I have made numerous pizzas at home from scratch and was never really wowed by the results until I used a pizza stone. My pre-pizza stone days left me with soft soggy torn dough. I just knew there had to be a better way and I found it with a pizza stone. A pizza stone is a must for all pizza connoisseurs.
The basic idea of a pizza stone is to draw out the moisture and distribute the heat the heat evenly across the pizza dough. The end result is a light evenly crisp crust.
A few tips for using a pizza stone:
1. Always place your stone in a cold oven, failure to do this may result in thermal shock and breakage.
2. Allow the stone to heat thoroughly, about 15 minutes, before placing your pizza on it.
3. A pizza paddle (or peel) is the best tool to transfer your pizza to and from the stone. A dusting of cornmeal or flour will insure easy transferring.
4. Allow the pizza stone to cool completely before washing with warm water - no soap.
So, celebrate National Cheese Pizza Day this September 5th with your own brick oven pizza at home with a pizza stone. Buon Appetito!
Chef Rafaelle created a special pizza with tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil (red, white and green - the Italian flag) in honor of Queen Margherita in 1889. It quickly spread through Naples and the world.
Yield: one large or two small. Divide dough and toppings in half if making two pizzas
1 package rapid dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 cup oil
3/4 cups pizza sauce
1 tomato, sliced
6 oz. mozzarella cheese, cubed
10 basil leaves, torn
salt and pepper
Stir the yeast, sugar and 3/4 cup of warm water together and let set for 5 minutes. Place flour and salt in food processor. Slowly add yeast mixture and oil to flour. Pulse until dough has formed. Transfer dough on to a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray and place dough into bowl. Turn and coat dough with cooking spray. Cover with damp cloth for 30 minutes. Punch down and cover for another 30 minutes.
Place cold stone in oven for 15 minutes at 450. Roll and shape dough on a floured surface and place on a floured pizza paddle. Add toppings. Slide onto pizza stone. Bake for 20 minutes.