Making Pizza

mo makes pizza

Sure, I talk a lot about pizza, and I am often critical of it. So when our friend Mo suggested we try making some pizzas, I thought I’d try putting my money where my mouth is. I discovered something important: I’m much better at discussing other peoples’ pizza than creating my own.

We started with the sauce; Mo blended up some canned tomatoes and we added garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mo had gotten some pizza dough from a friend, both regular and whole wheat. Mo had also picked up some dough from a pizzeria, but it turned out to have been sitting in the fridge for too long and was unusable. Mo quickly (and professionally) rolled out the first chunk of dough. We all agreed that we should go simple with our first effort, and so we constructed the following:

first pizza pre-cooking

That’s sauce, mozzarella, basil, thinly sliced onions, a little sea salt and some olive oil. Of course, the single greatest obstacle to any home pizza maker is not having an oven that gets hot enough (unless you’re this guy). We turned up the oven as high as we could and let the pizza cook while we tried working with the whole wheat dough. The results of that first pizza:

first pizza, post-cooking

Here’s where I personally ran into some trouble. Despite my best efforts, I couldn’t get the whole wheat dough to roll out smoothly or in the proper shape. I ended up going for a rectangular pizza shape, because that’s what was happening with the pizza dough anyway. As Mo tried a few more toppings I decided to go for a white pizza, topped with mozzarella, olive oil, some fresh basil, some chopped olives, and plenty of sea salt. I call it “the Monstrosity” for obvious reasons.

my monstrosity

Too salty and dry, it wasn’t terrible but it certainly wasn’t pizza.

Luckily we made two more pizzas, and we got closer to our ideal on the final try. The dough was the right crispy texture, and the sauce had the right amount of saltiness to it.

final (and best) pizza

I think the lesson I learned was to leave the pizza making to the professionals. I like pizza way too much to ruin it like this again.


6 thoughts on “Making Pizza

  1. hey howie-

    great pix! gosh you’re much too kind in your post. while your great pix make the pizzas look much better they tasted, pls don’t hold back on your review!

    in my humble opinion, and in cooking and efforts to emulate our culinary heroes, the best praise is honest constructive criticism. our dough, though borrowed, was not right. it was past it’s prime, which made it difficult to work. i know we would have fared better with fresh dough. perhaps not as well as the pro’s – but well enough to surpass the pies above.

    cooking is a love – and making pizza is an art form. so i’m here to throw the gauntlet down and say let’s strip it back to basics. start with the mist crucial element – the dough. if you’re ever up for just making dough, let me know. in my quest to make great pizza – i think taking baby steps is the best approach. thanks for the praise, but call a spade a spade!


    1. @mo — i actually think you’re being too harsh (unless i have whitewashed the memory in the past couple of weeks, which is def. possible). true, the dough wasn’t great, and none of the pizzas were very good (except the last one, which i remember being pretty good), but nothing was terrible. well, maybe one or two of them was…


  2. well what was terrible for me – was not the sauce or the toppings. it was the dough. it was too yeasty, it was too gassy. did you not feel that way the next day? i sure did. i’m looking for the yeast that doesn’t overpower the taste of the dough. you posted some great links about yeast less dough – need to try those, as well as re-investing in a new pizza stone for the new oven at the apt. the old one was awful, hopefully that along with better dough will make a difference.

    yes, perhaps a bit over-critical, but with food it is the only way i know how to get better.


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