Introduction: Artisan Freezer Pizza!
IT’S A BEAUTIFUL DAY TO BE ALIVE! My name is Nifty Nate and when I was a younger man I worked as the Executive Chef at a Local Pizza Restaurant in Austin Tx.
For our Honeymoon, My wife Amber and I traveled to Naples, Italy (the birthplace of modern pizza) and learned how to make the pie from a Master Pizziolo working under Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (The Official Napolitan Pizza Association) A non profit company protecting the sanctity of Napolitan Pizza.
You must be doing something right when you get to make pizza on your honeymoon!
What I am trying to say is, I LOVE PIZZA, and today I would love to share my love of pizza with you.
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A copy of Emily Buehler's Bread Science book. (optional) I bought this book when I was a dishwasher and I used it to work my way up to Executive Chef. I know everything I know about bread because of this book, my experience has only reinforced this information.
A bowl to mix in/rise in
An oven, Home Electric ovens actually work better in my opinion because of the broiler coil at the top.
Flour, Water, Yeast, Salt, Oil, and Toppings!
A dough scraper or CLEAN credit/gift card
Authentico 00 Caputo Pizza Flour but all purpose flour works fine.
a blowtorch(optional) to char the crust.
I used An Air Fryer(optional) to par bake the crust.
a freezer (optional) for keeping pizzas on the ready 24/7
Step 1: Make the Dough
Everything I ever learned about making bread is in this book. It is an EXCELLENT resource written by Doctor of Food Science Emily Buehler
CLICK HERE to buy the book.
Well good, that saved me a bunch of writing... ONWARD TO THE RECIPES!
Napolitan Pizza Dough:
This is the Mother Pizza dough from which all other pizza doughs were born. There are only four ingredients:
1-1.25 cups (236-295g)Water,
3 cups (360 g) 00 Caputo Flour, Regular all purpose flour will work just fine
1 tsp Salt (7g), and
2 tsp (7g) Yeast
You can make a spiced dough by adding 1 Tbs each Garlic, Onion, Rosemary, Parmesan, and/or Cheddar.
Keeps in fridge for 3-5 days
New York Style Pizza Dough: Adding oil to the recipe makes the dough softer and easier to work with. This pizza is the best for throwing in the air, although it can be done with Napolitan dough if you are gentle.
1 cups (236g)Water,
2 tsp (7g) Yeast
¼ cups (55g) oil or butter
You can make a spiced dough by using butter and adding 1 Tbs each Garlic, Onion, Parmesan, or Cheddar
3 cups (360 g) Regular all purpose flour
1 tsp Salt (7g),
Keeps in fridge for 3-5 days
Dough instructions: Combine the ingredients in a bowl.
Water first (to prevent clumping)
Then yeast (to get them moving)
Then oil (to distribute it evenly)
Then Flour (to protect the yeast from the salt, they have to have their little flour buddies to hold onto.)
Then Salt (Spice of the Gods!)
Then using your hands: Just. Keep. Folding. Fold the dough, turn it 90 degrees, fold it again.
The dough will start to come together in a smooth ball, use the ball to mop up the remaining bits of flour that are stuck to the surface of the bowl/table until all of the ingredients are in the dough ball.
If your dough seems too dry add a Tablespoon of water to the dough and keep folding for another minute or two.
Too wet? Add a Tablespoon of Flour and keep folding for another minute or two.
Once you have one big smooth dough ball, put it in the bowl, cover it, and leave it until it doubles in size. If you forget about it and it gets huge, that’s ok, just punch it down.
You can let the dough rise on the counter for an hour (warm ferment), or to bring out more delicate flavors in the dough you can refrigerate it for up to 3 days. (cold ferment)
Divide the dough into 8 pieces and ball: Using a sharp knife or dough scraper, slice the dough into even sized nuggets, Then make a circle with your index finger and your thumb. Place the dough on top of the circle and stuff all of the dough inside. It should come out the other side in a nice round doughball. When you get to the end pinch the circle shut to seal the ball and place it on a pan pinched side down so it keeps its shape better.
If the finger trick doesn’t work for you, think of your dough ball like an apple. Then just tuck the skin of the dough down through the stem and into the core of the doughball, rotate it a quarter turn, and repeat. When it forms a ball pinch it at the stem and place it on a pan pinched side down.
Now let the dough rest again for 20 minutes or so. This relaxes the dough and makes it easier to stretch.
Stretching a Pizza Dough: This is the most fun part of making pizza besides eating it! But this is also the step where you can get too confident and wreck all of your efforts if you are too rough and have to re ball it and wait another 20 minutes for the dough to loosen up again. But it happens, even to the best of us while writing an instructible on how to make pizza.... so plan ahead and make extra. You can freeze them for up to six months!
Flour your surface so your dough won’t stick
Scrape the ball from the bottom of the pan with a dough scraper, or a CLEAN credit/gift card.
Place the ball on the table smooth side up and dust the top with flour.
Press the center of the dough down with a flat hand and roll your fingers from the center of the dough towards the edge leaving a puffy ring around the edge that will be your crust. Rotate slightly and repeat.
When the pizza is as big as your hand. Pick it up and stretch it: You want to Support the dough with your non dominant hand and make a little c shape with your dominant hand and open it into a Big C shape stretching the dough out from the thick spots.
Stretch, rotate, stretch, rotate,
If there is a light source behind the dough you can see where it is thin and avoid those spots as you stretch.
If you start to get holes stop stretching and set it down. Pinch the holes together and let it rest.
When the dough is 6-8 inches wide place it on a pan in your oven or in your air fryer and cook for 2-5 minutes at 400 degrees fahrenheit. This is called par baking and it is how you prevent a soggy crust.
If your Air fryer has a powerful fan it may mess up the first dough. Just use it as a weight to hold down the rest of the doughs, or just use your oven.
For a softer crust use a thin metal pan.
For a crispy and charred Napolitan style crust use a baking steel.
Step 2: Freeze Your Dough
Once the crusts are out of the oven you can stack them in an airtight container and freeze them for up to six months. I prefer containers to bags because of durability. I have had these rubbermaids for 5 years and they are still perfect.
If you find that your crusts freeze together you can freeze them on a tray separately and combine them when they are frozen.
Pizza can go from freezer to ready on the table in 5-7 minutes and everybody can get what they want.
All you have to do is add toppings and broil on high until the crust browns!
If you have a favorite pizza you can freeze all the toppings together on the pizza and just pop it in the oven when you are hungry. I prefer the blank crust because
1. You can stack more pizzas in the freezer, and
2: It is a canvas for whatever I am dreaming of right now. Leftover Chick fil a pizza with chicken, spicy pete's sauce, cheese and pickles? Sign me up! But who am I kidding, there's never leftovers from Chick-fil-a...
Oh and 3. some things get weird when you freeze them. like Avocados, Basil, and Fresh Mozzarella. But you can always try it. Just don't try too hard. Because nobody likes a try-hard.
Step 3: FINALLY WE GET TO THE TOPPINGS!
Congratulations, you have fought your way through the Dough Jungle, navigated through the Paragraphs Of Unusual Size and emerged on the other side to find:
Toppings can be anything. From the “traditional” pepperoni to the exotic like Butter, garlic, and artichoke hearts, Bacon and eggs, sweet desserts, salad greens, poutine, sweetpotato leaves and other ingredients from the garden, the possibilities are endless!
Some of my personal favorite pizzas:
White sauce, bacon, cheddar, feta , black pepper. Arugula, and an egg added at the very end.
Red or White sauce, Sausage, grilled peppers, grilled onions, and sweet potato greens
Red sauce, Peperoni, Cheddar, and Jalapeno
No sauce, Cream cheese with honey or sugar, fruit & sometimes cinnamon
White sauce, bacon, parmigiano reggiano , mushrooms and or truffles***
WARNING!!!!!!!!***DO NOT USE “TRUFFLE OIL” or anything with “truffle essence” in it. This is a petroleum product unrelated to actual truffles. Real truffle oil will contain a lot of truffle to oil because the truffle taste is so delicate and truffles are EXPENSIVE so they are missing completely or are the size of a pea in the cheap stuff. If you don’t see a good amount of truffles, BE SUSPICIOUS.
We were able to hunt our own truffleson our honeymoon near Rome and get REAL TRUFFLE OIL SAUCE through Discovering Truffles (LINK HERE) I’m not sure if they will ship the sauce internationally, but it is 100% worth the experience if you are going to the Rome / Cezano area!
Step 4: PRO TIPS:
PRO TIPS: Here are some little nuggets of knowledge I have picked up over the years. Maybe they will help you too.
If you need to make pizza NOW divide the dough into 8 and ball it before you let it rise the first time. This way you have relaxed dough balls ready to flatten into pizza lickety split! While the pizza is rising cook the sauce and wash/prepare any toppings.
Greens/fresh herbs on pizza will wilt, brown, and can develop slightly bitter flavors going through the oven. This is especially true for Basil. Add these ingredients AFTER cooking, preferably immediately before consuming unless this is part of the taste you are going for (like on a spinach artichoke pizza)
Greens/fresh herbs IN a pizza will still wilt, but not brown because the inside of the pizza doesn't have time to get nearly as hot as the oven around it. Put your fresh Oregano, Rosemary and Basil in the crust, or on top before you eat it
You tear herbs as opposed to cutting them because cutting releases bitter repair compounds to cauterize the wound and prevent infection. Tearing usually happens along cell walls and considerably less of these bitter compounds are released. So it tastes better.
Using Coconut oil as the oil in the New York style dough would be really good for a Hawaiian pizza!
When cooking eggs on a pizza it is difficult to get the timing correct. Add the egg at the beginning and it gets rubbery. Wait too long and your crust will burn. There is a sweet spot 2-3 minutes before the pizza is finished cooking where you can add your eggs and they will come out with a cooked but not rubbery white and a soft/runny yolk. If you want cooked yolk just fry the eggs in a pan and add them to piping hot pizza.
If you want to practice actually throwing a pizza dough in the air: Start with a damp square rag because it won't fall apart and it doesn’t matter if you drop it. Neither of which apply to a piece of dough. Keep your wrists together and rotate your hands as you push up with your arms. To catch it and not punch a hole in it, make a circle with the index fingers and thumbs of both hands. Your hands don’t have to be touching, you are just maximizing surface area. The larger the pizza gets, the more likely it is that you will punch a hole in it. You can buy a "Throw dough" HERE but a damp square rag works almost just as well. It's probably better for rolling tricks.
Kneading is what develops the gluten in the dough and gives you a chewy or delicate crust. If you are using a machine it is easy to overwork the dough and get a chewy crust. By hand it is MUCH harder to overwork.
You don’t need to warm the water up if you knead by hand because your hands will supply plenty of heat. If you use a mixer with a dough hook or something, then you need to use lukewarm water to warm your little yeast buddies from their deep sleep.
If you go to Italy and order a pepperoni pizza you will get a pizza with little red peppers on it. Pepperoni means little pepper.
If you want crispy pepperoni / sausage it needs to be very thinly sliced so freeze it first and slice it frozen!
Bury an old sweet potato and it could sprout to give you lots of green leaves that are high in vitamins and go great on pizza! Eventually you will also get sweet potatoes!
If you take a paper towel and soak up the grease from the pizza you can save 25% of the calories. Put the grease soaked paper towel in an egg shell and you can use it as a fire starter that will burn for 10 minutes!
Participated in the
Pizza Speed Challenge 2020