January 11, 2018 at 7:36 am #10647
You may recall that I’m a fledgling pizza-maker, having made it only once. Today, I want to bake one with green peppers, onions, and double mushrooms. As I recall, one of you doesn’t saute the veggies before putting on pizza. That’d be my preference, but I wonder if raw veggies wouldn’t give off enough water to make the crust soggy. Do I need to worry about that?January 11, 2018 at 7:46 am #10648
I do not saute vegetables before I put them on. I made kalamata olives, orange peppers, red onions, and mushrooms last Sunday. It does make the pizza a little heavier and softer but everything is cut pretty fine it the crust is not soggy. I make it on a pizza stone so that may help absorb some of the water.
If I use pre-slice mushrooms I will break them up into smaller chunks.
If I am adding meat I do pre-cook the meat to 1) reduce the greasiness of the pizza and 2) make sure the meat is cooked through by the time the rest of the pizza is done.January 11, 2018 at 8:00 am #10650
I also do not saute any vegetables that I put on my pizza before baking. If I use ground turkey, I do saute it before topping the pizza. I like my mushrooms in thin slices, and my black olives halved.
I start by smearing some tomato paste from a tube onto the unbaked pizza crust. I sprinkle with garlic powder and Penzey’s Tuscan Seasoning (no salt). I then put the meat on, usually salami or ground turkey. If I use ground turkey, I usually sprinkle some fennel over it to imitate sausage, as ground turkey on its own is pretty flavorless. I then add the sliced mushroom, some chopped red bell pepper, the halved olives, and some sliced green onion. I sprinkle it with grated mozzarella cheese, then grate some parmesan on top. It’s important not to overdo the cheese.
My husband does not care for olives and does not use much of the red bell pepper. We found with his pizza that we need to bake it for 10 minutes, and then put the cheese on before baking it another 5 minutes. (He also puts on more cheese than I do and does not add the Parmesan.)
I use the KAF ultra-thin crust pizza, and I bake it on a pre-heated pizza stone.
As we like different toppings, I bake my husband’s pizza first, then mine. I need a way of keeping his warm while mine is baking. I only have the one oven. I tell him to go ahead and eat it, but he prefers to wait for mine to be done. Maybe I should top it with foil?
January 11, 2018 at 9:07 am #10659
- This reply was modified 11 months ago by BakerAunt.
Thanks, Aaron & BakerAunt. I’m glad I started a separate thread for this question so I can find it in the future. I’m glad you had success without sautéing the veggies. I just don’t want to do that after slicing them. It’s good you told me to cut them thin. Putting fennel on the ground turkey sounds like a winning idea.
BakerAunt, I always tent roast meat with foil while it rests and I finish the meal. It does keep the food hot. If you try foil, I’d just tent it. I think if you wrapped the pizza in foil that it’d get soggy, but what do I know? I’m just a fledgling pizza-maker.January 11, 2018 at 9:19 am #10661
BA, could you put a pan on your stove top on the lowest flame and put your husband’s pizza in it and cover it? Or if you have cast iron you could heat the cast iron while baking the pizza then turn off the heat when the pizza comes out and put it in the cast iron.
Fennel on turkey is a smart idea. It would work well on ground pork as well. Most Italian style sausages have fennel in them. So you could buy ground pork or ground turkey and add fennel, garlic (if you like that) and whatever else. When I was making Italian sausage mix (chicken or pork) we used salt, garlic powder, and fennel. Sweet sausage had demerara sugar and hot sausage had red chili flakes. I do not know exact amounts since it was pre-mixed.
I, like your husband, do not like olives. But the first two pizzas I make are cheese (my youngest will only eat cheese) and olive. I also make five pizzas and I do not do the layering BA does. I use to put vegetables on the sauce and cheese on the vegetables but my family likes it better with sauce, cheese, vegetables.
But that’s the beauty of making your own pizza – you can figure out what you like best and make it! We live in a town that has one pizza shop per person (I am only slightly exaggerating) and my family still cannot find a place they like better than what I make specifically for them. And, honestly, most of the pizza in our town is mediocre. Who says competition breeds excellence?January 11, 2018 at 10:05 am #10664
Lincoln has a lot of pizza places, too, but everybody seem to copy Valentino’s (which started in Lincoln) and most if not all use a sauce with garlic in it. We’ve taken to ordering pizza with NO sauce but a double or triple helping of tomatoes.
Onions don’t really sweat that much on pizza, but fresh mushrooms do. (Canned ones are already cooked, so they don’t sweat as much.) I like green or red pepper on my pizza, my wife likes pepperoni. Both of us like artichoke hearts on pizza. I’m looking into ways to be able to make pizza and stick to my low sodium diet. A light hand on the cheese and making my own sauce may work.January 11, 2018 at 11:51 am #10672
Anyone making their own cheese? Whole Foods has cheese making kits and I’ve always wanted to try it.January 11, 2018 at 12:07 pm #10674
I’ve made fresh ricotta by adding acid to warm milk and then straining it. It’s fascinating to watch and quite different in taste from the ricotta you buy at the store. One of the vendors at the local farmer’s market is an award-winning cheesemaker, she has her own herd of goats just so she has goat’s milk to make cheese from.
Some years ago when we were in Oregon we stopped by the Tilamook cheese plant and watched them ‘cheddar’ a batch of milk by heating it. It was interesting to see this big tray of milk turn into cheese curds as we watched.
The New England Cheesemaking Supply Company has a fascinating website. I buy cheesecloth from them because it’s far better and much cheaper than the stuff you can get at the store.January 11, 2018 at 12:20 pm #10675
You just reminded… I used to make my own paneer and tried to do some Indian cooking. It sounds similar to your ricotta process but I used yogurt instead of milk.
When I lived out west I was not a big fan of Tillamook dairy. Their cheeses seemed a little too bland. A Wisconsin friend of mine told me it was because Oregon didn’t have the hard winters that Wisconsin and New York and that affected the milk/cream. But that was a long time ago and cheese making in the US has changed dramatically so they have probably changed too.
Maybe I’ll try making some mozzarella. If I do I’ll post the results.January 11, 2018 at 1:52 pm #10678
Good question, Italiancook! I don’t pre- cook any of my veggies (onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, well, dehydrator-dried!, broccoli, artichokes, etc). I also do not pre-bake the crust. I make the sauce from tomatoes from my garden, and garlic, oregano, basil, thyme – whatever catches my eye on the spice racks. I layer the dough, sauce, meat, any veggies except the onions and peppers, and then mozzarella and cheddar cheese. The sliced onion and bell peppers go on top of the cheese, and then it is all sprinkled with some sort of pizza seasoning. One of my most favorite Christmas gifts ever was a Lodge pizza pan. Large, about 12-14 inches diameter, heavy, almost too heavy for me to lift – but makes a perfect crispy crust. We like a thick crust, but it’s gotta be crispy on the bottom and edge. I have only eaten pizza in a “pizza parlor” once in my over-70 years (Mike: ever go to Buffo’s, in Highwood?), a highly rated pizza place in a suburb just north of Chicago, and have once-in-a-while tasted pizza at office parties – the home-made version is so much better! The dough, the toppings, the cripsness, minimum salt, no grease! Does anyone make their own sausage? I’m thinking about that as a way to further reduce the salt. I’ve checked Penzey’s seasoning mixes, but the first ingredient listed is salt! But I don’t have a good formula for the spices and herbs to use. I’d love some suggestions.January 11, 2018 at 2:06 pm #10679
I know several people who make their own sausages. Some of them are deer hunters and that’s what they do with the deer they get during deer hunting season. (A terrible waste of venison, IMHO.)
But when I’ve had their sausage, it actually tasted saltier than the store ones.January 11, 2018 at 2:43 pm #10680
I just bought ground pork and I am going to try to make my own sausage this week. We are also having company so they will be subjected to my experiment! I think I need to make more dough too.January 11, 2018 at 2:44 pm #10681
Please tell me more about your Lodge Pizza Pan. I’ve admired it in stores but never used one. Do you preheat it like a pizza stone, or do you put it in the oven cold? I’ve used cast iron frying pans for deep dish pizza and love the handleJanuary 11, 2018 at 7:25 pm #10696
Skeptic, I can’t really express how much I love that pizza pan, even more than the two Lodge cast iron bread pans I have! I do not pre-heat it, it makes a very crisp crust, absolutely perfect, without pre-heating. It works even better than a regular cast iron skillet. I’d love to be able to get that crispness back when reheating leftovers the next day, but haven’t managed to get to that yet. I put so many toppings on a pizza that even with my peel it is difficult to transfer a loaded pizza to a stone or steel. It is a very large pan, so we always have leftovers. I’m lazy and love having leftovers, even when they are not as good as fresh. I love that it has handles on either side, making it easier and safer to handle in and out of a hot oven. The only problem with the pan is it weighs a ton! I have a lot of cast iron, so I’m used the weight, and would never let the weight stop me from using it. I did have a problem last month after surgery when I was not allowed to life anything heavy – but I just had to plan ahead or get help.January 11, 2018 at 7:42 pm #10697
Aaron, I’m anxious to hear how your sausage turns out. Mike, I married into a family of hunters, and have eaten a lot of venison sausage in my lifetime. We always took our deer to a butcher (not always a professional, trained butcher, it might be just another hunter who learned how to process the meat, and enjoyed doing it and earning extra money) and got roasts, steaks, ribs, stew meat, hamburg and sausage. It seemed that each butcher used a different recipe for the sausage, and there was some “competition” for who had the tastiest concoction! They usually had a “hot” and a “mild” version, and I recall they added some ground beef or maybe pork to the mix since venison is so lean. Tonight we actually had venison steak from my grand-daughter’s first deer, which you probably know is a right-of-passage in some parts of the country.January 11, 2018 at 8:35 pm #10699
Although I don’t hunt myself (I get too impatient and have trouble standing still that long), I know a lot of people who do (my wife works at the Ag college), and I know that rite of passage quite well, as I grew up in deer country in NW Illinois. We would get a lot of hunters coming out from Chicago, many of them clueless. I wondered if some of them knew which end of a rifle the bullets came out of.
There’s an old story about a farmer who was tired of having his cattle shot during deer season, so he painted COW on the side of them with whitewash. Didn’t help.
And there’s an even more extreme rite of passage among bow hunters when they get their first deer.
Tell your granddaughter congratulations!
Too many people just turn venison into sausage or burger meat. A venison roast is delicious, though it is so lean you often have to coat it with fat (like bacon strips) or bard it.January 13, 2018 at 5:43 pm #10742
I made my second pizza today. First time, I used a sauce recipe from a cooking site and didn’t like it. Today, I used my homemade tomato sauce, made just a tad bit thicker than I’d normally make it. The problem with both pizzas is that the sauce was too runny for the pizza. Next time, I’m going to do what BakerAunt does and smear tomato paste on it. The crust today seemed a little wet, which I assume was from the green peppers, onions and mushrooms. Next time, I’ll slice the mushrooms thinner.
The crust I used was KAF “The Easiest Pizza Crust You’ll Ever Make.” I made it without the optional Pizza Dough Flavor. I think that was a mistake.
The crust was not crisp enough to suit us, but I don’t have or want a pizza stone. Recipe instructions say to cook it on the pan if you don’t have a stone. Both times, I’ve used parchment in the pan for easy cleanup. Next time, I’m putting the pizza directly on the pan to see what will happen. I’m going to try one more pizza with this recipe (I have 2 rounds of dough in the freezer). Then I’m going to try the crust BakerAunt uses, unless it has ingredients I shouldn’t eat.
Bottom Line: I do not yet feel like a good pizza-maker, and if I don’t come up with a better pizza after 4 tries, I’m giving up on them.January 13, 2018 at 7:22 pm #10744
Don’t give up, Italian Cook! Only a couple of years ago did I find the pizza crust that I like. Only when I was trying to get around my husband’s dislike for tomato sauce did I hit upon the idea of using tomato paste. Pizza is an evolving journey.
You might still put your pizza crust on parchment, but after 5 minutes, slide it off the parchment onto the baking sheet.January 13, 2018 at 8:45 pm #10745
Italiancook, I should think you could make a whole wheat crust, maybe use a little semolina if you can eat that? I always add herbs and spices, like garlic and onion powder, Italian seasoning, oregano, basil, etc or a prepared pizza seasoning. We like the dough to be as tasty as the ingredients in the topping. Do you have a cast iron skillet? That would make a crispy crust. I’m not an expert, but I think tomato paste is a bit thicker than a prepared pizza sauce; if you can get your tomato sauce to the consistency of the paste, it might be what you’re looking for. I’m not sure why your toppings of onions, peppers, mushrooms made your crust too wet; I use those ingredients and my crust is never wet. My problem is finding the right temperature and time — the temp has to be high enough to make a crispy crust, but not so high that the center of the dough doesn’t cook through. I usually bake it at 400 for about 25 minutes, but always check the underside before saying it is ready.January 13, 2018 at 9:04 pm #10747
When I make pizza I get the oven as hot as I can, at least 500 degrees. A commercial pizza oven is probably going to be set at 650 degrees if not hotter than that.January 14, 2018 at 6:52 am #10749
By the light of day, all your comments make me feel less discouraged. I’ve decided to ditch the pizza dough in the freezer, since it has no flavor. I’ll try a couple different recipes that include flavor seasonings. Chocomouse, thanks for posting what you use. That will be my jump-start. Mike, I can’t use your pizza crust recipe, because it has cornmeal, which I shouldn’t eat.
Maybe the mushrooms and onions weren’t to blame on the moistness of the crust. Probably was the tomato sauce.January 14, 2018 at 7:34 am #10750
Also remember time adds flavor to your dough. There are dough recipes out there that recommend allowing your dough to proof over five days in a refrigerator. The sweet spot in our house is somewhere between 1.5 and 3 days. To shorten the time I now go for longer on the counter which requires less time in the refrigerator and makes for faster pizza dough. But it still always ages for at least a day and a half.
As BA said, this is an evolutionary process. I still change things from time to time and I try new things just for the sake of trying them. Most recently I’ve started adding chickpea flour to up the protein for my daughter who only eats pasta, bread, and pizza.January 15, 2018 at 5:46 am #10760
Made pizza last night. To echo some comments from Mike and BA – I use parchment. I roll out the dough and place it on parchment on a peel. Then I put sauce and cheese and toppings on and then slide the pizza onto the pizza stone. A cookie sheet or the pack of a sheet pan would work just as well as a peel. I cook the pizza on the parchment on the stone until the crust is set then slide the parchment out and give the pizza a turn.
I understand people who don’t like pizza stones and if I only used them when I was making bread or pizza I probably wouldn’t use them either. But I leave them in the oven all the time and they help to regulate the heat and keep it constant.
We have a commercial range now and it is hard to disassemble and put back together. It goes up to about 500 and that is what I use to make pizzas. Before this we had a commercial range and it was stupid easy to take off the oven knobs and adjust it to 750-ish (750 is as high as my oven thermometers go) which was unsafe but made great pizza pretty quickly.
I made my own sausage last night. I used a 1.5 tsp of fennel, oregano, garlic, onions, crushed red pepper, and basil. I used 1 tsp of salt into 3/4 lb of ground pork. I could have used more of everything except maybe the salt and the red pepper. I might also add a little cayenne and the Italian sausage at the store adds parsley and thyme. Some of the online recipes say to grind the spices in a food processor which would only make sense if you have a little food processor or are making large quantities of spice mix. Either way my kids liked the sausage so I’ll keep experimenting.
I may start making my own sauce and, if I am really ambitious I might try my hand at cheese making. The New England Cheesemaking Supply that Mike pointed out is about an hour or so away so maybe I’ll drive up and talk to them.January 15, 2018 at 7:20 am #10761
Update – I tasted my sausage this morning and it does not need more heat. It could use a little more sweet and more of some of the other spices. Maybe even back off the heat. I need to find balance and make it a day in advance instead of an hour.
It was also leaner than the sausage I buy and gave off very little fat when I par-cooked it.
Finally, I realized I do not need to grind up spices in the food processor. I can use a coffee mill for that!January 15, 2018 at 8:32 am #10764
Len, I’ll wait ’til you adjust the seasonings for your sausage before I try making some. But that sounds like a good start.
I have questions for those of you who bake your pizzas at 500*:
1. Thin or thick crust?
2. Lots of toppings, and do you pre-bake the toppings?
3. For how long? Thanks!
When I have baked mine (thick crust, lots of toppings, no pre-bake) at 450* the crust has been overcooked (almost burned), nearly raw in the middle, veggies charred.
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