2 terracotta tiles: $2.16
2 balls of pizza dough: $5.18
1 jar of tomato sauce: $1.89
1 ball of fresh mozzerella: $3.99
making your own pizza at home: fuck yeah
(makes about four servings for around $10)
Okay, I cheated a little by buying premade dough and using jarred tomato sauce but this was mostly to test out the technique of using a terracotta tile setup and broiling the pizza. A lot of people use pizza stones that cost upwards to a hundred dollars, but you can get a nice 12in x 12in terracotta tile from a hardware store and it’ll do the trick. So the point of using a pizza stone, usually clay or ceramic, is so that it distributes heat evenly, retains heat, and the porous structure absorbs moisture resulting in a crispier crust.
I was trying to duplicate NY style brick oven pizza with nice charring on the bottom and a crisp thin crust. In order to achieve that you need a hot-as-fuck oven (over 800 C) that only wood fired coal ovens can achieve. So how do you do this at home? Well, one guy on the internet actually broke the safety latch on his oven and used the self cleaning cycle to get it super hot. I don’t think I can do that, so I did the next best thing. Using the terracotta tiles and getting my oven as hot as I could.
I put one on the top rack 1.5in away from the broiler and another in the middle rack and turned the broiler on and let the oven heat for half an hour. The rack set up wasn’t intentional. I wanted to get both tiles on the top rack close to the broiler but both wouldn’t fit.
I made a total of 5 pies. First two I got 2 pies from 1 dough ball about 12in in size and I found that the dough was too thick. Nice and chewy inside toasty outside. A good pie but not what I was looking for. The next 3 I made were from one doughball and that was a good thickness.
I tried to stretch them out but ended up using a rolling pin. I’m not as daring to toss the pizza…yet.
You can see on the right the first ones I made where they were thicker and on the left are the ones I later made that were a bit thinner.
I experimented with the distance of the tiles from the broiler, cooking time, and a few other things.
So here’s one of the pies on a makeshift pizza peel (cutting board). I got it nice and thin and then threw some flour on top. Flipped it over and brushed a little olive oil on the top. Also I learned that you need to use a fork and poke some holes in the pizza otherwise the dough will poof up (the steam has to go somewhere). Then I slid it on the tile in the middle of the oven.
I am a MacGyver in the kitchen.
After about a minute, when the outside is cooked, I take it out and then put about 1 TBSP of sauce then some mozzarella. Put it back in until the cheese is bubbly and the outside is slightly charred.
What it looks like after taking it out:
Back in the oven on the top rack:
Another one I made:
Overall, the pizzas were delicious. Anything fresh out of the oven will be delicious. However, I would’ve liked more charring. I’m still going to play around with the broiler and tile setup to get the most heat out of the tiles and good charring without burning the pizza. Next time I might even try my own sauce and pizza dough. I think it would also be good to put the tomato sauce and cheese right on the raw dough and just leaving it on the top rack the entire time to get some more color out of the cheese. The problem with that is the bottom won’t get as crisp as I want.