Yes indeed, tongue and cheek it is! Of course, you don’t want to ruin a homemade pizza, so yes, please do the opposite! I just have fun being sarcastic! Do indulge my quirkiness!
Load it Up With LOTS of Toppings
When I first started making my own homemade pizza, I committed this error many times. It’s tempting to add everything; however, it’s best to take the “less is more” approach. Try just two or three toppings and get creative. Apple and Gorgonzola anyone?!
Use The Wrong Flour
The wrong flour can take your pizza south pretty quickly. We recommend Antimo Caputo Pizzeria flour.
Don’t Make Your Oven Too Hot!
Whether you’re baking a pizza inside or outside, this mistake is one you don’t want to make. Your oven needs to be at least 600 degrees F or higher – preferably 700 degrees F to 800 degrees F. Anything less and you won’t get a crispy outside with a soft chewy inside. You’ll end up with a tougher, bread-like dough. This is the whole point in having a pizza oven which reaches those higher temps, while your indoor kitchen oven will max out at 500 or maybe 550 degrees Fahrenheit.
Make Sure to Burn Your Toppings
Some toppings are more likely to burn and need to be tucked under a layer of cheese for protection or added at the very end. Keep this is mind for delicate toppings like fresh herbs.
Be Sure to Use a Pre-Made Crust
No. Just no. If you’re in the mood for homemade pizza and don’t have time to make the dough from scratch, pick up some refrigerated pizza dough from the grocery store and go to town! Or, try calling your local bakery…we are fortunate to have one close to home that sells pizza dough made from artisanal flours like spelt and red fife (a triticale variety). You could also try calling a local pizzeria to see if they would sell you some of their dough. Shrink-wrapped or frozen crusts are disappointing and not worth it in the end.
Don’t Use Your Hands
A rolling pin may look like an easy out for rolling out that giant dough ball but using it will toughen the dough and pop all the beautiful bubbles inside making it dense and heavy. Instead, get your hands in there and start stretching. Using your hands also warms the dough which helps to develop the gluten.
Use a Whole Pile of Cheese
Anyone else choke on a triple cheese pizza as a kid? Seriously, I remember it like it was yesterday! Too much cheese will make your pie greasy and heavy (and choke-able). If you’re using shredded cheese, use just enough to cover the sauce. And don’t forget to experiment a bit by trying different cheeses together – Parmesan (not the shaky-out-of-the-can style), Gorgonzola, fresh Mozzarella, and Emmental are all excellent options that combine well.
Make Sure You Use Store-Bought Sauce
Canned sauce is convenient but full of sugar (and other undesirable ingredients). Nothing beats home-made. Try my simple recipe instead – mix together a 28 ounce can of whole, peeled plum tomatoes with 5 or 6 cloves of crushed fresh garlic, 2 teaspoons of balsamic vinegar, add some basil, salt and pepper (all to taste), some olive oil, and a wee bit of sugar or honey (no more than a teaspoon).
Check out our full recipe details here. When I have fresh romas from the garden, I substitute the canned ones for fresh. There are also a number of great recipes for sauce like this one from All Recipes.
You Need to Make Your Dough Super Thin
In your zeal to stretch out your dough to the perfect thickness, don’t overdo it. If you’re going for a thin crust take heed… Don’t go so thin that your dough tears. And if you can see through it, you’ve gone too far. A thin dough won’t even be able to support any sauce, let alone toppings! Try for 1/8 to 1/4 inch thickness for the perfect thin crust homemade pizza.
Your Dough Actually Needs to be Really Thick
Your stomach is grumbling and you want to eat…now! You grab a ball of pizza dough from the fridge, flour the counter and start stretching… the only problem is, it’s not stretching. Eventually, it flattens out a bit and you think good enough…I’m too hungry to wait. Stop. Don’t do it! You will end up with a boule-like pizza that is undercooked in the middle. Instead, let your dough rest and try again in 15 minutes when it has reached room temperature and the gluten has relaxed.
Please Don’t Use a Kitchen Scale
I’m a huge fan of using a kitchen scale. And when it comes to the perfect pie, a little knowledge will go a long way. This is my go-to chart for pizza dough weight to the size of the crust:
- 7 ounces (200 grams) pizza dough will make about a 10” crust
- 9 ounces (250 grams) pizza dough will make about a 12” to 14” crust
- 11 ounces (300 grams) pizza dough will make about a 16” crust
- The sizes are approximate as it depends on how thin or thick you want your crust.
Don’t Pre-Heat your Pizza Stone or Pan
A pizza stone can go a long way in making the crust of your pizza crispy, but not preheating it can spell disaster. A drastic change in temperature will cause the stone to break. It’s important that you set the stone in the oven once you’ve turned it on and let it heat up slowly as the oven heats.
Prepare your pizza on a pizza peel or parchment and transfer it onto the stone once the stone and your oven are ready (parchment can go right on the stone). Otherwise, sprinkled cornmeal is another great option between your pie dough and the peel and/or pizza stone. For best results, let the stone heat for about 30 minutes before using it.
If you’re using a pan, preheat it as well. It’s not susceptible to temperature fluctuation like the stone, but it will help the crust get lovely and crispy if it’s good and hot when the pizza hits it.
Don’t Bother Cleaning Your Oven
If you’re the happy owner of an outdoor pizza oven you will be rewarded with some amazing pizza perfection. Biting into a slice coated with ash on the bottom, however, is not ideal by any standard.
Once your oven is hot and you’ve raked your coals to the side, take your pizza peel and wrap the end of it with a damp towel. Rub the towel over the stone surface a couple of times to remove any ash, and you’ll be eating nothing but crust!
Once your pizza is out of the oven, be patient and let it cool before you slice it up and take a bite. The cheese needs to set up a bit and you don’t want to burn your mouth and ruin the whole meal!