VT Cooking: Mindless Do-It-Yourself Home Pizza


The Senior Editor

A few at VT are trained chefs, top of that heap are Chester and Duff.  The idea for this is not to create the best but rather the best made at home that is hard to screw up.

What will come out of this will be ‘very nice’….

Key issues here are flour type…use of sugar…and olive oil….plus of course procedures…

Thus…this will produce a standard takeout pizza better than you are getting and far better than you probably make at home.

Everything is about dough.  This pizza dough also makes a pretty good french bread but with 8 days of usable/no mold time…unlike the crap sold in france.

Flour:  King Arthur Bread Flour (Walmart)  This is really good stuff.  Go out and buy a bag, under 5 bucks.

We start with a 1 1/2 cups of pretty warm water in a good sized bowl…i use stainless steel

Add a tablespoon of dry yeast (or a cake of yeast) and some sugar…teaspoon…maybe more.  It just doesn’t matter.  Let sit for 5 minutes.

Set up work surface.  I use a dough knife and a pyrex/glass rolling board and a marble rolling pin.  Use what you have.

Now add flour to the mix…two cups and stir

Then add 3 tablespoons/heaping of sugar (wtf?)  If you tried the Alibi Bar pizza on Rochester MI (superb) they double the sugar.

Then two tablespoons of olive oil…any quality

Rubber spatula remove sloppy dough to work surface.

Add flour…

there is a technique here…using a dough knife…or a putty knife…clean…same thing…start lifting the dough as you sprinkle with flour.  As you add flour, you lift the dough, turn it, push it down.  Make sure you flour your hands as well.  (you will have washed them 4 times by now)

Dough is ready to knead when you have enough flour in it that it is no longer tacky/sticky

Based on the oil…and other things…this could be more than a cup….

Dough should be kneaded well….lots of muscle…turning, stretching….8 minutes?  Yeah, why not.

Set oven for proof or turn on over to 280…run for 5 minutes then turn it off.   Same thing.

Dough goes back in bowl and into the proofing oven.  It probably won’t need to be covered or oiled.

In a few minutes…20…it will rise to the top of the bowl…or higher.  Take it out, push it back down, lift and turn it with the rubber spatula.

Let it rise again…still in the proofing oven….then repeat the ‘push down’ and then…yes…do the whole thing again.

3 times gives you the crust you want…

You can then refrigerate the dough for 4 hours…which will make it work more easily without ‘snapping back’ or go for it now.

Unless you are a really good pizza tosser…….

The size piece you need will be just under the size of a softball.

Choose a pan….black if possible…do your best….round if you can.  Plain aluminum cookie sheets are crap for pizza.

I would roll out your pizza…fairly thin…on your work surface…using flour to keep it from sticking.  Do your best…if this fails…go to “push and stretch”….

I use corn meal under the dough and recommend the same….hand full spread on the pan and lay the rolled crust over it.

Use fingertips to ‘dipple’ the dough….and make sure you have some crust rolled up at the sides…

For sauce…this time use a canned quality pizza sauce….go for something creative later.

Spread carefully….not too much….maybe 3 tablespoons…

For cheese…this time use the best pizza block you can….meaning bagged pizza cheese….

No complex toppings for your first pizza of this type.  Two cups of cheese…

Consider using oregano…sparingly…


Fine sliced sweet onion…sparingly…

Mushrooms sparingly…

Tiny drizzle of olive oil….optional.

I use my Breville Air Fryer/Toaster Oven…at highest temp.  Get an oven really hot…on convection…and aim for a middle shelf when you reach obscene temperature…500 degrees or more…

Pop it in…and don’t be surprised if it is done in less than 10 minutes…

If you screw up underside crust…then try to fry the pizza on a large frying pan or similar…tons of heat…olive oil smoking….do part at a time if needed…watch carefully for burning….

you can reheat like this…which can also mean doing 30 seconds of “cheese side down”…

but chances are this won’t be needed if you rolled the crust thin enough.

This leaves you enough dough for 2 more pizza’s…dough which can be wrapped in plastic and kept in the refrigerator or frozen or….made into french bread.

When baking french bread…tins of water need to be placed in the oven to make steam…which makes the crust.



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  1. Genuine Italian pizzas are usually made with “grade 000” flour. But this King Arthur of French bread dough are good alternative too. Will surely try this recipe when times come…

    Almost half a century ago I used to make pizza every Sundays for supper. My main flaw was it often came too watery in the dressing. It surely came from the onions or/and the mushrooms I always added to the dressing.

  2. The guy that finally comes up with tasty gluten free pizza recipe will have hit the culinary mother load. Where did all these digestively challenged people come from?

    • Good point. Would someone please try this at least. Feedback would be nice. I have done this recipe twice. My issue was finding a dough recipe that would respond to a conventional oven as though it were brick/wood fired.

      We have that here.

    • Gluten is an interesting dilemma. The 6th and 7th amino acids, Glutamic acid, and Glutamine, are the correlates to wisdom, and intelligence respectively. These appear to cause digestive problems, but are,… “Glutamate receptors are responsible for the glutamate-mediated postsynaptic excitation of neural cells, and are important for neural communication, memory formation, learning, and regulation.” I believe the answer will ultimately be individualized. Some people can eat it fine, and others need a balanced chemistry. It would seem there must be a plant based additive that would knock down the negative aspects of the glutamate for those who are affected. In the pantheon of time, the days of glutamic acid, and glutamine are also , the digestive system and the brain. There is a war in our bodies it seems. It is the “persistent contention of the issue”.

    • Yes, Dave. But, another factor here is the strains of super wheat (often GMO) being grown on large corporate farms. It’s a fast growing strain with different genetics than the “ancient” grains that aren’t as profitable. Is it just the glutin? My 37 year old daughter developed severe gluten sensitivity about 15 years ago. She used to devour NY style pizza but now eats gluten free cardboard with tomato sauce and cheese. What’s going on here?

  3. Very good recipe. One thing that greatly helps the cooking of pizza in the oven is the use of a stone. Use a pizza stone and see the difference especially for the thin crust.
    Bon appétit !

    • We work from here. Then we get into deep dish/Chicago. This recipe with a Detroit pan….and simply pressed in…less thin…would do a Detroit pizza. Sesame seeds….and a cheese upgrade. A brushdown of the crust with garlic butter just as it comes out of the oven…

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