When my wife wasn't able to knead dough any longer, I took over. First I made some pasta. Then I got tired of paying over $20 for a pizza and decided to start making pizzas again myself.
I made pizza many years ago following the recipes from The Complete Book of Pizza by Louise Love. The basic pizza dough and pizza sauce have always been good. That was a great start and we were saving money already.
As I made more pizzas, I wanted to keep improving. I discovered and bought The Pizza Bible by Tony Gemignani. This is an amazing book.
Tony Gemignani is a 13-time World Pizza Champion. If you only have one book on making pizza, this is the book to have.
As I keep improving my pizza skills, one thing I had to do was to convert to using weights instead of volume for measuring ingredients. I started by converting the old recipes to Baker Percentages. This makes your recipes much more accurate and consistent and it's easy to scale to any quantity you need.
Before you get started with making dough, you'll want to have the right equipment. Here's a list of what I personally use. I appreciate if you used the affiliate links as it helps support Aeromir.
- Baking Steel – $89 – The Original Ultra Conductive Pizza Stone – You MUST have this or the round one (I have both) This is a critical element! https://aeromir.com/bakingsteel https://aeromir.com/bakingsteelround
- Highly accurate kitchen scale – $14.98 – Brifit Digital Kitchen Scale, 500g/ 0.01g Mini Pocket – https://aeromir.com/miniscale
- Higher capacity kitchen scale – $11.99 – Digital Kitchen Scale by ZERLA – https://aeromir.com/scale
- Food preparation bowls – $19.99 – Mini 3.5 Inch Glass Bowls for Kitchen Prep. There are 12 bowls but I only have used a maximum of five at one time. https://aeromir.com/prepbowls
- Instant read thermometer – $99 – Thermapen® Mk4 – This is an essential kitchen item! I use it to measure water temperature and to perfectly cook steaks, chicken, even burgers on the grill! https://aeromir.com/thermapen
- Pizza Peel – $34.99 – Epicurean Pizza Peel, 21.5-Inch by 14-Inch. You need something to get the pizza on and off your baking steel. https://aeromir.com/pizzapeel
- Pizza Rocker – $44.98 – 20″ All Steel Rocker Knife. This is REALLY fun and easy to use. https://aeromir.com/pizzarocker
- Hygrometer – $39 – Measures humidity and temperature. Useful if your humidty varies https://aeromir.com/hygrometer
- Proofer – $169.95 – Brod & Taylor Folding Proofer. This helps the dough rise in a perfect environment. We use it daily. https://aeromir.com/proofer
- Danish Whisk – $11.90 – Danish Dough Whisk. This a pretty ingenious device. Useful for mixing any dough. https://aeromir.com/whisk
- Commercial Pizza Peel – $124.99 – GI Metal A-41RF/60 Azzurra 16” Anodized Aluminum Square Perforated Pizza Peel. This is a fantastic peel. It leaves very little flour on your baking steel! Makes cleanup MUCH easier. https://aeromir.com/pizzapeelcommercial
- Chopper – $9.49 – OXO Good Grips Multi-purpose Stainless Steel Scraper & Chopper. I use this for scraping the granite during and after kneading. It's also great for dividing all dough. I use this daily. https://aeromir.com/scraper
- Caputo '00' Pizzaria Flour – $27.99 – Antimo Caputo “00” Pizzeria Flour – 20 lbs. This is essential! This is outstanding pizza flour from Italy! It is 12.5% protein and excellent for bread as well. https://aeromir.com/pizzaflour
- Active Dry Yeast – $8.45 – Red Star Active Dry Yeast. I use this for pizza and bread. Used daily. https://aeromir.com/dryyeast
- Diastatic Malt – $10.99 – Hoosier Hill Farm Dry Malt (Diastatic) baking Powder. You don't use a lot of it but it's affordable. Helps the dough brown better in a home kitchen. https://aeromir.com/malt
- Fine Sea Salt – $10.99 – La Baleine French Fine Sea Salt. Used in all of my doughs. https://aeromir.com/seasalt
- Olive Oil – $14.98 – Pompeian Robust Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Used daily in many things. https://aeromir.com/oliveoil
Oregano – $8.15 – Oregano Leaves | 5 oz – 142 g , Bulk | Mediterranean Natural Leaf |100% Natural Dried Oregano Leaves https://aeromir.com/oregano
- Whole Peeled Canned Tomatoes – $22 – Carmelina San Marzano Italian Whole Peeled Tomatoes in Puree, 28 ounce or SMT San Marzano Style Whole Peeled Tomatoes, 28 Ounce
- Fennel Seeds – $8.95 – Great Bazaar Swad Fennel Seeds. These are great on pizza! https://aeromir.com/fennelseeds
- Preserved Lemons – $19.99 – Casablanca Market Preserved Lemons. Don't put too much on. I use about 1/2 of a lemon diced per pizza. https://aeromir.com/lemons
- Crushed Calabria Peppers – $29.97 – Tutto Calabria Crushed Hot Chili Peppers 33.5 Ounce, These are VERY hot. Don't put too much on your pizza! https://aeromir.com/peppers
- Italian Green Olives – $38.41 – Partanna Premium Select Castelvetrano Whole Olives – 5.5 lbs. THIS IS A LOT OF OLIVES! Our son doesn't like olives but he said he could like these. They are amazing. https://aeromir.com/olives
- Mozzarella Cheese – $5.19 – Galbani Whole Milk Low Moisture Mozzarella Cheese, 16 Oz. We buy this at the local grocery store. https://aeromir.com/mozzarella
- Pepperoni – $10 – Local supplier (Ranch Foods Direct in Colorado Springs is amazing)
Making the Pizza Dough
Use Tom's Pizza Dough spreadsheet and determine how much of each ingredient you need. Measure them all in the prep bowls and get everything ready to go.
- In one of the prep bowls, add about 40-45 grams of warm water (90F) and add the yeast.
- Stir for 30-sec with a whisk or fork
- Let it rest for at least 5-minutes
- In a mixing bowl, add the flour, malt and extra virgin olive oil. DO NOT add the salt yet. (Yeast hates salt)
- Combine with your Danish whisk or in a mixer.
- Add the rest of the water and mix slightly
- When the yeast has rested for 5-minutes, add to the flour mixture and sprinkle the salt on top.
- Stir until combined
- Empty the mixing bowl contents on to a surface to knead the dough
- Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes until it is a smooth consistency. Mine is very soft and smooth.
- Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel or put in a proofer for at least 90-minutes.
After the dough is proofed
- Sprinkle flour on your work surface and pizza peel
- Place the proofed dough on your work surface and form it into a round pie shape. You can use a rolling pin but don't go to the edge of the dough as you'll press all of the air out of the dough. Watch how Chef Tony kneads dough below and how to form the pie:
Making the Pizza Sauce
The pizza sauce is uncooked beforehand and is very easy to make.
- Get a 28-oz can of Whole Peeled Tomatoes.
- Pinch off the hard ends and remove the stems and seeds. Hand crush the tomatoes in a pot. You can drain the fluid from inside of the tomatoes if desired
- Use an immersion blender to blend to desired consistency.
- Add 28 grams of salt (we use about 5-7 grams)
- Add some dry oregano (my wife omits this step)
- Add 15 grams of extra virgin olive oil
- Stir the mixture
- Add some basil to taste (my wife omits this step too)
- Stir the mixture
- You're done!
Making the Garlic Oil
This one is really easy:
- Mince 5 grams of garlic (1-1/2 teaspoons)
- Add 55 grams of extra virgin olive oil (1/4 cup)
- Cover and place in your refrigerator for a day or two
After you take your cooked pizza out of the oven and cut it (I use my Pizza Rocker), drizzle some of this garlic oil over the pizza with a pastry brush. It's one of Chef Tony ‘s secret ingredients.
Assembling and Cooking the Pizza
I put my dough on the pizza peel and add ingredients from there:
- Take formed dough and place on pizza peel
- Give is a shake to make sure the dough isn't sticking to the pizza peel
- Add sauce evenly on the dough with a spoon in a circular motion
- Give the peel another shake to confirm that the dough is not sticking to the peel
- Add the grated cheese. Tony adds less cheese in the middle of the pizza as the cheese tends to melt back to the center.
- Add your toppings
- Use your fingers to tug on the dough to give it a nice rounded shape
- One last shake test
- In the oven it goes
In the oven
- Start a timer for six minutes
- I use a flashlight to check on the pizza without opening the door and letting the hot air out.
- After six minutes, take the pizza out and rotate it 180 degrees.
- I use two baking steels. The first half of the cook is on the top steel and the second half is on the bottom.
- Place the pizza back in the oven and monitor until it is done. You'll get a feel for your stove over time of exactly how much time you need to get the pizza to your desired doneness.
After it's cooked
- Use your pizza cutting tools (I love my 20″ rocker) to cut the pizza
- Drizzle the garlic oil on the pizza with a pastry brush
- Add pieces of basil leaves
- Sprinkle oregano and/or fennel seeds to taste
- You're ready to serve!
Making pizza is easy now. I can make dough in 20-minutes and be eating it in about 2-1/2 hours from start to finish. Having garlic oil in the fridge all of the time helps.
It's like anything else in life. The more you do something, the easier it becomes.
In The Pizza Bible, there are many many other tips, tricks, suggestions and recipes. I'm just past beginner and have a lot to learn. At least I'll be well fed on my journey!
Let me know how you're pizza are going below.