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Pizzas I have learned....

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Javea Jim

Joined: 07 Jan 2007
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 6:01 am    Post subject: Pizzas I have learned.... Reply with quote

Pizza through the years....


I first started making Pizza from scratch in the mid '70's when we lived in Copper Harbor at the end of the Keewenaw Peninsula in the middle of Lake Superior. At that time we only went into town (we go town!) to shop every other week. I had a new daughter (Sara) and a very small income!

I was given a basic pizza dough recipe involving flour, water, oil, yeast and salt. The other advice was that it could only be made by males! A lot of my pizzas were "dinner pizzas" because of how much toppings we put on them and baked in the oven!

Here are some of the tricks that I've developed over the years.


- start out with warm ingredients
- a bit of brown sugar or honey or mollases helps keep your yeast happier
- stickier is better than stiffer (you can always add flour)
- a little powdered milk can add to your texture and flavor, I like the buttermilk powder as well.
- a dough that is refrigerated overnight will be better for pizza
- a touch of other flours can be a nice change (rye, whole wheat, wheat germ...)
- if you increase the whole wheat content, use a sponge or soak of the whole wheat flour overnight otherwise it will not rise as well.
- I like to let the rolled dough rise a bit before topping to get a loftier crust.
- If you can get some flour or cornmeal under the dough, it helps from sticking to the pan. (we used cookie sheets or a round pastry pan liner in the old days) Beyond cornmeal, I've also seen rice and wheat meals.


- we made our own sauces starting with canned tomatoes and still do (individually or combined use of diced tomatoes, sauce and paste). The trick is to mix or reduce to the right consistency - usually thicker with the water driven off.
- fresh tomatoes are great, but take the skins off.
- we add oregano, dried or fresh, as the base flavor but have also added basil and garlic to the base sauce.
- something sweet can help your tomato based sauces, like honey or brown sugar. An old chef once remarked to me that some tomato sauces can be "too sour".
- add some wine when reducing your sauce.
- make lots and save it in the freezer in small zip locs. (freeze in ice cube trays? for individual pizzas??)
- use pesto as an alternative to red sauces


- these fall into basic categories....cheeses, vegetables, proteins and flavors.

- I use a "logic sequence" when building a pizza. The first items on are the ones that I want to cook less or items that don't need pre cooked/drained bacon, tomatoe slices or pepperoni. I build to the top and end with things that can stand the heat peppers and onions.
- I started putting a little grated cheese on the dough first to keep it from sliding
- I've used a little cheese sprinked throughout to spread the flavor and glue the ingredients!

- for cheeses we've loved parmesan/romano, hard mozzarella, and cheddar. Of course soft fresh mozzarella and goat cheeses are great on top! Any cheese will work into a pizza somewhere! ( I try and put the harder/drier cheeses below so they melt and don't dry out/burn)

- for meats we've used pepperoni, chorizo, ham, bacon (cooked and drained first), proscuitto, chicken, pork, fresh egg, shrimp, you know the number one pizza ingredient in Japan is calamari (squid)?

- for vegetables.....diced or sliced.....tomatoes, onions, all color peppers, hot pepper rings, jalapenos, green onions, capers, squashes, mushrooms, eggplant, artichoke hearts, olives.....what do you like? brocolli?, cauliflower, .....anything goes..... In fact one of my favorite pizzas, the "Polish pizza" is done with saurkraut and smoked polish sausage where the cheese has melted down into the kraut....mmmmm

- for flavors....add a little of anything you like...ground black pepper, dollops of the tomato or pesto sauce, olive oil, BBQ sauce, balsamic vinegar, fresh basil, chives, fresh garlic, roasted garlic....again, these and a lot of things can be integrated into a great pizza.


Okay, that's a lot of stuff above but sometimes less is avoid overloading.

When we first started making pizzas in the oven, I learned to heat up the oven as hot as possible...550 degrees.....and put my pizzas on the bottom rack. These were thick pizzas and this technique allowed the bottoms to cook/brown without overdoing the top. I think this relates well now to doing pizza in the wood fired oven. With quicker cooking, you don't put as much on the top though!

In the wood fired oven you can turn your pizzas to get an even cooking and prevent burning of the fire side.

I like to let the pizza rest just a bit before cutting. Buy a commercial cutter!

We like to make small pizzas (6-8 inches) and make a variety of different types or just let people put on their own toppings for a fun party. Just put a few different toppings on each pizza.....they all any cold bits will be eaten before they leave!!

There are some thoughts I've learned through the years.....

May all your Pizzas be perfect......
May you have love, health, money....and time to enjoy it!!
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Joined: 19 Jun 2006
Posts: 701
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

PostPosted: Mon Jan 08, 2007 6:54 am    Post subject: Wonderful Pizza Tips and Tricks... Reply with quote

Thanks so much for this post Jim.

This is not only inside pizza tips but actually a clinic on how to make pizza.

I particularly enjoyed your comments about the wood fired oven.

One of my own personal goals is to have a wood fired oven.

Thanks agian for sharing your knowledge.

pizza on earth,

"Pizza on Earth...Good Will to All!"
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Joined: 12 Mar 2007
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2007 4:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't use a pizza stone, but I have
a convection oven that browns the crust evenly in a few minutes at the
BROIL setting. Because we (all my family) love our pies with a thin
crispy crust, I then turn the crust over and let the other side bake to
a light golden brown for another 3 or 4 minutes. I then turn the oven
down to a low setting to allow the cheese to melt and the ingredients to
become heated thoroughly and partially cooked before adding the sauce
and ingredients of choice. The pie cooks in about 4-5 minutes and has a
crunchy crust. Just thought I'd pass this along to all pizza lovers who
make their pies at home. If anyone has a convection oven (mine is a
small table top model), give it a try if you love a thin crisp crust. As always, I drizzle a little olive oil on the finished pizza before slicing. Hope this is a helpful hint.
Guy Bellamy
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