There was a day not that long ago when I cooked and baked just because I liked it. We still love to bake now, but our main goal is to create and test recipes that we think you will love and that we like to eat. Back about 10 years ago I was on a mission to find the best pizza crust and the best pizza sauce recipes. You see, I’ve lived in the country most of my life and pizza delivery was not usually an option. I can probably count on two hands the amount of times I’ve had pizza delivered to my front door in my entire life. Sad? Nope, not at all. If I was used to delivery pizza, I wouldn’t have found these amazing recipes and created our own delivery-style pizza at home. When I crave pizza, it’s this pizza I want. Not restaurant pizza.
We’ve shared with you our best homemade pizza dough recipe and best homemade pizza sauce recipe. If you’ve never checked them out, do it now. Go ahead…here’s the pizza dough….and here’s the pizza sauce. Just be sure to come back because we’ve got tips on how to use those recipes to make your pizza perfect! Oh, and be sure to use bread flour for your pizza dough. It will make so much more of a crispier crust.
After years of testing many recipes, we’ve deemed those exact recipes to be the best for our family. If you have a favorite sauce or dough recipe, don’t worry. You can still use these techniques to bake a pizza that will rival any pizza delivery service.
Wondering how to make perfect pizza at home? I’m glad you asked!
1. Use a pizza screen to bake your pizzas on. I know that some of you are totally set on pizza stones for making your pizza. We’ve used them too, and they’re good. But what we really love using is a pizza screen. You can buy these here in just about any size you want. We have a 16-inch screen for a nice size family pizza. It’s fun also to have personal size 8-inch pizza screens that the kids love for sleepovers and parties. Why use a pizza screen? Well, as you can see, the screen has holes in it, which allow the heat to circulate and cook the bottom of the pizza more evenly and give it a crispier crust. In our experimental days, we had way too many soggy crust pizzas. A crispy crust is the main reason why I love the screen. There’s no need to wash the screen after baking. It seasons as you use it. You can use a bit of canola oil or cooking spray the first time you use it, but I’ve never had the pizza stick and don’t ever grease the screen first.
2. You’ll want to roll or stretch out your pizza dough on a non-stick or floured surface before putting it on the screen. Your pizza will stick if you press it into the screen.
3. Once the dough is rolled or stretched to the thickness that you like (thicker for a thick crust pizza, thinner for a thin crust pizza…I’m brilliant…I know), pick it up and place it on the pizza screen. Remember…don’t press the dough once it is on the screen or the dough will stick in all of those little holes. Trust me. This happened to us one of the first times we used a screen. One of our dough recipes makes 1 thicker crusted 16-inch pizza or 5 thinner crusted 7″ pizzas. If we make a 16″ pizza, we normally make a smaller pizza, too, since we like our crust thinner and crispier.
4. Top your pizza with your favorite sauce or use a butter & garlic mixture for a white pizza. Then put whatever toppings on that you’d like! After your toppings are on, use a pastry brush to brush the edges of the crust with olive oil. Then sprinkle with garlic salt or Italian seasonings, whichever your choice. This is optional, but it does give the edges of the crust a blast of flavor.
5. Bake your pizza. Now this is one of the important parts. Set your oven to 550 degrees. If it doesn’t go to 550 degrees, set your oven to as high as it will go. Place the pizza on the second oven rack from the bottom. Trust me, it’s OK. The oven wouldn’t have that high of a setting if it wasn’t meant to go that high.
6. Bake your pizzas for 8-12 minutes. This all depends on the size of your pizza, the thickness of the crust, how many toppings you have, and how browned you like your pizza. I cooked these 7″ pizzas for 8 minutes. Just remember- the oven is hot. Watch your pizzas closely!
Look at that bubble on this pizza….
I don’t know about your house, in our house, those bubbles in the crust are the most sought after pizzas ever.
On your next pizza night, give these tips a try and let me know how your pizza turned out. Remember the steps: great dough recipe, savory sauce recipe, pizza screen, hot oven. And don’t forget the napkins for that gooey cheese!