AndyTalk: Why You Should Make Pizza From Scratch

Categories: Chow Bella


Pizza - Pepperoni and Roasted Tomato - Cooked - IMG_1332.jpg
Andy Broder
Andy's Pepperoni and Roasted Tomato Pizza
​YOU SHOULD MAKE YOUR OWN PIZZA BECAUSE ...

IT'S FAST ... Depending on your speed in the kitchen you can make a pizza, dough and all, in 60 to 90 minutes. That's as long as it takes to get a pizza from a good place delivered on a busy night; and this will be hot when delivered to your table. With a food processor I can make 10 batches of dough in half an hour - in great part because I used to do a lot of pizza classes and played a game where I timed myself.

IT'S FRESH ... Instead of sauce, I use layers of fresh ingredients: tomatoes, herbs, peppers, mushrooms, onions, etc... I sauté onions and other non-tomato vegetable toppings while the dough rises, because it takes longer to caramelize them than it takes to cook a pizza. If I'm using dried herbs I add them to whatever I'm sautéing. If I'm ambitious I'll halve the tomatoes and roast them with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and a pinch of sugar.

YOU GET EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT ... I get as much prosciutto and pepperoni as I like - and I get the brands I prefer. (I like Boar's Head pepperoni because it doesn't have yellow dye #5 - and it's skinny - so I get lots of small slices that actually fit in my mouth when I take a bite). I don't like greasy pizza, so I'll put the sliced pepperoni in the oven for 3 - 4 minutes, and take it out and put it on napkins like bacon out of the pan. I can use cheese that has real flavor, like Gruyere or Manchego.

What follows is my step-by-step on how to make great pizza at home.

In a home oven with a pizza stone it's easy to make an excellent thin crust pizza. My dough recipe makes 3 to 4 pizzas; depending on size and thickness. If you want dough that's ready to use when you get home from work make it in the morning with cold water instead of warm, and let it rise in the refrigerator during the day.

Brush the dough lightly with olive oil, and top with fresh herbs (oregano in this pic). Fresh herbs on the bottom layer infuse the pizza with flavor; on top they just dry out.

Pizza Crust with Olive Oil and Oregano - IMG_1322.jpg
Andy Broder
​ When I pre-cook the pepperoni I add it after the herbs. When it's already crisp, as pictured here, I don't want it to burn.
Pizza Crust with Oil, Oregano, and Pepperoni - IMG_1326.jpg
Andy Broder
Add oven-roasted tomatoes cut side up, so the crust doesn't get soggy. When I use raw tomatoes I seed the tomatoes before thinly slicing; also to avoid soggy dough.
Pizza Crust w pepperoni & roasted tomatoes - IMG_1328.jpg
Andy Broder
Add the cheese and bake. This is a blend of Gruyere, Pecorino Romano, and Smoked Cheddar.
Pizza Crust - w cheese - last layer - IMG_1331.jpg
Andy Broder
I tend to be non-committal when people ask me what's my favorite food, because I like variety and hate pigeonholes. The true answer is pizza, because it offers infinite variety. And, there's something therapeutic about making even a single batch of dough from scratch.

Andy Broder is the chef/owner of AndyFood, A Culinary Studio.



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11 comments
Roro
Roro

I make a NY-style pizza using imported italian tomatoes (for the flavor) run through a food mill w/a little oragano and garlic. Add shredded whole milk mozzarella, drizzle w/olive oil. I cook directly on a pizza stone.

Important! I run my oven at 550 degrees which browns the crust on the bottom and cooks the whole thing in about 6 minutes..To ensure the proper temperature I use an infra-red thermometer (from an auto supply store) to check the temperature of the stone. When the oven beeps at 550, the stone will only be about 425 or so. It will take about a half-hour or so to get to 550' for proper cooking.

Andy Broder
Andy Broder

I'm glad.  If you've had "issues" with yeast do yourself a favor and use instant yeast - it's less fussy...

anybody
anybody

it is important to know to check the temperature of the stone since most do crack after 450 degrees also important to keep the stone seasoned or oiled

Andy Broder
Andy Broder

I totally agree about letting the pizza stone get hot - which takes a bit of time. 

Andy Broder
Andy Broder

Hmm - didn't know that about stones - I do mine at 500 with no problems.  I know that 1) most should be put in a cool oven and brought to temp as the oven heats and 2) once hot you should not move the stone until it cools...

Roro
Roro

I've got a "proofing box" which provides an optimum environment for dough to rise (85F & Humid). It takes about an hour for the dough to double. When I put the dough in the box, I start the oven on its' way to 550F. Checking with the IR thermometer, that's about a good time for that temp. The prrofing box works fantastically on bread too;

A link:

http://brodandtaylor.com/

anybody
anybody

last year I cracked my 10 yr old stone that I always kept in my oven,not sure if oven was too hot or I didn't keep stone oiled enough.

Andy Broder
Andy Broder

I have a cast-iron one now - and I keep it in the oven too...

Roro
Roro

I leave mine in the oven where it helps to stabilize the temperature.  It's also a good storage place and it always comes up to temperature gradually. It's been in there for years with no problems. I do take it out when necessary  to scrape any accumulations off. It can get yucky from a leaky pizza.

Andy Broder
Andy Broder

You've got all the tools, etc... for people w/o a proofing box the dishwasher, just after running a load of dishes is a nice warm, damp place for pizza dough to rise...

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