Pizza discussion forum

pizza.jpg

(photo by Mark Luinenburg)

Some of our blog readers have noticed that we have lots of summertime posts and discussions on outdoor-grilled pizza and even desserts, and pastries, but we’ve never posted on baking pizza the old-fashioned way.  As summer comes upon us, believe me, there’ll be more and more that we do outside on the gas grill (I like the Weber grills for that, available at Amazon).

One thing I have to share:  Amazon has dropped the price on the Old Stone Oven pizza stone:  Click here to order.

So before it gets hot, let’s talk about indoor-baked pizza.  Our lean doughs make great pizza bases, and nicely tolerate a pre-heated stone up to 550 degrees F.  Use lots of flour and roll it out to 1/8-inch thick and you cannot miss (be patient).  What kinds of pizzas are people making?

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If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it with others using one of the social sharing buttons above. Thanks, Jeff and Zoë

118 thoughts on “Pizza discussion forum

  1. This isn’t pizza — but it is about pizza dough. We were out of bread yesterday, and rather than buy a packaged bread at the supermarket, I decided to see what would happen if I used my stored pizza dough to make a loaf-pan sandwich bread. It’s the olive oil dough made with the Italian 00 flour and durum flour. I following the timing for the “Crusty White Sandwich Bread” and darn it if it didn’t work! The bread rose beautifully in the pan and the bread has a custardy crumb and nice-sized sandwich slices. AB% techniques are so amazingly versatile!

  2. My teenage son (15) went to camp for 7 days. The day before he came home he called and asked if he could have a pizza party the next day (poor child was junk food deprived). I ended up making 4 batches of the pizza dough and had all his friends bring toppings. They all had a blast and have loved it! Many of his friends has since learned how to make the dough on their own! By the way it is now the only pizza allowed in our home.

    Thanks

  3. Recently I went to make the pizza on the grill (I’ve made many on the grill – it’s wonderful!) and my grill wouldn’t turn on. So, I came back inside and put the boule dough in a non-stick pan (sprayed with olive oil) on top of the stove, on medium high heat, and put the cover on. I had sprayed the dough with olive oil on both sides and sprinkled a little italian seasoning on the dough. I waited a few minutes, turned the dough over, sprinkled again with italian seasonings, and then added shredded mozzarella cheese and pepperoni. The cover went back on for a few minutes and it was wonderful! It was so good that my husband now makes his own individual pizza whenever the mood strikes! We have also made pizza with black olives, sliced tomato and breaded eggplant. Yummy!

    • Victoria: Absolutely– stove-top pizza works. It’s sort of related to the naan recipe, and works for the same reason. You can get away with a lot when the dough is rolled thin. Jeff

  4. Just made the first pesto of the season- it graced my first grilled pizza (ever!) and was super delicious. I got the dough a little thick- closer to 1/4″ and just kept the heat lower- about 400 instead of medium heat. Turned out perfect. No cooking inside this year!

  5. Have you thought of a follow up book on just flatbreads, sort of a “Flatbreads and Flavor” – like book but emphasizing ease of prep over travel stories and photos. My diet is full of beany dal dishes that are easy simple and cheap, and I would love to have a a selection of naans and other flatbreads to scoop with.

    Anyway, I think you are both geniuses. I used to be a practising doc too. My favorite quote is from a man named Gurdjieff, who was asked if cooking was a branch of medicine; he said no, medicine is a branch of cooking.

    Thanks again for making things simple!

    • Hi John,

      Thank you for the suggestion for a new book. It is certainly something we have talked about. The possibilities for pizzas and flatbreads are limitless. I’m mostly interested in doing the research for that book! ;)

      Happy Baking, Zoë

  6. What am I missing here? I can’t find a pizza dough recipe in the book.

    Should I use the boule recipe? If yes, do I cook directly on the stone with olive oil? Won’t the oil soak into the stone? What temp? Do I cook the crust before adding the toppings? How long? (etc etc etc)

    I guess I’m looking for basic step by step instructions for someone who has never done this before.

    BTW: We love the bread here and I just tried the Montreal bagels. YUM!

    • Hi David,

      I’ve made pizza out of the Master, Peasant, Olive oil and even Spinach Feta doughs. In other words it is really what you are in the mood for.

      Enjoy, Zoë

  7. LOVE the olive oil dough for pizza! Sometimes we do a traditional pepperoni and/or fresh mushrooms with mozzarella, but my husband has recently developed a love for bbq chicken pizza. I add shredded chicken, thin onions, bbq sauce, and shredded cheddar. Delish!

    Can’t thank you enough for this fantastic book. I keep saying I’m going to make more of the bread recipes but somehow I keep making the same 3 or 4 over and over and over again :)

  8. This is, hands down, the best pizza crust ever! And I’ve had a lot of pizzas over the years, lol. My neighbour and I often having baking competitions but after trying your recipe she ditched the one she had been using for years and is a true convert.

    For a little extra umphff I will rub the cut end of raw garlic around the crust (after toppings are on but before baking), then brush with olive oil and sprinkle a little freshly grated parm. Gives it a bread-stick like quality and you can dip your crust in sauce afterward!

    I make this olive oil dough recipe at least twice a month. Leftovers make great calzones or garlic bread sticks. Just had to say thanks from me and my family. Pizza night is our favourite night of the week now.

  9. Made the pizza for the first time the other night for a 4th of July party. Used the Master Recipe dough, and for the kids I just added a thin layer of plain tomato sauce out of those small cans, and a layer of sliced mozzarella. Everyone loved it, and my 6 year old niece summed it up with her comment: “this is better than real pizza!”

    I had some trouble rolling the dough thin enough, so it did not really get crispy on the bottom (was hoping for some char, but I guess the grill is the only way to get that?), but it was still delicious. I’m going to try Sandy’s Italian flour recipe next.

    • Chris: The usual solution if you’re having trouble getting it thin is to wait a bit as you’re working– let it rest for a while if it’s resisting and come back to it. Jeff

  10. Made two pizzas with mozza, mexican chorizo, onions, fresh tomatoes, and cilantro. It was amazing! Best homemade pizza I’ve made ever.
    Unfortunately, when I slid the first pizza onto the pre-heated stone, my stone busted in half. Thankfully, it’ll be replaced for free. I’m just wondering if anyone else has had a problem with refrigerated dough and their pizza stones?
    (Note: not to be discouraged, I threw pizza #2 onto the broken stone and it was gobbled up in no time.)

    • Dani: I haven’t had this problem. My first Williams-Sonoma stone lasted 11 years, cracked for no reason (hard use!), and then was replaced at one of the W-S stores, no questions asked. What brand are you using? Jeff

  11. How do you get the pizza to slide from the peel onto the stone?? I have a little trouble even with the smaller pita breads. They want to crumple in different places, so I can’t imagine what a whole pizza would do!!

    Do people pre-bake the crust, then add toppings?
    We tried using parchment, which was good, but not the crunchy effect we really like.

    Just LOVE the semolina durum recipe, but plan to branch out and try the olive oil for our next batch.

    Fantastic book.

    Please consider a You-tube video of your pizza process!

    • Hi Jane,

      If even your pitas are sticking, it sounds like you need to use more flour as you roll out the dough. You should have enough that it won’t stick to your hands, the counter or the rolling pin. You will also need to put plenty on the pizza peel to get it to slide off easily.

      Thanks, Zoë

  12. Hi,

    I love your book! Unfortunately, I had a problem with my pizza dough that I have also had with some of the other whole wheat…. I made the olive oil dough and substituted 1 cup of WW flour for the AP. We added about 1/4 cup extra water as it wasn’t as sticky as our regular dough. At that point it seemed like the same texture. However the dough developed a crust on top within about 3 hours (2 hours on the counter, 1 in the fridge). We still used the dough, but once we had to throw away a batch because the crust ended up going down about 75% of the way after a few days (that was the bran bread recipe). Any ideas how I can avoid this?? And as you can probably guess, I am really looking forward to HBin5!

    p.s. My neighbor was the videographer on the Tribune video! :)

    • Hi Bonnie,

      The first thing that comes to mind is that too much air is getting in to your bucket, which will cause a crust on the surface of the dough. You do need to leave the bucket cracked slightly, but only a hair’s width will do the trick. Too much and it will do as you describe.

      Tell Jenni we say HI! :)

      Thanks and let me know if this sounds like the issue.

      Thanks, Zoë

  13. Grilled pizzas are becoming quite a staple in our house! The poufs I mentioned earlier aren’t really a problem as the whole thing flattens when I turn it. We keep a light-wheat dough (with some almond meal replacing some AP flour) in the ‘fridge at all times.
    Favorite pizza: sauteed spinach, fresh garden tomatoes, mozzarella and oregano.
    Quickest popular pizza: Trader Joe’s Eggplant and Garlic spread with shredded goat’s-milk mozzarella.
    We’re all looking forward to the new book – Cheers! Linda

  14. We just started making pizza. I had a craving for one last week but only had the 100% whole wheat dough in the fridge, but I tried it anyway. I was skeptical at first, but it tasted really good! I had to turn the heat down to 500 halfway through cooking so it didn’t burn. I’ve made pizza since using the herbed boule dough, but rolled the dough out thinner than suggested in the book. The crust is wafer-thin, crispy, and absolutely delicious!

    • Angela: A one-pound piece of dough (grapefruit-sized) makes a 12 to 16-inch pizza, depending on how thin you roll it. Use less if you like the crust really thin. If you use a full-pound, it’s tempting to give up closer to 1/4-inch thick; the best pizzas are 1/8-inch thick. Jeff

  15. I am going to repost my question here as I can not find the original page that I posted on and it is a pizza related question.

    I am using the olive oil dough to make pizza and it tastes a little more yeasty than we are used to. Can I cut down on the yeast (I am currently using fleschimen’s rapid rise) or will the taste just mellow out if I let the dough sit in the fridge for a few days? I used mine immediately after the 2 hours.

    -thx

    • Hi Arthi,

      Thank you for trying the recipe. You most certainly can reduce the amount of yeast you use in the recipes. When you do so you will have to increase the resting times for the dough, depending on how much you reduce it by.

      Enjoy, Zoë

  16. Hi guys,

    Noticed a few comments about dough drying out in the fridge. I came up with a solution for covering the dough in the fridge. Initially I had the same problem as others with the dough developing a leathery crust and couldnt adjust the gap on the clip on lid of the container.
    Solution : Discarded the solid clip on lid and replaced it with a plastic bowl cover manufactured by “GLAD”. Placed a 1/4 inch cut with the point of a knife in each corner and voila!. Lets gasses out but keeps in moisture.
    The bowl cover is light plastic with a light elastic on the edge. Similar to a shower cap.

    Hope this helps someone.

    Regards Peter

    • Sandra: So long as the 100% is a non-sweetened version, you can bake at usual pizza temp and time. I particularly like this with spelt. If sweetened, it can tend to scorch– I don’t usually try pizza with a honey-sweetened WW, but if you do, try 400 degrees, maybe 425. The cheese will not caramelize all that nicely, but still a nice result. Jeff

  17. Thanks Jeff. I forgot about the honey. So do I make the whole wheat dough but omit the honey? Better yet, can I substitute the whole wheat with spelt? —- I should just go out and buy the new cookbook! I really want to incorporate more whole grains. Thanks, Sandra

  18. I find that my pizza toppings are done while the crust is still very light. Is my stone not hot enough or oven too hot? Any suggestions? This happened with and without parchment.

    • Margie: Best guess is that a longer pre-heat on the stone will help– at least a half-hour. My oven gets to 550F and that works well. Also, try the stone on the bottom shelf, that may be the most helpful suggestion of all . Jeff

  19. Hi Y’all,
    My question is about oven temps. My oven does heat to 700 degrees, and I am wondering what happens if you make a pizza with such a high temp? I only wonder because in the book you say in Naples Italy the ovens heat that high.

    Thanks,

    Vanessa

    • Vanessa: What happens is that you get a very authentic Neapolitan pizza, where the vegetable toppings like tomato just barely cook because it bakes so quickly. I’ve heard that at 800 degrees, the pizza takes only 90 seconds, so watch out. Also, the key to success is a thin crust, you must get it to 1/8-inch thick. Otherwise the outside will over-brown before the inside is done.

      See what you think and let us know. What kind of oven is this, brand, etc? Jeff

  20. Hi Jeff,
    So, I tried today after reading your post to set my range to 700, and sure enough the temp stayed at 550.

    Well, I called GE and they told me that the oven will only reach 550. Bummer, because you can program a higher temp, but it goes to the factory default setting.

    I can’t complain, the pizza was quite good.

    Vanessa

    • Vanessa: Funny– guess I’m not surprised. I’m quite pleased with my result at 550 and sounds like you are too. Easiest dinner in the world. Jeff

  21. Help! My pizza was a disaster. I used 1 week old dough from the master boule recipe. It was a wet/sticky mess. No amount of flour made it workable. After failing to get it to roll out, I let it rest and tried shaping it by hand; however, that didn’t go any better as it kept getting holes. I couldn’t get it to 1/8″ thickness, so it was more like 1/4″. What did I do wrong? My boules were perfect…so disappointed by the pizza experience.

    • Rebecca: A lot of people find that it’s a lot easier to get 1/4-inch thickness than 1/8-inch thickness when they’re first starting out learning the pizza method. But what you’re describing sounds like too-wet dough, which you can get away with in a boule, but not in something you roll out. First guess: are you using bleached flour rather than UNBLEACHED all-purpose? If not, we’ll take it from there… Jeff

  22. Nope…I’m using King Arthur Unbleached AP. Unfortunately, I live at 7500 ft in the high desert, so it’s not that I live in a humid climate either. I’m rather perplexed by the situation. Ive heard of the dough weeping, and I’m not sure what that means nor what caused it. I’m stumped.

    When I prepared the master recipe, I poured out my flour into a huge bowl and measured it out using the scoop/sweep method. I’m pretty sure that I used the correct amount of water/yeast/salt (I’m kind of OCD with baking measurements). I’d watched your video to see what the dough should look like, and it looked pretty close to the same consistency…Who knows?

    Thank you for working with me on this…We live in a little town with really poor pizza options, so I’m really hoping to be able to perfect pizza prep.

  23. I had not seen the high-altitude post…I’ll give it a read, and experiment a little with the dough…I’m hopeful that I can make it work.

  24. Just wanted to let you know that I have used the spinach feta dough for pizza and it turned out wonderful. Also, I love making a mexican pizza variation when I have left over chili. I put chili and cheddar on the dough and bake it. When it comes out I either top it with sour cream or a greek yogurt and fresh veggies…yum. I have many favorite pizza toppings… banana peppers, feta, zucchini, basil… can’t wait for the new book!

  25. I saw a recipe for this kind of pizza topping using a prebaked Boboli type crust and of course wanted to bake it with AB5 dough- it has
    goat cheese spread on top, then sauteed spinach and mushrooms… do you think I could put that on the raw crust and bake like a regular pizza, or would you recommend baking the crust first, then adding toppings? I have not baked a crust empty and did not know if it would puff up like a pita…
    Thanks as always for the help!

    • Hi Mandy,

      I would bake it right on the crust like a regular pizza and not bother with the extra step of blind baking the crust. The pizza sounds wonderful!

      Enjoy, Zoë

  26. Hi,
    I’m a little confused. Do I cook the dough for a little bit then add the toppings and finish cooking? Or do I just throw it all in together? Do I need to let the dough rest after rolling it out?
    Thanks for the help
    amy y

    • Amy: No rest is needed. If you follow our directions for thin crust (as in both books), and use toppings sparingly (not too thick), then crust doesn’t need pre-baking. Jeff

  27. I use the equivalent of one loaf to make two small pizzas. My trick is to cut the loaf in two and then let the dough sit out for some time, about 2 hours. I stretch it and then roll it out. Put pesto, blue cheese, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, andouille sausage and fresh parmessan on the dough. After letting the gas grille rise to about 600 degrees, I turn off the front burner and slide a single pizza on the grille. After 6-7 minutes I rotate the pizza and set the timer for another 6 minutes. It makes PERFECT pizza!!

  28. I used the olive oil dough this past weekend to make some homemade pizzas, and they turned out great. We used all 4 pounds to feed the family :D

    I tried hand tossing them, which worked…. okay. I seem to have trouble getting a nice even crust though, it gets very thin in the middle and pretty thick at the edges, I’m not sure what I’m doing wrong though, or how to fix it.

    Fwiw, I did the dough the day before, then at midday I split all the dough into balls that would prep in the fridge for a few hours, then to the counter for about an hour or so rise to room temp, and then tossed them. They tasted absolutely amazing, but the unevenness of the dough was a little frustrating.

    Any tips would be great.

    • Hi MommaBlogger,

      We are in the process of perfecting pizza crusts made from our dough for our 3rd book. If you are going to let the dough sit out for that long it will be softer and stickier than normal. I suggest that you use a lot of flour while handling, this will allow your hands to “slip” over the dough and not stick and rip it. I always start from the outside edge and move in, letting the weight of the dough stretch it out.

      Hope that helps and more will be to come in our 3rd book.

      Zoë

  29. I did use quite a bit of flour while handling (which made me look like a snow queen by the time I was done tossing the dough). I also used bread flour for higher gluten (I adjusted the recipe according to your instructions, I think 1/4 cup less or something like that).

    I’ve noticed a similar issue with my brioche dough though, it just seems like the dough is almost… clumpy, like I didn’t mix it quite well enough. I usually use a spatula or wooden spoon, but I’m thinking of trying it out in the mixer to see if that will make a difference.

    I usually flatten my dough balls into a disc, and then sort of clap them together between my palms while turning them, and let gravity pull the edges out for me, before I start tossing. I try to get as much centrifugal force as I can, but I had arm surgery a few weeks ago so it’s throwing me off :) I just feel like I’m missing something….

    The pizza was still amazing though :D

  30. Gluten is the key, I understand some people have allergies and have to avoid it but my experience with gluten free or low gluten pizza dough has been horrible.

    • Harrisburg: Our experience has been surprisingly positive. That’s not to say that GF pizzas aren’t a completely different food– they are. But since there are other strong flavors in pizza, you don’t miss the flavor of wheat as much as you do when the bread is unadorned.

      Texture is obviously completely different, of course…

  31. After trying about six pizzas, I still cannot make a decent gluten-free crust. And no matter what I do, they never come out round!

    • Hi Denise,

      I hope that you will find the g-f pizzas in our up coming book a change from the rest and easier to use. Hope it is worth the wait!

      Thanks, Zoë

  32. What can I substitute for the soy flour in the g-f olive oil bread? Can I substitute the eggs with the flax/warm water?

    Can the g-f olive oil dough get rolled out for pizza, par-baked and frozen? Or can I roll out the dough for pizza, top and freeze for later use? And if so, defrost or go straight to the oven?

    Thank you!

    • Rebecca: Try a quarter-cup extra of the rice flour, and a quarter-cup extra of the tapioca. But… you may also need to adjust the water and I don’t know in which direction. No two flour varieties absorb water exactly the same.

      Can’t see why you shouldn’t be able to parbake and freeze, unless those get too brittle, so that will also take a little trial and error. We haven’t tried either of these ideas of yours.

      But don’t defrost– assuming you’re rolling thin, you can top an bake. Jeff

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