Learn how to make gourmet pizza at home, following this easy recipe, with detailed timeline and lots of tips and tricks for making the best pizza at home!
So much has changed recently and honestly, most days I'm not even sure what day of the week it is. I always seem to know when it's Friday, though and when it's Friday at my house, it's pretty much always pizza night!
I love pizza, so it's probably not surprising that I have spent a good deal of time perfecting my at-home pizza. So I thought I'd take a moment to document my easy process for anyone else looking to make gourmet pizza at home.
I'm using the term "gourmet" simply to distinguish it from the thicker, pepperoni-dotted and lotsa-cheese-topped pizza. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I enjoy that pizza, too. This is just a thinner, more sparsely topped kind of pizza that I most often like to make at home.
My pizza starts with No-Knead pizza dough, is topped with No-Cook Pizza Sauce (or use store-bought, if you prefer) and includes my favourite toppings. Feel free to top your pizza as you like.
Here are the ingredients you will need ...
For the dough:
- All-purpose flour or '00' Pizza flour
- Active dry yeast
For the sauce:
- Canned whole tomatoes
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Dried oregano
- Dried basil
For the toppings (or use what you like):
- Goat Cheese
- Shredded pizza mozzarella
- Fresh baby arugula
Here are the basics of a simple home pizza making toolkit ...
- Silicone bowl scraper: Optional, but recommended! A silicone bowl scraper is an inexpensive kitchen tool that more than earns it cost when it comes to dealing with sticky doughs like this pizza dough.
- Hot Oven: Ovens vary somewhat in their top temperature. Mine tops out at 500F. Whatever yours is, preheat it to the hottest temperature. Be sure to preheat the oven at least 30 minutes and more if you have the time.
- Pizza Stone or Baking Steel: I have both a ceramic pizza stone and a baking steel in my kitchen. They both produce great homemade pizza, so use what you have or prefer. If you have neither, simply use a large baking sheet, popping it in the hot oven 5-10 minutes before you are ready to bake your pizza.
- Parchment Paper: I think parchment paper is a "must" for homemade pizza. If you've ever attempted homemade pizza and had the toppings slide off and onto a hot pizza stone when you tried to put it in the oven, you'll appreciate what parchment paper brings to pizza making at home! I assemble my pizza on the parchment, then trim the parchment close to the pizza (so it doesn't scorch), then I transfer and bake all on top of the parchment. It's easy, fool-proof and the bottom of the pizza bakes up perfectly well on top of the parchment.
- Pizza Peel: Again, optional, but recommended. A pizza peel just makes transferring the pizza in and out of the oven so much easier.
- Step 1: Mix up the dough ingredients - In a large bowl. Dough will rise considerably, so be sure to use a large bowl! Cover tightly and leave on the counter to develop and rise.
Next day - 1 hour before you want to assemble your pizza:
- Step 2: Prepare your oven - Place a rack in the lower third of oven. I like to remove the top rack(s), so I don't have to worry about it being in the way when putting my pizza in or taking it out. PLACE YOUR PIZZA STONE INTO The COLD OVEN, then preheat the oven to it's hottest setting (500F-ish). Allow it to heat while your dough rests.
- Step 3: Prepare your pizza sauce (if making your own) - Take a minute to mix up your pizza sauce and set aside, so it is ready when you assemble your pizza.
- Step 4: Divide and Rest the Dough - Use a bowl scraper to scrape the dough from the bowl and onto a well-floured surface. Dust the top of the dough with more flour. Cut the dough into two equal pieces (for two 12-inch pizzas) or 4 equal pieces for four mini/individual pizzas. Gently form each piece into a ball, dusting with additional flour it it's too sticky to handle. Cover the balls with a clean towel and let rest/rise for 1 hour.
- Step 5: Shape the Dough - Dust a sheet of parchment paper with flour or cornmeal (make sure it's large enough for your finished pizza size). Take a ball of dough and place on your prepared parchment paper. Very gently, using just your fingertips so you don't deflate the dough too much, press and stretch the dough outward. If it doesn't seem to be getting larger easily, pick it up by the edge and just let it hang from your hand, allowing the weight of the dough to "stretch" it. Rotate around the edge of the dough, letting it stretch out from a different side. Place back on the parchment and finish shaping it. Once it is the desired size, add your toppings.
- Step 6: Add your Toppings - Spread pizza sauce on top of dough, leaving the edges bare about 1-inch in. Place 2-3 pieces of prosciutto on top (I like to twist them a bit, so they don't lay completely flat). Scatter goat cheese on top, then scatter a bit of mozzarella. Not too much. Just a bit to fill in some bare spots.
- Step 7: Bake your Pizza - Trim the parchment paper close to your finished pizza. Using a pizza peel, transfer the pizza on top of the parchment paper onto the hot baking stone in your preheated oven. Bake for about 8-10 minutes. If you like, you can carefully grab the edge of the parchment and tug it out from under the pizza, so the pizza finishes cooking directly on the pizza stone. Bake a few more minutes, until the underside is golden in spots and the edge of the pizza is dark in spots, about 12-15 minutes total. Time will vary, depending on the thickness of your pizza dough.
This fabulous No-Knead pizza dough comes from Jim Lahey and is the only pizza dough recipe I use!
If you forget to start your dough the night before, or if you just decide in the morning that you want pizza for dinner, all is not lost! Simply prepare the dough as directed, EXCEPT increase the yeast to 3/4 tsp. Mix and let stand at room temperature until close to dinnertime. Pick up the directions from there and you're good to go. It's important to note that this will work in a pinch, but when it comes to dough, time = flavour, so the less time your dough sits, the less flavour it will have. The long rise is best for best flavour, when and if you can, but this will work when needed.
Gourmet Homemade Pizza
- Parchment paper (recommended)
- Pizza stone or baking steel (recommended)
- Pizza Peel (recommended)
No-Knead Pizza Dough:
- 3 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (500g)
- 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (1g)
- 2 tsp fine sea salt (16g)
- 1 1/2 cups room temperature water (350g)
No-Cook Pizza Sauce:
- 28 oz canned whole tomatoes
- 1-2 cloves garlic peeled
- 1 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 tsp dried oregano leaves
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 6-8 slices Prosciutto
- 3 oz Goat Cheese
- 2-3 cups pizza mozzarella shredded
- Fresh baby arugula
Prepare the Dough (Approximately 18-24 hours ahead):
- In a large bowl (dough will rise considerably!), combine all the dough ingredients and stir well, until smooth. It will be stiff, but be sure all the flour is incorporated. Cover the bowl and let stand at room temperature approximately 18-24 hours. Doing this the night before is best.
Divide and rest the dough (Approximately 1 hour before you want to assemble your pizzas):
- Using a silicone bowl scraper, scrape the dough onto a well floured surface. It will seem very loose. That's normal. Dust the top of the dough with some flour, then use the bowl scraper or a bench scraper to roll the dough around a bit in the flour on the work surface, to coat thinly. Divide the dough into two equal pieces (or four, for mini pizzas). Shape each piece into a ball, then cover with a clean towel and let rest for 1 hour.
- Prepare your oven: Place your pizza stone into the cold oven on a rack in the lower third of the oven. I like to remove any top rack at this point, too, just to not have that obstacle when transferring the pizza into and out of the oven. Preheat oven to the highest setting, typically 500F. Let the oven preheat while your dough rests.
- Prepare your sauce: If you are making your own pizza sauce, prepare that when the dough is resting as well. Using a fine mesh strainer, drain the juice from the canned tomatoes, then gently squeeze the tomatoes to let some of the juice inside the tomatoes drain off as well. Place the tomatoes into a food processor, with the garlic, olive oil, spices and a generous pinch of salt. Pulse a few times, to break it up, but not so much that it is completely smooth. A few small pieces of tomato visible is about right. Set aside.
Shape the pizza:
- Dust a sheet of parchment paper with flour or cornmeal. Take a ball of dough and gently stretch it out a bit. Place it on your prepared parchment and gently, using just your fingertips so you don't deflate the dough too much, press and stretch outward to shape the pizza and make it bigger. If it seems to not be enlarging much, lift it up by the outside edge and let it hang in the air. The weight of the dough will stretch it out. Rotate around the edge and let it stretch in the same way. Return the dough to the parchment and finish stretching and shaping. If you like a thin crust pizza, your dough will need to be quite thin. Leave the outside edges thicker, for the lovely bubbly edge crust.
Add the toppings:
- Spread the pizza sauce on the dough. Place 2-3 slices of prosciutto onto the pizza. I like to twist it a bit so it doesn't lay flat on the sauce. This helps to get some lovely, crisp prosciutto as it bakes. Scatter some goat cheese on top, then some shredded mozzarella (not too much, just enough to fill in here and there).
- Bake your pizza:
- Trim the parchment paper close to your pizza, so there is little excess that might scorch in the hot oven. Using a pizza peel, transfer your pizza on top of the parchment paper and onto the hot pizza stone. Allow to bake 7-8 minutes. If you like, you can very carefully pull the parchment paper out from under the pizza at this point. Allow the pizza to continue baking until the crust underneath has some good colour, the topping are bubbly and the top edges of the crust are quite dark in spots. Remove pizza to a cutting board and allow to rest a couple of minutes. Top with fresh arugula to serve.