Pizza 101

artichoke mushroom pizza ready for oven

Pizza, Pizza, Pizza! We all love it! I used to be deathly afraid of working with dough. Even after taking Baking for Restaurants 1 at Culinary School, it still wasn’t my favorite task, but I did develop some confidence. All I really wanted was, at some point, to be able to know my amounts by heart and throw some dough together to make pizza for my family. It took me some time to find a recipe I liked, and then for it to work without fail.  Now, I make pizza in a flash and it is a regular Friday Night Pizza Night around my house. It’s been three years, and my technique and finished product are pretty darn good with a basic oven at 500 degrees and a well-used pizza stone. Get your peels dusted with corn meal.  Let’s make some dough!

The following photos are a pizza with ricotta/pesto, artichokes, mushrooms and some parmigiano.

Basic Pizza Dough

Makes 2 10″ pizzas

3 1/2 to 4 Cups King Arthur’s Bread Flour

1 1/4 tsp Sag-Instant yeast

12 oz warm water

2-3 tsp salt

1 tbls olive oil

corn meal



Place flour and salt into a bowl.  Mix water and yeast together, slowly add to the flour and mix with a fork until it’s almost together.  Lightly flour a board or your clean counter and knead using the heel of your hand, until dough becomes a ball.  Add a little flour as needed, until it doesn’t stick to the surface.  This step is where your comfort with the dough, and knowing what to look for, comes into play.  The “window pane test” helps. Stretch a little piece of dough, almost to the breaking point and see if you can “see through it.” Place some olive oil in the bowl and coat the dough ball.  I like to knead the oil in a bit as well. Cover with a damp paper towel and let it rise.  This will take about 1-2 hours depending on warmth and humidity. Once it has doubled in size, punch the dough down and let it rest until you are ready to make your pizza.

I preheat my oven to 500 degrees F.  You can roll out your dough, stretch it into your desired shape, whatever is easiest for you.  Dust your pizza peel with a little corn meal, it helps it slide onto your oven brick.  Top your pizza with your favorite items. Slide onto your pizza brick and 8 minutes later: Hooray! You made pizza!

*If using pesto, bake your crust first, them spread your pesto and finish with toppings. The pesto tends to burn if you do not bake the crust first.

The pizza below is pesto with artichokes, spinach and tomatoes.

pizza w pesto, artichokes, spinach and tomato

Here is a Jack favorite..mine as well.  Pizza Margherita!pizza margherita

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