© 2021 WYPR
Header Background.png
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

DIY Pizza

Brittany Lindsey

I wonder if anyone else out there has had the frustrating experience of bringing home pizza that just didn't hit the spot.  I hate to admit it, but buying pizza has become a hit or miss prospect. So Chef Jerry Pellegrino has a proposal for us: learn to make your own pizza according to your own specifications.

-Al Spoler

One of the key pieces of equipment for making home-style pizza is to have a good pizza stone.  This holds heat and lets you get the most out of your 550° home oven.  (A commercial pizza oven clocks in at about 800°.)  But now comes along the pizza steel, a big rectangular slab of steel that gets twice as hot as a stone, and gives you a perfectly baked crust.  They run anywhere from $25 to $100, but Jerry swears by them.

The other critical component is good pizza dough.  Traditionally, standard thin crust pizza dough is a very elastic creature because of the strong gluten component.  Deep dish pizza dough is something else altogether, and there is now a gluten free pizza dough that behaves well.  Here are some suggestions for dough.


Three Great Pizza Dough Recipes

Basic Pizza Crust


28 oz. all-purpose flour (796 grams or about 6.5 cups)

17 oz. warm water (493 grams or 2¼ cups)

1 teaspoon instant dry yeast (3.5 grams)

1 Tablespoon salt (16 grams)

2 teaspoons sugar (7.8 grams)

3 teaspoons olive oil, (12 ml)

Place the water and olive oil in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer.

In a separate bowl, mix salt, sugar and yeast into flour.

Add the dry ingredients into the water and, using a dough hook, mix  on low speed until all the flour has been incorporated, adjust the speed on the mixer to medium and allow the dough to knead for 5 minutes.

Place the dough in a greased pan and cover with a damp cloth. Place the dough in a warm spot in the kitchen and allow the dough to rise to double its size, about two to three hours. Punch down the dough and divide it into 4 equal pieces (using a digital scale if possible; each ball should weigh 11.5 oz. [~326 grams]) and place in greased, sealed quart-sized container or oiled/greased freezer bag and refrigerate overnight or up to 72 hours. After much experimenting, we’ve concluded that 3 days is best but day 2 is good too. When you’re ready to make a pizza, remove your dough balls within 1 hour or less of baking and allow the dough to come to room temperature. In the meantime, place your pizza stone in the oven and preheat at 550°F (depending on thickness of your stone and your oven's power) for at least 1 hour. Roll out the dough

and place on a pizza peel that has been sprinkled liberally with semolina flour. Top with your favorite toppings and bake in the oven.

Deep Dish Dough


2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast

1 ½ teaspoons white sugar

1 ¼ cups warm water

3 cups all-purpose flour

½ cup corn oil

1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt

Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the corn oil and whisk briefly to disperse the oil into the water mixture. Add the flour and salt and with a hook attachment; knead until dough holds together but is still slightly sticky, about 2 minutes.

Form dough into a ball and transfer to an oiled bowl, turning to coat. Cover bowl with a damp towel and allow dough to rise at room temperature until double in size, 6 hours.

Punch down dough and let rest for 10 to 15 minutes. Press dough into a 10-inch deep dish pizza pan.

Gluten Free Pizza Dough adopted from the King Arthur Flour Recipe Book

1 ½ cups brown rice flour blend (recipe below)

2 tablespoons buttermilk powder or nonfat dry milk powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

¾ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon xanthan gum

1 ½ teaspoons instant yeast

1 tablespoon sugar or honey (optional)

1 cup warm water

2 tablespoons olive oil (for dough)

Rice Flour Blend: Whisk together 6 cups (28.5 ounces) stabilized brown rice flour; 2 cups (10.75 ounces) potato starch; and 1 cup (4 ounces) tapioca flour or tapioca starch

Place the dry ingredients (except the yeast and sugar or honey, if you're using it) into a large mixing bowl; the bowl of your stand mixer is perfect. Mix until thoroughly blended. Place the sugar or honey (if you're using it), warm water, olive oil, yeast, and about ½ cup of the dry mixture into a small bowl. Stir to combine; a few lumps are OK. Set aside for 30 minutes or so, until the mixture is bubbly and smells yeasty.

Add this mixture to the dry ingredients, and beat on medium-high speed for 4 minutes. The mixture will be thick and sticky; if you've ever applied spackling compound to a wall, that's exactly what it'll look and feel like. Note: you must use a stand mixer or electric hand mixer to make this dough; mixing by hand doesn't do a thorough enough job.

Cover the bowl, and let the dough rest for 30 minutes or so.

Preheat the oven to 425°F.

Drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil onto the center of a baking sheet or 12" round pizza pan. Scrape the dough from the bowl onto the puddle of oil.

Using your wet fingers, start at the center of the dough and work outwards, pressing it into a 12" to 14" circle.

Let the dough rest, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

Bake the crust for 8 to 10 minutes, just until it's set; the surface will look opaque, rather than shiny.

Remove from the oven and top with whatever you like. Return to the oven to finish baking, about 10 to 15 minutes depending on the toppings you've chosen.

Al Spoler, well known to WYPR listeners as the wine-loving co-host of "Cellar Notes" has had a long-standing parallel interest in cooking as well. Al has said, the moment he started getting serious about Sunday night dinners was the same moment he started getting serious about wine. Over the years, he has benefited greatly from being a member of the Cork and Fork Society of Baltimore, a gentlemen's dining club that serves black tie meals cooked by the members themselves who are some of Baltimore's most accomplished amateur cooks.
Executive Chef Jerry Pellegrino of Corks restaurant is fascinated by food and wine, and the way they work in harmony on the palate. His understanding of the two goes all the way to the molecular level, drawing on his advanced education in molecular biology. His cuisine is simple and surprising, pairing unexpected ingredients together to work with Corks' extensive wine offerings.