Greg Rickaby

Greg Rickaby

Full-Stack Developer / Photographer / Author

Greg’s Homemade Pizza Recipe

Posted on | 19 minute read

gregs pepperoni pizza

Homemade pizza has been a Sunday staple at our house for quite some time. I’ve read a lot of books, blogs, and watched way too many YouTube videos trying to hone the craft.

Want to skip to the latest recipe? Here is a link to an ever-evolving, highly detailed Google doc.

Over the years, my pizza recipe has evolved. The blog post below is from 2014 and don’t make that recipe anymore. One of the most influential pizzaiolos is 13-time World Pizza Champion Chef Tony Gemignani. His book The Pizza Bible has inspired me more than most, and I’ve been following his master dough recipe for the last 4 years.

Half Pepperoni/Half BBQ based on Tony’s Master Dough recipie

Table of Contents

Day 1: Activate Yeast

  • 1 1/2 cup (355 g) of Spring Water
  • 1 tsp (4 g) of Sugar
  • 2 tsp (6 g) of Active Dry Yeast (Instant works too)

Directions

OK, the photos show Instant Yeast. And it works, but you’re not really supposed to hydrate Instant Yeast (that’s why it’s “instant”). I recommend using Active Dry Yeast instead…

In the microwave, warm the water to 110˚F (43˚C).
In the microwave, warm the water to 110˚F (43˚C).
Add both the sugar and yeast.
Add both the sugar and yeast.
Making sure both are well combined.
Making sure both are well combined.
Let the yeast mixture sit 5-10 minutes until it blooms 1/2 - 1 inch.
Let the yeast mixture sit 5-10 minutes until it blooms 1/2 – 1 inch.
The head should be frothy!
The head should be frothy!

Pizza Sauce

A large batch of Pizza Sauce is really easy to make! You can knock it out while the Yeast activates and throw it in the freezer. Also, don’t simmer the pizza sauce on a stove like Grandma used to, that’s actually wrong!

Canned tomatoes are cooked while being canned AND you’re going to cook the sauce on a pizza, in a 550F oven. So, do your sauce a favor and don’t cook it a third time on the stovetop. (Sorry Granny!)

Making the sauce on Day 1 will ensure all the ingredients have a chance to combine and mingle, resulting in maximum flavor.

  • 20oz can of Crushed Tomatoes
  • 4oz can of Tomato Paste
  • 2 teaspoons Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Sea Salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon Red Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoons Garlic Powder

Directions

Combine ingredients in a large bowl. Stir.

Freeze the sauce in small Tupperware containers. For your next pizza night, just take a container of pizza sauce out of the freezer a few hours before dinner, and let it thaw on the countertop.

Pizza Dough

  • 4 cups (560 g) of Bread or 00 flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp (7 g) Kosher or Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp (5 g) Basil and Oregano (optional)

Make the pizza dough

The Bread flour is from Sam's Club. 25 lbs for only $7.00!
Place 560 grams of bread flour in a large mixing bowl. BTW: the Bread flour picture is from Sam’s Club and it’s only $7 for a 25 lbs bag.
7 grams of kosher salt.
7 grams of kosher salt.
Pizza Topper = basil, oregano, onion, garlic, and parsley.
Pizza Topper = basil, oregano, onion, garlic, and parsley.
Combine the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Combine the ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
Stir until salt and optional spices have mixed.
Stir until salt and optional spices have mixed.
Leaving a small hole to pour the yeast mixture.
Leaving a small hole to pour the yeast mixture.
Once the yeast mixture has bloomed, add to flour.
Once the yeast mixture has bloomed, add to flour.
Stir using the paddle attachment for 30 seconds. Stop. Allow 5 minutes for the flour to hydrate.
Stir using the paddle attachment for 30 seconds. Stop. Allow 5 minutes for the flour to hydrate.
After you let the flour hydrate for 5 minutes, switch to the dough hook attachment and knead at medium-low for 5 minutes.
After you let the flour hydrate for 5 minutes switch to the dough hook attachment.
Knead at medium-low for 5 minutes.
Knead at medium-low for 5 minutes.
The dough should start pulling away from the bowl.
The dough should start pulling away from the bowl.
For the final 20 seconds, knead at medium-high speed to help organize the gluten.
For the final 20 seconds, knead at medium-high speed to help organize the gluten.
When finished, the dough should be a semi-firm and slightly sticky.
When finished, the dough should be semi-firm and slightly sticky.
Scrape the dough from the dough hook.
Scrape the dough from the dough hook.
Now you'll need some flour, a bowl scraper and a hard surface.
Now you’ll need some flour, a bowl scraper, and a hard surface.
Sprinkle some flour on your work surface.
Sprinkle some flour on your work surface.
Using the bowl scraper, work the dough out of the bowl.
Using the bowl scraper, work the dough out of the bowl.
It should basically roll right out without much effort.
It should basically roll right out without much effort.
Using your palms, begin kneading the dough.
Using your palms, begin kneading the dough.
You only need to do this for about 60 seconds.
You only need to do this for about 60 seconds.
One last squish...
One last squish…
Now, start "cupping" the dough to begin forming a ball.
Now, start “cupping” the dough to begin forming a ball.
Cupping and spinning the dough until it forms a ball.
Cupping and spinning the dough until it forms a ball.
It takes a little practice!
It takes a little practice!
When you dough has been formed into a ball, sprinkle a little flour on top.
When your dough has been formed into a ball, sprinkle a little flour on top.
Nicely done.
Nicely done.

Let it rise

Add some olive oil to a large bowl.
Add some olive oil to a large bowl.
Place the dough inside the bowl, and cover with plastic wrap.
Place the dough inside the bowl, and cover it with plastic wrap.
Place the bowl in the refrigerator, and let the dough rise overnight. It will keep for 4 days or you can freeze it).
Place the bowl in the refrigerator, and let the dough rise overnight. It will keep for 4 days or you can freeze it).

Day 3: Baking Day

Take the pizza dough out of the refrigerator at least 3 hours before you plan to bake. Just leave it in it's bowl, covered, and let it warm up on your countertop.
Take the pizza dough out of the refrigerator at least 3 hours before you plan to bake. Just leave it in its bowl, covered, and let it warm up on your countertop.

Pizza Dough Prep

This is where it will differ from household to household. I’ve spent entirely too much money on pizza-baking kitchen goodies, like a high-quality pizza stone, pans, peel, a slipat, etc. This is my hobby, and worth the extra expense. I will provide basic instructions. Please feel free to make it your own at this point and have fun!

Pre-heat your oven as high as it goes. (Mine goes to 550˚F, professional pizza ovens and wood fire grills are 1,000˚F). Crank it up! If you have a pizza stone, place it on the top rack of your oven. If you don't, go buy one.
Preheat your oven as high as it goes. (Mine goes to 550˚F, professional pizza ovens, and wood fire grills are 1,000˚F). Crank it up! If you have a pizza stone, place it on the top rack of your oven. If you don’t own a pizza stone, use a cookie sheet! Just turn it over upside down.
Remove the pizza dough from the bowl and place on a floured surface.
Sprinkle some flour and semolina (or cornmeal) on the slipat and remove the pizza dough from the bowl
Cover the dough with a little flour and cornmeal and form into a ball. Cut in half.
Cover the dough with a little flour and form into a ball. Cut in half.
Each half should weigh about 1lb.
Each ball should weigh about 255 grams
Cover both sides of the dough with the cornmeal and flour.
Cover both sides of the dough with the flour mixture.
Using your fingertips, create an edge. This will be your crust.
Using your fingertips, create an edge. This will be your crust.
Using the push method, press the dough from the outside working in a circle. Toss the dough just about your head until it's big enough to cover a pizza peel or pan.
Using the push method, press the dough from the outside working in a circle. Toss the dough just about your head until it’s big enough to cover a pizza peel or pan.
Sprinkle some more cornmeal and flour on the pizza peel.
Sprinkle some more flour mixture on the pizza peel.
Using your hands, spread the cornmeal and flour until the peel is evenly covered.
Using your hands, spread the flour mixture until the peel is evenly covered.
Place the dough on the peel. Melt some butter and add 1 tsp of garlic powder or garlic salt.
Place the dough on the peel. Melt some butter and add 1 tsp of garlic powder or garlic salt.
Spread the garlic butter on the outer edge of the crust.
Spread the garlic butter on the outer edge of the crust.
Pour the pizza sauce in the middle. Spread using a large spoon in a circular motion working outward toward the crust.
Pour the pizza sauce in the middle. Spread using a large spoon in a circular motion working outward toward the crust.
Add cheese. I prefer low-moisture 2% skim mozzarella.
Add cheese. Be sure to use low-moisture mozzarella and provolone.
Add your toppings. The faster you top the pizza, the less likely it is to stick to the peel.
Add your toppings. The faster you top the pizza, the less likely it is to stick to the peel. Pro-top: use a fork to pop any of the larger remaining air bubbles. Sure, they look cute now, but they will cause GIANT bubbles in your pizza while baking.

Cook That Pie!

Slide the pizza off the peel and onto the pizza stone.
Slide the pizza off the peel and onto the pizza stone.
Pull the peel back slowly. Let it cook for 10-12 minutes.
Pull the peel back slowly. Let it cook for 10-12 minutes.
When it's finished, pull the pizza out with the peel and spread another layer of garlic butter on the crust.
When it’s finished, pull the pizza out with the peel and spread another layer of garlic butter on the crust.
Sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top.
Sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top.
The bottom should be firm, crisp, and slightly dusted with cornmeal.
The bottom should be firm, crisp, and slightly dusted with cornmeal.
Slice it up and enjoy!
Slice it up and enjoy!
Bubba's Bacon Bonanza.
Bubba’s Bacon Bonanza.
Meat lovers.
Meat lovers.

FAQ

Q) Why spring water?
A) Because tap water contains chlorine which inhibits yeast. If you don’t have any spring water, use filtered water from your refrigerator.

Q) Why Bread or 00 Flour?
A) Because pizza dough needs to be stretchable. The higher protein content in these flours makes the dough stronger and more playful.

Q) What’s with the Cornmeal or Semolina Flour?
A) I used to use cornmeal (as seen in the photos) but have since switched to semolina flour.

The semolina flour acts like little ball bearings to help the pizza move easily around on the mat and peel. This is especially helpful when you try to slide the pizza off the peel onto the pizza stone. Nothing worse than the pizza sticking to the peel and then flopping onto your oven door!

Q) Why the two-day rise? I’m hungry now.
A) Yeast eats sugar and releases carbon dioxide/alcohol. The more time you give the yeast to eat, the better your dough will taste and the less “full” it will make you feel. (No more carb comas!) If you can’t wait, have one delivered!

Q) My dough won’t rise!?
A) It’s either because your yeast is dead, there is too much salt, or it has nothing to eat. Yes, you can kill the yeast. Salt inhibits yeast. Sugar is yeast’s favorite food!

Q) Why is the oven so hot?
A) High heat allows you to achieve a crisp crust with a chewy center. Cooking slowly at a low temperature would result in a soggy, limp pizza. Yuck!

List of Gear

Here’s a list of the gear I use to make pizzas. These links are sponsored.

Further Reading

I highly recommend reading Peter Reinhart’s, Artisan Breads Every Day and Ken Forkish’s Flour Water Salt Yeast to really gain a deep understanding of why these simple ingredients are so wonderful together, or as I call it “Bread Porn”.

Good luck!

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