After making pizza for the family for what has to be over a hundred times, I’ve come to the conclusion I have dozens of different ways of making pizza. It’s all based on what we have in the house, how much time we have, and how ambitious I am.
This article is a run-down of how to build a pizza from the bottom up, using various types of ingredients from the crust up to the cheese.
1. Dough from Scratch
Years ago I acquired a pizza dough recipe that I used quite often. It became even easier to make once we had a bread machine. I’ve gotten lazy, so don’t use the recipe as often as I use to. However, if you have a bread machine, using a dough recipe is the best way to go.
2. Dough Mix
Using a dough mix is almost from scratch, even though all you do is add water. While have used this option before, the taste isn’t something we are fond us.
3. Taco Shells
Yes, taco shells. Not only is it easiest because you don’t have to make it from scratch, but they make the best thin crust. You may have some lucky getting thin crust if you make it from scratch or with a dough mix, but it’s a whole lot of work.
3. Prepackaged Crusts
By far the easiest form of pizza crust, since all you do is to open the bag. If we in the mood for slightly thicker crusts than the taco shells can do, I will occasionally use one. Make absolutely sure you check the expiration date before using, though.
1. Homemade Sauce
There are dozens of fantastic recipes on the internet for homemade pizza sauce. This option was a favorite when we a tomato garden, and had plenty to spare. Adding our own blend of spices was lots of fun, too.
2. Canned Tomatoes
This happens to be our family’s favorite way of making sauce, since it seems to be a happy medium between homemade and premade. One regular sized can of Italian diced tomatoes is mixed with a tiny can of tomato paste to thicken it up. Your sauce might be a little chunky, though, so you may want to use a meat masher of sorts to mush up your chunks of tomatoes.
3. Spaghetti Sauce
At one point in time, pizza sauce was often hidden in an unknown location within the store. When I did manage to find it, I tried my hardest to remember its obscure hiding spot, but never would. This is why for years we used spaghetti sauce. As odd as it sounds, we still use this occasion. It gives the pizza a fantastically different flavor.
4. Pizza Sauce Jar/Bottle
Obviously, this is easiest solution for pizza sauce, and often times the best tasting. Brands are going to vary greatly in taste, so don’t judge this option solely based on one kind.
This would include pepperoni, Canadian bacon, hamburger, sausage (regular or Italian), or chicken.
2. Vegetables and Fruits
You can add sliced olives, sun dried tomatoes, mushrooms, pepper rings or jalapenos, or pineapple.
Pizza cheeses or Mozzarella are the two most often used, but sometimes we’ll also use a Colby Jack or yellow/white blend of cheeses. Generally, the white cheeses go on top layers, so it’s easier to tell when the pizza is finished. Grated Parisian cheese sprinkled over the top of your other shredded cheeses is a nice addition as well. We use no less than two 2-cup size packages of shredded cheese.
4. Additional Toppings
When we use milder ingredients, we often use spice blends on top when it’s ready to go in the oven. This would include garlic blends, additional Italian seasonings, or anything we think would make a delicious pizza even better.
Cooking Temps and Times
This is where it gets a little tricky. Since there are so many different types of ways you can build your pizza (from one layer of one topping, to four layers of ten toppings), the cooking temperatures and times are going to vary.
The rule of thumb I have always followed is setting thinner pizzas for higher temps (400*-450*), and pizzas heavy on toppings and layers at lower temps (325*-375*). I set it for 10-15 minutes, and then check it every 5 minutes until it’s done.
What comes next? Serve and eat, of course!