Winter time is the best time of the year for baking. I love to warm up the house with fresh baked bread and fresh baked goods. My favorite is to bake pizza. During the Summer months I don’t do it a lot because it can be hot, especially in Arizona. But come fall, winter, and spring, we bake a lot of pizza. When the weather is perfect we love to bake the pizza outside, when it is a little colder and wintery we move indoors. Pizza making is the perfect gathering food. Everyone loves pizza and it can be very affordable and easy. I do it often enough that I have a pizza box in the fridge with all I need for making pizza and I just refill when needed and the dough is so easy to do.
I do have to say that as with everything in the kitchen, pizza making is the same, you need the proper equipment and ingredients for success. One of the reasons we order pizza out is it is easy and fast and we think we don’t have the time. I can assure you that once you have all the proper equipment and ingredients, pizza making at home is faster and cheaper than ordering out. Proper equipment would be a quality pizza stone, pizza paddle, hot oven, cutter, and parchment paper. Proper ingredients is really simple, quality flour and quality yeast are the most important ingredients.
Hot Oven: When using a pizza stone you need to preheat to 500 degrees making sure your stone is on the bottom rack. If you have a real true convection oven you can use two stones, but that only works well if you have a convection oven. Also if baking out side make sure your bbq has a lid that will hold in the heat. Hot is really the secret of a good pizza.
Pizza Cutter: It makes cutting it easier if you have a cutter, Knives just don’t do all that good for pizza’s.
Parchment Paper: I cannot tell you how important this is in making pizza. Parchment is not wax paper. Wax paper will start on fire at 500 degrees. Parchment paper allows you to make multiple pizzas. With a hot oven, they bake really fast, so having other pizza’s lined up on parchment paper really makes the job fast. You actually bake the pizza on the paper. So you roll out the dough, place it on the parchment and put on the toppings. Slide the paddle under the parchment and place the pizza on a hot stone. Amazing how much easier it can be with parchment. It does burn around the edges, so just throw it away and enjoy the pizza. Parchment also makes it easier to remove the pizza and your oven stone stays cleaner.
Quality Flour: I cannot stress how much of a difference quality flour makes when making pizza. I love the Honeyville Alta Artisan Flour. It is wonderful and can be ordered on line in a small bag. I go to the Honeyville store and pick up 50 lbs. because I adore the flour and use it a lot.
Quality Yeast: I love the SAF Instant Yeast. It is the best I have used. I do not like the small packets that other brands sell, it is to hit and miss. Sometimes it works and other times it doesn’t. Usually when you have guest over. So buy the good stuff and you never have to worry about failure. I store my yeast in the freezer in an airtight container.
2 cups Beer, room temp, a dark ale is great (don’t worry all the alcohol cooks out)