went for a walk to kill some time, as it was a nice day. When I got home, I still had about 20 minutes to kill, so I googled both of the authors just for fun. I was quite surprised to find out that, evidently, I walked past Jeff’s office on my walk. I live right near the smith street bridge, off of west seventh, and I’ll often walk down to the wabasha bridge, cross the river, cut back along that side to the smith street bridge, and back home. The coincidence cracked me up , I had no idea either of you were local.

    The bread came out great, I made one loaf, and one pizza, and both are already gone.

    If either Jeff or Zoe want to talk bread, stop in at the starbucks on grand and victoria, ask for Riley, and I’ll buy you a cup of coffee.

    Thanks again for an awesome book, I can’t wait to make more of your recipes. =)

  30. Hi Riley,

    I teach at Cooks often and have visited that starbucks for years.

    So glad you are enjoying the bread!

    Cheers, Zoë

  31. I roll out my dough and poke a bunch of holes in it while it is on parchment paper – put in the oven for about 5 minutes or so — to get it started – then I take it out and put the toppings on it AFTER taking it off the parchment and putting some cornmeal on the peel – then it goes back into the oven directly on the stone to finish – – for me it works great ….

  32. Yay, Jeff and Zoe! I can’t believe you finally put up a discussion site about pizza. I wish I had checked in here earlier.

    I have become obsessed with pizza making. I have experimented with several of the doughs from the book and used different flour combinations. The lean Peasant Dough reciped made an awsome pizza. But the absolute best yet was the Olive Oil dough recipe using a combination of King Arthur’s Italian 00 Clone flour and their Durum Flour (2 cups Italian to every 1 cup Durum). This dough was somewhat wet and I was a little worried that it might be too stickly to roll out. But, lo and behold!, it turned out to be the most workable pizza dough I’d ever tried. After sitting in the fridge “ripening” for a couple of days, it was smooth, silky, and oh-so-stretchable. One-half pound dough stretched easily by both hand and roller into a beautiful 12 inch circle.

    I preheated my oven and stone to 500 degrees. Following the pizza-making technique from the new Cook’s Illustrated cookbook, I brushed on some olive oil, added the tomato sauce (I like Trader Joe’s pizza sauce), and the other toppings sparingly (chorizo, artichokes, roasted red peppers, kalamata olives) except for the mozzarella. It slid very easily from peel to stone, and I baked it for 6 minutes. Then I added the cheese (also sparingly), and some shredded basil leaves, and baked for an additional 6 minutes when the cheese was nice and bubbly.

    This yielded the most perfect, flavorful homemade pizza I’d ever had! The crust was crunchy-chewy on the rim, and crisp and thin on the bottom.

  33. My husband and I have been on a quest since we got married to perfect our pizza crust. I think we came pretty close using the semolina dough. I stretched it, and pre-baked it at 450 on a heated stone. Then I brushed it with olive oil, sprinkled with fresh rosemary and topped it. We usually use random left-overs to top our pizzas. This time it was London broil and jalapeno. It was fantastic.

  34. Started with all the bread recipes, moved on to pizza, and recently tried the pitas. They puffed up great. My favorite pizza is red sauce, artichoke hearts, black olives, mushrooms, and spinach with a little feta on top.

  35. Tonight I used the light whole wheat dough, and made a pizza with black olives, pesto and arugula. Delicious! I can’t thank you enough for this book! My family has voted that the portuguese broa dough makes the BEST pizza crust!

  36. Hannah, Jeff: I just bought a grill pizza stone from Crate and Barrel. Haven’t used it yet, but, it says that it’s non-absorbent and good to 1800°F. I have a charcoal grill, with less temperature control, so tolerance to extreme heat is a plus.

    I have a Williams-Sonoma stone in the oven. It replaced an old (10 years?) stone that split. It had a tiny hairline crack. When a little juice from a shrimp quesadilla found the crack… that’s all it took.

  37. My favorite pizza is pesto, bacon, shrimp, and mozzarella! It’s sublime, oven baked or grilled. I love being able to whip it up anytime with ABi5!

  38. We just used the olive oil dough for a margherita pizza – it had a wonderful taste! I’ve just returned from a visit to NYC where I ate pizza twice (Margherita) at John’s Pizzeria. This is the best pizza I have ever had! What can I do to get my crust more crispy? My oven will only heat to a little over 500 – I’m sure that is part of the problem. My crust was just a little too doughy – not crispy enough – but the taste was awesome. Any ideas? Too much flour? I tried to reduce the stickiness so it would be easier to roll out, and I may have overdone it.

    1. Gina: How about rolling out the dough thinner? Be patient with it, because it will resist you. The higher temp would help too. I’m assuming you have a baking stone. Jeff

  39. It did resist! I let it sit for a bit while I was trying to roll it out and that helped some, but I was afraid it was too thick. I do have a stone and rolled out the dough until it was a little bigger than the stone – guess I could have cut off too much dough to begin with though. I’ll try it thinner next time and see if I can get the heat up any higher. Thanks!

  40. Gina, I have found that instead of making one pizza with 1 lb of dough, you can roll it out thinner if you do two pizzas using 1/2 lb. dough for each. Also, I am absolutely in love with King Arthur’s Italiam 00 clone flour for making my pizza dough. Unlike using all purpose flour, the 00 flour is silky and stretchy to the max and stretches out into a thin, thin circle with a minimum of resistance. I use 4 1/4 cups 00 flour and 2 1/4 cups KA durum flour for the best pizza dough ever. If you’ve never mail ordered you flour from King Arthur, give it a shot. Using the different flours really makes a difference. Enjoy!

  41. Skillet Pizza for the Outdoors Deprived! Since I live in an apartment without access to a patio or backyard where I can have a grill, I can’t make the grilled pizza in the summer. Neither do I want to turn my oven on full-blast on a hot July day. So, with some experimentation, I came up with a technique, based on the AB5 technique for stove-top naan, which makes perfect personal stove-top pizzas in a skillet.

    You can use any pizza dough or any of the doughs recommended for the naan. Heat up a heavy, covered 12-inch skillet or everyday pan (I use my Cuisinart hard-anodized nonstick 12-inch everyday pan) and use olive oil to glaze the pan instead of ghee. Roll out 1/4 lb. dough into a think circle, brush the top with olive oil, and add to the skillet. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 2 minutes or until it gets a little puffy, but not too much. Uncover and, working quickly, spread on tomatoe sauce (if desired), and whatever topping (I did mozzarella, chorizo slices, roasted pepper, and olives, but use your imagination). Put on the toppings sparingly, leaving dough surface exposed a bit. Cover and cook for about 4 minutes longer or until cheese is nicely melted.

    The bottom will be slightly chared in spots, and the top edges won’t brown, but they will be bubbly and crispy. These really are a wonderful quick summer dinner with a salad and a nice glass of wine.

  42. Sandy H, Thanks so much for the flour suggestions. All I have access to is regular KA flour, and I had not thought about mail ordering from them! I will get some Italian clone as well as durum and see what happens.

  43. My pleasure, Gina. I’ve become quite the King Arthur addict. They’re specialty flours are amazing and their shipping is fast.

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