Homemade pizza that’s taken over our lives

16 Feb

My attitude toward pizza was relatively neutral for the first quarter century of my life. My childhood memories of pizza strike me either as deliciously excellent or just plain gross.Delicious Franzone's pizza and not so delicious Ellio's While I always looked forward to Franzone’s pizza, with its sweet sauce swirled over salty cheese and to Ocean Pizza after a day spent playing on the raft at the beach house, I also remember suspiciously eyeing frozen and perfectly rectangular Ellio’s Pizza and cringing as Mansoor put mustard on his pizza during lunch in second grade.

It's alive!Then came Pizza a Casa. In year 26, I stumbled into pizza enlightenment, and now I am practically a prosthelytizer. Pizza a Casa is a fabulous pizza-focused cooking class on
NYC’s Lower East Side. Mark and Jenny, a terrific (and newly married – congrats!) couple have perfected the art of teaching a group of enthusiastic but unskilled tourists and natives the art of making homemade pizza. Mark and Jenny are pizza connoisseurs for sure, but their focus during the four hour class is imparting recipes, techniques, and tool recommendations that suit the average home cook in the average kitchen. No fancy brick oven in your microscopic New York kitchen? No problemo.

Confident in our pizza-making skills and happy with the results every time, we are now making pizza regularly. We have invested in a a proper pizza stone, peel, and kitchen scale, but other than that we get by with what we already had. We invite friends over for pizza parties, we make pizza for ourselves on stay-in weekend evenings, and we even pop frozen dough out on weeknights when we have a craving. It’s fun and easier than you think.Prepping and cooking our pizza

The Best Homemade Pizza Ever

Adapted the way we like it from Pizza a Casa’s guide to “Make Perfect Pizza at Home” – we highly recommend taking their class to learn the ropes!


  • Dough
    • 1 packet active dry yeast
    • 1 1/2 cups water that feels warm to the touch
    • Pinch of sugar
    • 20 ounces unbleached, all-purpose flour (~3 1/2 cups)
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    • Semolina flour (for sliding your pizza on and off the peel)
  • Sauce
    • Tomato puree (one big jar or can – whatever kind you like best)
    • Sugar and/or honey to taste (we put about 3-4 tablespoons of honey in a 28 ounce can of puree)
    • Minced garlic cloves to taste
  • Cheese and toppings
    • Any mozzarella you like, cut into 1 inch cubes (can be fresh or packaged, just make sure it’s not too watery)
    • Pecorino to grate over your pizza
    • Any toppings you want!

1. Put your pizza stone on a rack in the bottom-middle of your oven and preheat the oven to as high as it will go. Yes, it’s very hot.

2. Mix the yeast with the warm water and sugar in a small bowl. Stir gently to dissolve and let sit ~10 min or until the water is uniformly murky. Yeast are harder to kill than you think, so don’t worry about this step so much.

3. Mix the flour, salt, and olive oil.

4. Slowly mix in the yeast mixture, stirring until you form a ragged pile of dough. Knead the dough a little bit in the bowl to capture any extra flour or pieces of dough. Form a ball.

5. Remove the dough from the bowl and knead on a floured surface for 5 to 10 minutes until you have a smooth ball that bounces back when you poke it.

6. Cut into 4 even pieces and store in individually oiled tupperware containers for 60+ minutes until the dough has risen substantially and you are ready to make pizza.

7. For each ball of dough, stretch out on a floured counter and place on your peel that has been dusted with semolina flour.

8. Place pieces of mozzarella cheese on the dough (at least an inch around each piece), drizzle sauce on top (much less than you think you need), and grate pecorino over whole pizza including crust. Add any desired toppings (note: put any leafy toppings like basil, arugula on after the pizza comes out of the oven).

9. Slide pizza onto pizza stone and monitor for 7-12 minutes until the pizza looks done – slightly browned crust, bubbling cheese, etc.

10. Remove pizza from oven, top with fresh basil and a sprinkle of good olive oil.


One Response to “Homemade pizza that’s taken over our lives”


  1. Backyard pesto and hand cut pasta | palate gal - March 25, 2013

    […] our recent homemade pizza adventure, Palate Guy and I were left with a big bunch of basil. Even though it was the middle of winter, I […]

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