Pizza, with a nice crust


The most difficult part of making home-made pizza, is to get the crust to turn out right. I like the edges of the crust to be well browned, perhaps just a little charred in some spots, but still chewy, and not burned on the bottom, but nicely browned.

The main reason it is difficult to acheive this pizza parlor crust, is because most of us just have a normal oven at home, not a wood fired stone pizza oven with temperatures over 500° F. You also need to prepare your dough in just the right manner. Well, after some on-line research, and some experimentation, I've finally been able to make a pizza crust like you might get at a really good pizza place that has one of those wood fired ovens. So, what is my secret? I use a pizza stone and my gas grill, to cook the pizza!

You can still use your oven along with a pizza stone, but with lower temperatures, your pre-heat time, and cooking time will be longer.

This recipe makes enough dough for one 14-inch pizza. Some people like their pizza crust to be thinner, so you may want to adjust the amounts you use, or just roll (shape) the dough thinner to make a larger pizza.

What Flour to Use

Fante's in Philadelphia carries Dominick's High Gluten Pizza Flour, which I have used and works quite well. It is about $5.00 for three pounds and can be ordered online. But I've also had good results using Gold Medal Bread™ Flour, which you are more likely to find in your local super market. King Aurthur offers a number of flours that I would like to try including Italian style flour, Semolina flour, Durum flour, and Perfect Pizza blend flour. I have not tried them all, as they are a bit more expensive, and I would have to pay shipping costs since I cannot find them in local grocery stores.



2 cups high gluten flour
½ teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons sugar
1½ teaspoons instant yeast

1 teaspoon granulated garlic (optional)
1 Tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese (optional)


¾ cup warm water (105° F)
1 Tablespoon olive oil

Preparing the Dough

    Use one of these three methods:
  1. Automatic Bread Machine: The pizza dough can be made in an automatic bread machine. Just follow your machine's instructions and use the "dough" cycle or setting. For mine, I like to whisk all the dry ingredients together in a bowl, then put them in the bread machine, and then add the liquid ingredients, and run the machine.
  2. Electric Mixer: If you have an electric mixer that can handle dough, like a KitchenAid® mixer [], then, whisk all the dry ingredients together in the mixer bowl. Add the liquid ingredients and mix by hand until there is no dry flour in the bowl. At this point, allow the dough to rest for about 10 minutes, so the flour can absorb all the moisture. Use your mixer to knead the dough for about 15 minutes on the slowest speed. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let it rise at room temperature for 1½ hours. Knead again just until the dough is deflated.
  3. Hand Kneading: If you are hand kneading the dough, then in a large bowl, dissolve the salt, sugar, and yeast in the warm water. Add the olive oil, and flour, mixing until the flour forms a ball. At this point, allow the dough to rest for about 10 minutes, so the flour can absorb all the moisture. Hand knead for 30 minutes. Put the dough ball back in the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel and let it rise at room temperature for 1½ hours. Knead again just until the dough is deflated.

Put a Tablespoon of olive oil into a large coverable plastic container, like rubbermaid or tupperware. The container has to be large enough to handle the dough rising and expanding. Put your dough ball into the container turning in the olive oil to coat, then cover the bowl and store in the refrigerator overnight or longer. This allows the dough to develop better flavor and structure.

Cooking the Pizza

Two to four hours before you want to serve your pizza, take the dough out of the refrigerator, sprinkle a work surface with flour and work the dough to form a round, almost a ball, kind of flat shape, like a fat 6-inch frizbee. Allow the dough to rest for at least two, but up to four hours. This allows the dough to rise a little and become workable, so it can be shaped into a pizza shape. This is called proofing your dough.

Shortly before you want to cook your pizza, put your pizza-stone in your oven, or, as I do, on your grill, and start pre-heating it. You want the pizza stone to pre-heat to around 500° F. If you have an infra-red thermometer[Amazon], then you can use that to measure the temperature of the stone.

Wait until just before cooking your pizza to shape the dough and add the toppings. If you do this ahead of time, the dough will absorb the flour you add and become sticky and may stick to your pizza peel (the paddle you use to move the pizza) or stick to the pizza stone, and that would be bad.

Dust the surface where you are going to shape the dough with all purpose flour. Use your hands and fingers to press the dough into a flat round shape with a thicker edge to form the crust of the pizza. You can use a rolling pin if that helps to flatten and stretch the dough. When you are done you should have about a 14-inch circle, and the bottom of the crust should be dry and floury. You want it dry and floury on the bottom to keep it from sticking to your pizza peel and to keep it from sticking to the pizza stone. Also sprinkle your pizza peel with flour or corn meal to keep the pizza from sticking.

Put your pizza on your pizza stone and close your grill or oven, and watch it carefully, it only needs to cook from 3 to 8 minutes depending on the temperature in your grill or oven.

Toppings for the Pizza

The toppings you choose to put on your pizza depend on your personal taste. I will make a few recommendations though.

If you choose to put a red sauce on your pizza I recommend you try the best pizza sauce ever. It is my own recipe, and is quite easy to make but really tastes great.

I like to use a combination of cheeses for my pizza. I always use mozzarella, but usually combine it with other cheeses. I think the best mixture is about half mozzarella, a quarter provolone, and a quarter montery jack. Sprinkle a little grated parmesan over the top. This will give you great flavor and good browning.

Margherita Pizza (Pizza Margherita)

  • 1 Tablespoons Olive Oil (drizzle over pizza dough)
  • 2 cloves finely minced garlic, about two teaspoons
  • 4 oz mozzarella cheese, cut in thin slices, not shredded
  • 2 Tablespoons grated parmesan (sprinkled over entire pizza)
  • Fresh tomatoes - two small or 1 large, thinly sliced. (may want to dry these out)
  • Fresh coarsely ground black pepper
  • Fresh basil - about eight small leaves whole, or 4 large cut into about 4 pieces each (add after cooking)

Roll 14-inch pizza dough to the proper size and shape. Add ingredients in order listed here. Basil goes on after cooking pizza.

White Pizza

  • Mix next four ingredients and spread evenly over dough
    • 1 clove crushed garlic
    • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped parsley
    • ½ small (8 ounce) container ricotta cheese
    • Fresh coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil (drizzle on top of ricotta)
  • ½ cup shredded provolone
  • 1 Tablespoon minced fresh oregano
  • 2 Tablespoons grated parmesan (sprinkled over entire pizza)
  • ½ cup Sliced small baby portabella or white mushrooms
  • ½ cup Small broccoli florets, fresh or thawed from frozen

Roll 14-inch pizza dough to the proper size and shape. Add ingredients in order listed here. Spread the ricotta mixture so it is not too thick, you may have a bit left over.

Meat Lover's Pizza

  • ¼ to ½ cup pizza sauce
  • ¼ cup shredded mozzarella
  • ¼ cup shredded provolone
  • ¼ cup shredded Monterey jack or cheddar
  • ¼ cup Italian sausage (pre-cooked and crumbled)
  • ¼ cup bacon (pre-cooked but not crisp, and cut into 1 inch squares)
  • ¼ cup (20 slices) pepperoni (thinly sliced, add after cooking)

Roll 14-inch pizza dough to the proper size and shape. Add ingredients in order listed here. Go easy on the sauce. Too much sauce will make your pizza soggy. Add thinly sliced pepperoni to hot pizza immediately after cooking.

For all of the different kinds of pizza above, let the pizza rest and cool a few minutes after it comes out before you cut it, otherwise the toppings will stick to the cutting device and make a mess.