How to Make Perfect Stone Baked Pizzas
It’s easier than ever to purchase all the tools you need to make perfect stone baked pizzas in your kitchen. You can buy a wood-fired stone oven (though a bit pricey) or you can bake a delicious pizza using a pizza stone. Pizza stones are inexpensive and can be found at most retailers. If you really want to be thrifty, you can use an upside-down baking sheet instead of a stone. In addition to a pizza stone, you’ll want to purchase a pizza paddle to help you get the pizza in and out of the oven.
Choose an unbleached, stone-ground bread making flour as the base. Place 1 ½ cups of warm water in a bowl and sprinkle 2 ¼ teaspoons of active dry yeast over it. Let stand for 5 minutes, then mix in 3 ½ cups flour, 2 teaspoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon sugar. Knead the dough until the ingredients have blended. Add more flour if the dough appears too wet. Spread a teaspoon of olive oil in a bowl and roll the dough around in it until covered. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it sit in a warm place for 2 hours.
After 2 hours, you are ready to shape the dough. Knead the dough, stretching it between your fingers. You’ll want to get the middle evenly thick. Sprinkle corn meal or place parchment paper on your pizza paddle. Once the thickness of the dough is evenly distributed, place the dough on the pizza paddle. Continue shaping the dough into the shape you desire. It doesn’t have to be perfectly round!
Now it’s time to add toppings. You can create your standard pepperoni and cheese pizza, or try unique combinations such as fig and feta, ham and cheese and kale and sausage. Start by selecting a base sauce such as marinara, Alfredo or olive oil. A simple, yet flavourful sauce can be made by cooking crushed tomatoes seasoned with garlic, basil, salt and pepper. Purée in a blender and spoon onto the pizza.
The order of toppings is very important. Begin with sauce, add cheese and then add the other toppings. Some chefs recommend no more than three toppings because it can be difficult to bake evenly. Consider shredding your own cheese instead of buying the packets of shredded cheese.
Preheat your oven to 475-500 and place the pizza stone on the lowest rack. Let the oven preheat for 30 minutes to an hour. Once the oven has finished preheating, use the paddle to move the pizza onto the stone. Bake for 7-10 minutes. Remove the pizza from the oven using the pizza paddle. Let cool and enjoy!
Creating a stone-baked pizza at home can be a fun family activity and a great way to try your hand at pizza making. If you’re short on time, another great option is a pizza caterer, a company that can bring stone-baked pizza directly to your door. You may want to consider a pizza caterer for events or simply the convenience.