We all love homemade pizza, but not everyone feels comfortable making their own dough. The good news is that we now have fresh pizza dough available in our grab-and-go cooler section! Homemade pizza dough only improves in texture if left to slowly rise in a refrigerator for a few days, which means that once you get home, the dough is ready for you to start experimenting with your favourite flavours and toppings. Our Market Chef Nick is Italian, so we are going to leave it to the expert to show you how to create an authentic pizza in your own home.
Working with Pizza Dough
Each package of dough is enough for two medium size, thin-crust pizzas. Remove the dough from the fridge and the plastic bag and divide in half. Reform the two halves into balls and place them on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Cover with a clean kitchen towel to ensure it doesn’t dry out. Rest the dough for 2 hours to allow the gluten proteins to relax. Otherwise, the dough will always try to snap back into shape as you work with it to stretch it out. Resting also allows the yeast and gases time to expand to increase elasticity and lightness so that the dough won’t be hard and chewy.
During the last hour of the resting time, prepare your oven. Place your pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 500 degrees F, or the highest setting, with the rack set about 8”, or ⅓ of the way from the top. It should be in the oven for 20-30 minutes to heat it. If you are using a baking sheet, place the rack in the middle of the oven but do not preheat the baking sheet.
Ready to Bake!
Dust your countertop, the back of the baking sheet, or pizza peel with cornmeal or flour. Generously flour both sides of the pizza ball.
Sprinkle a small handful of flour on your countertop, evenly spreading it out with your fingers. Stretch the dough to a 5-6” diameter, and using your index fingers, press a rim into the dough, about 1/2” from the edge. Gently flatten the center of the dough area with your fingertips, removing any air bubbles. Don’t use too much force.
Then pick the dough up and, with your thumbs in the 10 and 2 o’clock position, turn and stretch the dough (clockwise or counterclockwise). Gently rotate the dough in one direction and pull the dough from hand to hand as the dough hangs down. Imagine you are turning a steering wheel, using slight turns.
When the dough has stretched to 10-12” in diameter, lay it down on the flour-dusted pizza peel or baking tray. Be gentle; you want to deflate the dough as little as possible. Brush the rim of the dough with olive oil (optional) and sprinkle kosher salt over the surface of the dough (optional).
Dress the Pizza
When it comes to toppings, less is more so that you don’t weigh the dough down. It’s ideal to limit the toppings to 3 or 4, including sauce and cheese. Work quickly, so the dough doesn’t stick to the pizza peel or baking sheet. Keep a one-inch rim around the edge free of sauce or toppings.
Top With a Good Sauce
You’ll find a top-quality marinara sauce in our grab and go section, or choose one of the sauces in our grocery aisle. Use about a ½ cup of sauce per pizza. Other delicious options include pesto, your favourite BBQ sauce, or even Alfredo sauce.
Use Several Kinds of Cheeses
You can use up to three different kinds of cheeses for maximum flavour. But if you only have one type of cheese, choose a melty cheese, preferably a mozzarella.
A melty cheese: mozzarella, Monterey jack, provolone or ricotta.
A hard cheese: parmigiano, romano, asiago.
A favourite cheese: blue, feta, goat.
Meats, Chopped Vegetables and Fresh Herbs
Remember, less is more! Don’t load the pizza up with too many toppings. Choose just 2 or 3 of these.
Suggested toppings are thinly sliced Prosciutto, Lepp’s pizza pepperoni, caramelized onion, roasted red pepper or garlic, marinated or thinly sliced mushrooms, roasted garlic, broccoli rabe roasted with red chili pepper, basil, sweet baby tomatoes…use your imagination!
On a Pizza Stone
Load the pizza in the oven. Make sure to generously flour your pizza peel or pizza tray to ensure the pizza can slide easily off the tray and onto the pizza stone. Bake at 500 degrees for 3-5 minutes. The more toppings you put on the pizza, the longer it will take to bake.
If you feel the pizza isn’t crispy enough for your taste, turn the setting back to broil, and bake another 2-3 minutes: watch closely! Bake until the crust is blistery and cheese is bubbly. Remove pizza stone from the oven and, using a wide spatula, slide the pizza onto a cutting board. Allow to sit for 5-7 minutes before slicing to allow the cheese time to set. Return the stone to the oven and reheat for 3-5 minutes (on broil or bake setting) between pizzas.
On a Baking Sheet
Bake on a middle rack at 500 degrees until blistery and bubbly: 8-10 minutes. Enjoy!