With the gooey cheese, crispy crust, zesty tomato sauce, and other amazing flavors meeting together in your mouth, pizza has made a name for itself as the quintessential comfort food — and comfort is something we’re all seriously craving right now.
In the midst of us all hunkering down at home and not going out to eat, DIY pizza kits have been popping up everywhere, making for an easy way for people to bring Friday pizza night to their own kitchens. Not only is making your own ’za a collaborative activity that’s perfect for date night or family fun night, but it leaves lots of room for creativity and the final product is always delicious.
From crafting your own dough from scratch, to choosing toppings, and pairing it all with your favorite wines, Salvatore Polizzi, owner of Tony’s Pizzeria & Restaurant in Brooklyn, NY and creator of his own Pizza School Kit, delivers your ultimate crash course to having a DIY pizza night at home.
What You’ll Need To DIY Pizza
Courtesy of Polizzi, here is your go-to shopping list for every tool and ingredient you’ll need for making your own pizza at home:
- Dough: You can always buy premade dough or crust at your grocery store (Trader Joe’s fresh pizza dough, Pillsbury canned classic pizza dough, and Caulipower crusts are all solid options) If you’re making your own dough, you’ll need:
- Tomato sauce: Marinara works, but Polizzi suggests using pizza sauce because it’s lighter.
- Cheese: You can use fresh mozzarella that’s sliced into large circles or diced into cubes (Supremo Italiano is priced well and great for baking), or shredded mozzarella (low moisture, part-whole-part-skim milk blends are best).
- Parmesan cheese, oregano, and garlic as “finishers.”
- Optional: Toppings of your choice!
How To Make Your Own Pizza Dough
If you’re feeling authentic and want to try your hand at crafting your own pizza dough with the above ingredients, Polizzi dishes on how to make a Neapolitan-style dough recipe in just four easy-to-master steps.
1. Add room temperature water, yeast, and about 20% of flour together into a bowl; mix well and let the mixture rest for an hour.
2. Next, add the remaining flour, salt, and olive oil together to the bowl. Work the mixture together with your hands by consistently folding and kneading; keep doing this until the dough forms a nice ball with a soft bounce to it.
3. Wrap the big ball of dough in a towel and let it rest for about two to three hours; after that, cut it up into six or seven smaller pieces (each one of these makes a 12-inch personal pizza).
4. Tightly wrap these dough balls in plastic wrap and refrigerate them for 24 hours before using.
How To Prepare And Cook Your Homemade Pizza
Ready to channel your inner pizzaiolo/a? (That’s Italian for “pizza making chef.”) In six simple steps, Polizzi shares how to turn your ball of fresh dough and some simple ingredients into a crispy, golden, cheesy masterpiece right in the comfort of your own kitchen.
1. Plan ahead. Take your tough balls of dough out of the refrigerator two to three hours prior so that it’s room temp during preparation. When it’s go-time, preheat your oven to 400 to 450 degrees.
2. Prepare your dough. Lightly flour your dough ball and your aluminum baking pan. Begin to gently stretch your dough outwards in a circular motion with your fingertips, until it’s all even and about 10 to 12 inches in diameter. Whatever you do, don’t poke your fingers through the dough! (Go ’head: Flip and spin it in the air if you’re feeling brave.)
3. Add sauce. Start with a small blob of sauce in the center of the pizza, gently working it outwards in a circular motion with the back of a spoon —don’t go all the way to the outer rim because that’s where the crust will rise. Also, be careful not to be too heavy-handed with sauce, which will make the dough wet and sticky; the goal is to be able to still see the base of the dough through the sauce layer.
4. Cheese time. Lightly and evenly spread your cheese of choice on top of the sauce — “lightly” is the key word here for the most appetizing results.
5. Go nuts with toppings (or don’t). Finally, don’t forget your pizza garnishes. Want to keep it simple but amazing? Polizzi suggests finishing things off with Parmesan cheese, oregano, and garlic, which “bring out the flavors in both the cheese and sauce and give your pizza some incredible depth.” Otherwise, toss on whatever meats, veggies, and add-ons you crave.
6. Get cooking! Place your pizza in the heated oven to cook for eight to 12 minutes. Check on your creation every few minutes, rotating the pan in the oven so your ’za cooks evenly. Once it turns golden brown, remove your pizza from the oven, slice it with your pizza cutter, and enjoy.
Get Creative With Pizza Toppings
There’s something to be said about a no-frills classic pizza that allows its simple ingredients to speak for themselves. However, sometimes it’s fun to listen to your heart (and tastebuds!) and pile your pizza high with whatever specialty ingredients you please. Here’s some creative pizza topping inspiration to get you started:
For all you carnivores, make it meaty with loads of pepperoni, spicy sausage, bacon, and/or ground beef.
Vegans can have pizza too! Skip the cheese all together, spread the sauce (or hummus) on the dough, and sprinkle it with an array of chopped veggies like broccoli, colorful peppers, onions, squash, Brussels sprouts, olives — you name it.
When you can’t decide between wings and pizza, make it a hybrid with breaded, marinated Buffalo chicken pieces on top of your motz.
Feeling festive for Cinco de Mayo? Polizzi gets clever with sauteed onions, jalapeño peppers, spicy chorizo sausage, plus mozzarella and cheddar cheeses.
Yes, you can have pizza for breakfast. Top things off with shredded hash browns, fried eggs, bacon, and ham.
Hawaiian pizza can be polarizing, but if you’re into sweet-and-savory, garnish your ’za with ham and pineapple.