It has taken me 7 years of researching, trial and error, but I've done it. I've finally mastered making the best pizza ever in my own home (in my humble opionion, of course ;-)). I've tried many pizza dough recipes, different ways of preparing the dough, different sauces, cooking methods, etc. There is some serious science in pizza making! If you are a fan of the New York style pizzas (crispy crust on the outside, while still soft on the inside), you'll want to keep reading. Go ahead and delete Dominos and Papa Johns from your phone because this pizza is not only better, but it takes just 8 minutes to cook!
The pizza peel is what will allow you to prep the pizza and slide it into and out of that hot oven. You need this because for the best pizza, you cannot prep and put that dough on a cold pan. Cold pans keep pizza from getting really crispy and it takes longer to bake.
Now about the pizza steel. Do you know why pizzas taste so good from your favorite pizza joints? Becasue that oven gets really, really hot. Our ovens at home do not get as hot. They can only go up to 500 or 550 degrees. That's where the steel comes in. The steel holds heat better, distributes it more evenly, and holds more heat than a pizza stone. The steel is heavy, thick, and going to last for years and years. If you like that light and crisp crust, you need a steel.
Ok, now to the pizza dough. You need to make your dough in advance (either the morning before dinner, or one or two days beforehand) and refridgerate it. If you cannot do this or are making pizza last minute, you can buy pizza dough at the grocery store. It's usually in the bakery isle.
Prepping and Baking
Next, take your cold dough out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter for a few minutes. You want to chill your dough after making it because the yeast does wonderful things in the process that makes the dough better. (Don't make me get all technical about this, just trust me.) You want to thaw it before forming it into your pizza pie shape because it's more pliable when it's thawed.
- If you have a bread maker, put all dough ingredients in, turn on the dough cycle, and walk away until it's done. If not... Dissolve the yeast and sugar in warm water and let sit for 10 minutes. Add in salt, oil, and 2 cups of flour and mix. Add in the remaining flour a little at a time, and knead the dough until it is no longer sticky. Form dough into a ball, and place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise for an hour or until doubled in size.
- After the bread maker has beeped and/or dough has risen: Punch dough down and reform into a ball. Place into a bowl that has been greased with oil. Flip dough over to coat it all with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours, or up to 2 days.
- Preheat oven to its highest setting (500 to 550 degrees). Place the pizza steel in the oven and let it cook for 45 minutes to an hour.
- When you are ready to make your pizza, take the dough out of the fridge and let it rest on the counter for 15 to 30 minutes.
- Coat a pizza peel with corn meal. Turn dough out on the peel and spread it into your desired crust thickness. Top with sauce, cheese, and desired toppings.
- Transfer the pizza onto the steel in the oven and bake for 8 minutes, or until crust is brown.