Perfect Pizza

After years of trying, I think I’ve perfected the art of making homemade pizza.  When you live 22 miles from town you don’t order pizza and I’ve yet to find a frozen pizza I actually like–I’m open to suggestions!

I’ve always made my own sauce and it was always runny–well it seems I’ve been using the wrong tomato base! Recently ThisOldGal.com posted a recipe for Ultimate Pizza Sauce on her Facebook page and I saw the light!  Her sauce recipe uses tomato sauce and tomato paste–no canned tomatoes.  In Jill’s post she stated, “If you leave out the fennel seed the recipe will be delicious, but if you use the fennel seeds, the recipe will be absolutely incredible.” and she was absolutely right.  I’m not a fan of fennel but in that pizza sauce it was amazing!  I doubled the recipe and froze the remainder in one pizza portion sizes.

Crust was always an issue too–I didn’t want to spend too much time every Friday (our pizza day) making pizza dough.  I’m not a baker of the kind of bread which requires kneading–never have been.  So, for my dough I use a hunk of the Artisan Bread In Five Minutes A Day recipe.  If you are not familiar with this method, check out the cookbook link–I use these recipes for making all kinds of bread.

Getting the crust the perfect size and thickness was a big problem until I watched a video by Peter Reinhart.  Sometimes I still struggle and cuss but most of the time, it’s perfect using his method!

The one step in pizza making which frequently caused me to curse was getting the raw pizza off the pizza peel onto the hot baking stone.  I had another light bulb moment when reading someone’s recipe–“liberally sprinkle the pizza peel with corn meal.”  That word liberally has made all the difference in the world–Emmi and the Cowboy don’t have to hide any more on pizza making Fridays!

And then there are the tools–Making pizza crust with that perfect crunch requires the use of a pizza stone–a thick, heavy pizza stone and a very, very hot oven!  A 500 degree oven or grill if possible.  In summer I use the pizza stone on our Weber grill which has three burners and a thermostat I can watch.  I also use a wooden pizza peel for transferring the raw pizza to the hot pizza stone( liberally sprinkled with corn meal before I position the pizza dough!)

Add your desired toppings–I use onions/green peppers/pepperoni/seasoned hamburger/mushrooms and mozzarella cheese.  Onto the grill it goes and I watch it like a hawk–at 500 degrees the crust will burn quickly!  And, another reason to use the grill–all that liberally sprinkled cornmeal will sometimes slide off the pizza peel onto the surfaces of your very hot kitchen oven causing lots of smoke–not nice so I use the grill most of the time.

So, that’s probably more than you wanted to know about making pizza but I was lacking in subject matter tonight! 🙂 🙂

On another note–

 Yep, 34 degrees this morning!  Lonn had 29 degrees and our high reached only 70 degrees today–absolutely perfect weather!!

20 thoughts on “Perfect Pizza

  1. Wow, that’s one good looking pizza! I make a lot of pizzas and put everything on it like you did. I usually put the cheese on last but I think you added it sooner. It looks better than mine. I usually make and can my pizza sauce in the fall with our own garden stuff. Must try to add fennel to that next time.

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    1. It sounds more complicated than it really is–but then I love to cook! And yes, I put the sauce on first, cheese, toppings then a small amount of more cheese to “stick” down the toppings. It was so good and we have leftovers!

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  2. I just want to eat that pizza! It looks amazing!
    98° in Euless, TX today. Unbelievable that you still have cold weather. That would be nice right now. It’s going to be a long, hot summer!

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    1. It’s one of the things I’ve always loved about Montana–I don’t do heat and humidity any longer–we have cool mornings and evenings even when the temps get higher in late July and August. And seldom any humidity.

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  3. I guess we’ll just have to be near pizza shops:) That is a lot of work, but your pizza looks fabulous!! Yum! Lucky, Michael, to have such a persistent chef! Yes, your temps sound perfect to me!! I am glad we are in the cooler area of Washington. Some parts of western WA will hit the 90’s this weekend. Only 80 here tomorrow:)

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    1. Making pizza sounds way more complicated than it is–I like to have all the stuff made in advance–pizza sauce, seasoned hamburger from the freezer, etc. I told Mike yesterday–“I’ve decided my perfect temp is 70 degrees with a slight breeze!”

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  4. Amazing, Janna! I’ll just visit on your pizza day! I used to make homemade pizza on a regular basis. That was then. Pizza shops now. 🙂

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  5. First time posting but your pizza looks FANTASTIC !
    I live in Scottsdale,Az so Oregano’s is where I go for pizza…may go soon!
    The crowds are gone now for the summer so lots of parking and fast service.

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  6. Good to know what day of the week to time our next visit to Big Timber :-))) It’s wonderful when you find a recipe that really works! That’s definitely a nippy temp for almost Fourth of July – but so much better than the excessive heat.

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  7. Pretty chilly night! We’re predicted to go down to 45 here in NE Nebraska tonight. Strange summer for us.

    That pizza looks wonderful. I had bought pizza crust mix and Ragu pizza sauce when the almost-4-yr. old grandkids were coming to stay for a couple days. I thought maybe they would want to help make pizza, but they didn’t want pizza, so I made it up last night. OK, but your’s has to be miles better!

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    1. Thanks for the pizza compliment–I enjoy making things people love to eat. It’s unusual for us to be this chilly and for our daytime temps to be in the low 70’s–usually by this time of year I’m wishing our house was air conditioned!

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  8. I live 40 miles from the nearest town, Glacier Peak wilderness, Chelan and Wenatchee are the closest..Can you imagine how cold it would be if delivered?..I can’t stand frozen pies..I’ll ask for your # if I head towards Big Timber in the next few weeks..Maybe I’ll get lucky and it will be pizza night?……:+)…….
    Upriverdavid

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