Learn how to make thin crust, delicious New York style pizza at home. This method produces a browned crust and a pizza with lots of flavor.
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Pizza should be simple to make at home, but it is one the most consistently terrible homemade meals out there. You have your puffy, uncooked dough, flavorless slices, soggy centers, and other disasters that seem to come out of the kitchen on a regular basis.
It took me about ten years of consistently trying to develop a method for actually delicious homemade pizza. But it was worth the trouble, because I can make three 13 inch pizzas for about a quarter of the price of take out. And it really is better.
I have a lot of pictures in this post, not to insult your intelligence, but because I had SO MUCH trouble with the details making pizza. Like…how do I get it in the oven? Where do I shape the dough? So I may have overdone it with the instructions!
What makes a good homemade pizza?
It’s mostly about the crust. First you need a good quality dough (I have a pizza dough recipe that I am very loyal to, but there are a lot out there.). The crust has to be thin and it has to be cooked all the way thorough and browned on the bottom. This is a must, and is where most homemade pizzas go wrong. They look nice on top but the crust is no good on the bottom.
The answer to this is cooking on a super hot surface, namely a pizza stone. There is no way around this. I like to have one that is at least 14 inches in each direction so you can make a good-sized pizza.
You will also need parchment paper. Supposedly there are people out there who can bake on a pizza stone without them, but I would not attempt it. Ever. Sheets that lay flat, instead of a roll, will make your life easier.
The pizza stone needs to be preheated for at least an hour, at 500 degrees, to get this really browned crust on the bottom. I know this sounds wasteful, but you can bake something else in the oven while the pizza stone is in there getting toasty. You can bake you cookies or whatever at a normal temperature, then turn your oven up to 500 degrees 30 minutes before baking the pizza.
Step by step New York style pizza
(If you are using my pizza dough recipe, it makes three pizzas. Each ball of dough is about 13 ounces. If you are using your own dough recipe, this will vary.)
To be able to stretch the dough thin, it needs to be relaxed. First, shape it into balls and then it rest at room temperature for an hour (and preheat your oven NOW, with the pizza stone in there.).
Now things get a little strange. I sprinkle cornmeal, black pepper, and onion powder onto a sheet of parchment paper to flavor the bottom of the crust and give it some texture.
Stretch the dough into discs, then into a 13 inch circle (or oval, depending on your pizza stone shape.). If it doesn’t stretch out easily, cover it and come back. It just needs to rest. Stretch it right on top of the parchment.
The rest is easy. Layer on your sauce, parmesan (don’t skimp!), mozzarella, and toppings.
Get a cutting board or pizza peel and slide it under the parchment.
And then slide it on to the pizza stone (which, as we’ve already discussed has been preheating for ONE FULL HOUR).
Okay. Now we bake. I like pizzas to be very done, but this is personal preference. Just check your bottom crust before you take it out.
Before you put the next pizza in, let your oven come back up to temperature. It will be hot in your kitchen. You’ll be okay.
Please try it! You’ll never spend 25 dollars on five dollars worth of cheese again.