I try to have family dinners every other Sunday at my house.
This time I thought I would do a pizza theme and try our new Bella Cucina Pesto’s, Pizza Sauce and Bruschetta Mix that we now carry at Warmth Company.
I just bought a Blackstone Pizza Oven from Amazon.com and was also anxious to try it out on my family. I discovered that a pizza night is a great family bonding event even with all the little surprise that came along with it.
Surprise #1 was it was a lot more work than I thought! I made my own dough from “Homemade with Love” found at Warmth Company.
Homemade dough is the best but it is more work, a simple solution is store bought dough made fresh daily at Whole Foods.
The second surprise was how much everyone got into bringing their own favorite toppings.
For example, my son Nicholas bought a huge assortment of gourmet cheeses and his wife who cant eat cheese brought Annie’s Cashew sesame pimento spread.
Then it became a little bit of a competition as to who could make the best pizzas.
The combinations are endless and no two are alike. I’m sure if we keep doing it, it will become more and more interesting.
Pizza nights are perfect for families with varying dietary needs, including kids. Everyone gets it the way they like. We did opt that everyone had to share because the baking time per pizza was 8 minutes. I love my oven and it was worth the $450, for all of the great times we had and I know will continue.
10 Suggestions for a successful pizza at home
1. Have a test run with you and a loved one.
It takes some practice to get your pizza right. From the dough to the toppings its not as easy as you would hope.
2. Keep It Simple
The first few times it takes some getting used to getting the timing right. Keeping it simple will help in finding your process.
3. Give yourself plenty of time, sometimes its….a WHOLE AFTERNOON!
Regardless if you buy your dough or make it yourself, you will need to give yourself a few hours of prep just for the pizza making.
4. Let your dough come to room temperature!
If you try to manipulate the dough when it is too cold it will never roll out and once you begin the process of rolling it out, you have started to activate the yeast. Its best to give it 2 hours on your counter before you begin the process.
5. Make sure you roll the dough thin….but not too thin!
The thicker your dough, the longer it will need to cook all the way through. You then have to be carefull that you dont burn the bottom of the crust or over cook the toppings. Long story short, at first go for a thinner crust.
6. Do not overload with ingredients… Especially SAUCE
To much sauce makes for a VERY soggy pizza and too many ingredients may cause issues with cooking times and done”ness”. If there is too much on the pizza it may not heat all the way through and too much weight on your pizza it makes it incredibly hard to eat.
7. UTENSILS, UTENSILS, UTENSILS
It seems crazy but all said and done it will feel as though you have used every utensil in your house. From cutting boards to anything flat you can find!
NOTE TO SELF… WOOD is good, plastic melts!
You will want to have a good amount of pizza stones, cutting boards, flat platters, pizza peels, or my choice piece… upside down baking sheet! You will need to slide the pizza into and out of the oven (if you don’t use a pizza stone).
I find what works best is use a little cornmeal between the board and the dough (helps the raw dough slide right into the oven).
8. GRILL VS. OVEN
A technique for making pizza is to pre-grill your dough and finish it in the oven, there are some important things to know before you begin.
You will need to oil both sides of the dough so that it does not stick to your grill.
The best technique I have found is to roll out your dough on a flexible cutting board making sure to have a good layer of cornmeal between your board and the dough.
Spread oil on one side of the dough. Then, flip the dough onto the grill, oil side down. This takes a little practice but if you do it fast it should work. Then “peel back the cutting board” making sure non of the dough has stuck to the board.
Once you have the dough successfully on the grill, you will need to oil the other side of the dough. On Med-High heat you will have about 2-3 mins before you need to flip your dough.
The first side to hit the grill should be slightly more well done then the other side. This well done side will then become the side that you put all your ingredients on. The other side will finish cooking once your toppings are on.
9. Make sure you talk about your plans with the person in charge of the oven!
It requires coordination and its VERY helpful to have someone helping you do this. (My husband, who does not cook, was very into it which was a good thing because I NEEDED THE HELP!)
10. THE MOST IMPORTANT LESSON…..
MAKE ENOUGH SO THAT YOU HAVE LEFTOVERS!!!
Its a lot of work, yet a lot of fun and theres nothing worse then eating all the hot pizza and not having any cold pizza left the next morning 😉