Tips for Better Pizza…Again!

It wasn’t that long ago that I had no idea how easy it was to make Pizza from scratch.

While we haven’t written much about it lately, we have shared a lot of our learning in the past including:

You may have guessed: I am somewhat pizza-obsessed.  We found a lot of success when we first started making pizza and have continued to make small tweaks as we go.  Short of having an oven that would bake it at 900 degrees, I am thrilled with the results of our homemade pizza and feel it rivals all but the very best pizza available in our city.  I’m not saying this to brag but rather encourage you – you too can make amazing pizza at home (and many of you likely do already)!

Tips for Better Pizza...Again! Pizza

Today is a combination of small tweaks and reminders to previous posts that we’ve had:

  1. Tweak:  Make your dough in advance and let it rest.  At minimum, this means make it in the morning and leave it on the counter, coated lightly with olive oil, in a covered bowl for 8-12 hours (in the summer or a warm kitchen this can be less).  I recently cut our dough into 14 small balls (each one weighed to ensure equal sizes), coated them in oil and set them in a container touching each other.  The smell of the dough after this rest will be exquisite!  You can move the container to the fridge for 2-3 additional days at this point and it will improve after each day (as we learned in the summer cooking pizza with the same dough for 3 days in a row).  This will also make it easy to roll out (and you won’t need the pasta machine trick for the same results).
  2. Reminder: Sauce should be thin.  It goes against everything I thought, but this helps it steam and prevents drying.  I cook my pizza at 550 (until done which normally takes 3-5 minutes), so the sauce will thicken.  My normal sauce starts with a can (or jar) of stewed tomatoes), a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper, and thinly chopped garlic.  I blend those with a mixer and this runny sauce is my base.
  3. Flour is everything.  ”Normal” all-purpose flour is fine but the 00-pizza dough sold it Italian grocery stores is really amazing to work with and makes a fabulous pizza.

Making pizza by hand is less work and time than ordering and picking it up.  It takes us about 10 minutes in the morning to mix a dough and pizza is ready in another 15 or 20 in the evening.  Even if it’s not faster than your available options, the results are vastly superior (and cheaper) than any commercial product I’ve ever found.

What’s you’re favorite pizza tips or ingredients?


  1. Yes! “Making pizza by hand is less work and time than ordering and picking it up.” Homemade pizza is my go-to dinner when all else seems lost. Working with the dough is a great stress reliever. My favorite pizza toppings in the winter months are Kalamata olives, pickled eggplant with basil, and feta cheese. It is phenomenal– and maybe what’s for dinner tonight! I’ll take your tip on making the dough ahead of time. Thanks for the post!

    • Your toppings sound GREAT Rachel! Do you put the basil before or after cooking? We’ve been adding herbs right after cooking (including dry) with great success!

      Would love to know what you think of the dough after it rests! Maybe it’s in my head? :) A good smell of the dough when you unwrap it should totally change the experience (the smell just makes me hungry!). :) Joel

    • Thanks Joel! The basil in this recipe is in the pickled eggplant (a recipe adapted from the French Farm House Cookbook). But usually, if I don’t have fresh herbs to use, I sprinkle dried herbs on the crust with olive oil before cooking. In many cases this works very well as the base sauce, especially since I’m not wild about tomato sauce on pizza.
      The smell of dough adds a great element to the experience. I worked in several pizza joints during my teenage years and LOVE the aroma. But lately, I’ve been using a thin crust recipe that actually doesn’t require any rise time, so I end up with homemade pizza from kitchen to table in 35-45 minutes.

  2. Thanks for the great tips and reminders about homemade pizza! Because it’s transcendental as far as pizza goes, I heartily recommend Ina Garten’s White pizzas with arugula. I’m no vegetarian, but dishes like this could easily convince me to become one.

  3. Hi,
    Just curious have you ever tried the No-Knead Pizza Recipe from Bon Appetit, I think its Jim Laheys recipe I did and it was an eye opener letting the pizza dough sit for 18-24 hours makes for amazing pizza dough. I have never gone back to another recipe after this one. I love making pizza at home on the grill we have a BIg Green Egg and we don;t go out for pizza anymore its amazing.

    • Hi Becky!

      I have indeed and did love it for a long time – I’ll have to go back and do a taste test compared to our ‘knead’ variety. I love the convenience of no-knead and it was that recipe and Jim Lahey that got me cooking pizza so hot (and making bread/dough in the first place)…

      I am envious of the egg. :) J

  4. Hey hey – nice new banner!
    Would you mind sharing some of your topping combos too? The pictures in the linked posts look great – in particular the mushroom pizza in the Awesome Tip post!

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