Tips for Making Homemade Pizza
Throw it up, throw it up…
Don’t let the dough hit the ground
The fan favorite for every childhood sports team season wrap-up party. The go-to for a group outing with shared plates. An opportunity to take you right back to Tuscany itself, featuring rolling countryside, aromas for days, and toppings as unique as a fried egg. With flavors and colors to suit any and all taste buds, pizza truly may be the most communal of foods. Have we talked it up enough yet? The limit to glorifying pizza does not exist. See below for our itinerary of ideas for a pizza party, complete with set-up, bottomless list of pizza toppings, and how to juggle baking (pizza) pies in the oven.
Tips for setting up a pizza party
1. Prepare your dough ahead of time
Since this is a step that takes the most time (and intricacy), our pizza experts recommend rolling, tossing, and baking them ahead of time. This saves you the instructional energy of ensuring everyone shapes their dough to the necessary size… and gives you more time and opportunity to get creative with the toppings.
Check out our go-to pizza dough recipe here.
Pro Tip: You don’t need to be the Stanley Tucci of the kitchen. If buying ahead is more your style, Trader Joe’s has excellent white, wheat, gluten-free, you-name-it, dough options. Be their guest.
2. Prep your oven and counter space
Clear the canvas, if you will. Since pizzas take up a lot of space when it comes to guests decorating each of their own (or maybe they’re pairing up, but still estimate 8-20” diameter for each pizza), an empty counter is the goal. Don’t worry about it looking blank or too spacious—your toppings in Step 3 are the answer to that.
3. Chop, divide, and set toppings out ahead of time
This is where the creativity abounds. With topping varieties ranging from pineapples to olives, and arugula to figs, have some fun with the bowls and plates you choose to display toppings on the counter. Take this opportunity to get out the funky designs you may not often use. Simplify your time and focus when guests come over by prepping the toppings in advance. Chop the vegetables, slice the ham, cut (or can) the pineapple, and sort into bowls. Split toppings into ones that should stay chilled and ones that can be room temperature. Set out the room temp ones prior to guests arriving, and add the chilled ones once pizza making time has begun.
Ingredients for a pizza party
Since pizza is the melting pot of all taste buds, you get to take as many freedoms as you’d like in choosing what flavors you get to provide for your guests.
Pro Tip: Add an interactive aspect to the party with a BYO element: Invite guests to bring their favorite go-to pizza topping to contribute to the mix. If you end up with six contributions of pineapple, well… may the numbers talk.
Spread a base to set a delectable foundation and quench the palette.
- Olive oil
- Balsamic glaze
- Calabrian chili peppers
- Roasted red peppers
- Marinara sauce
- Barbecue sauce
- Garlic ranch
The more the better, in our opinion.
- Pcorino romano
To each their own. Yours and mine. All the goods. With a flick of the wrist. Topping bae, anyone?
- Fried Egg
- Bell Peppers
- Sun-dried tomatoes
- Artichoke hearts
- Fresh Basil
- Cream Cheese
- Roasted Garlic
The ongoing debate: Pineapple, yes or no?
Pizza Pro Tip: Turn it into a Game Night. Divide teams based on which end of the pineapple spectrum they fall. May the flavor disputes commence.
Tips for baking pizzas
Now for the reason we’re all here today. Let the aromas abound.
- Use post-it notes to remember whose pizza is whose and the baking order. Just like taking orders at your neighborhood pizzeria!
- Start with at least two sheet pans. This way, you can get started on assembling the next pizza while the first is in the oven. Rotate the two pans in and out.
- Use a flat sheet pan to move pizzas into and out of the oven. Place the pizzas directly on the rack in the oven to bake. Slide sheet pan under the pizza to take out of the oven once ready.
- Bake in the oven at 450 for 12-20 minutes pending how thick the crust is. Bake until crusts reach a light golden brown, or to your preference of course. A high oven temperature heats and melts cheese evenly all over. Say cheese, yes please.
- If you’re looking to take the pizza baking outside, try this portable wood fired outdoor oven by ooni.
Opt to take things outside… and heat up that grill.
Tips for grilling pizzas
- Have pizzas topped, dressed, cheesed, and ready to go because things happen fast
- Turn grill to high direct heat
- Grease the grates with evoo
- Cook the plain dough first on one side
- Remove pizza and flip
- Brush the grilled side with sauce and toppings, then set pizza back on the grill to finish cooking
While pizzas bake, take that opportunity to play the games from Game Night referenced above. From there, the rest of the party is a homerun. Has anyone ever had a bad time when eating pizza? With all the options out there, a pizza party really is something for everyone.
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