To Make The
Best Pizza You'll Ever Taste
Update (9/21/12): I recently created Aimless Ryan's Pizza Blog, which is a million times more helpful than this page. The blog has lots of detailed instructions and lots of pictures, showing you how to make various different styles of pizza. Check it out; you'll be glad you did.
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just a pizza maker; I am one of the brightest minds in the pizza
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to provide the best service you can find anywhere. I know how to
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know how to hire, train, and retain superstar employees. However, I
don't have the resources to open my own pizzeria. Having spent the last
several years of my life analyzing the pizza industry, figuring out
what it takes to operate a successful pizzeria, I'm ready to let
someone use me to turn their money into a lot more money. So if you're
looking for someone who can do that for you, look no further. I am your
man. If you want to find out more, call me at 614-738-3867.
are a lot of words on this page, and mostly I have not
down because it takes a lot of work to do anything great. If you want
to make a great pizza, read this a couple times, then try it. It won't
be easy right away, and you'll probably mess up the first time, but
natural, so try again tomorrow. Then try again the next day; you'll get
you haven't seen Pizza! The Movie,
you're missing out on
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You'll Need Before You Begin
The 3 most important things are:
I've used a lot of different brands of ingredients, and
nothing beats these brands for quality, consistency, taste, etc.
even close. The ingredients make all the difference. The type of ingredient is less
important than the brand. That is, part-skim vs. whole milk mozzarella
doesn't matter much, whereas Grande vs. Kraft is the difference between
night and day, good and evil.
- All Trumps high gluten flour
- San Marzano
tomatoes in a can (Cento or
- Grande mozzarella
Cheese from your nearby mega-zoo grocery store is almost always the
stuff for the highest price. Grande mozzarella is simply the best pizza
you can get, and it is worth your time to look around at specialty
stores to find it. The only place I know of right now that carries (and
ships) Grande mozzarella in quantities smaller than a case is:
312 West Main Street
Chilton, WI. 53014
You can purchase a 50-pound bag of All Trumps flour from your nearest
food distributor. And yes, they will
to you, even if you are not affiliated with a restaurant. I used to pay
about $13 for a 50-pound bag, but it may be closer to $30 nowadays. The
distributor may also
carry 25-pound bags. If you don't know what to do with 25
or 50 pounds of flour, store it in a clean 20-gallon trash container
(like the small white one pictured near the top of this
Depending on where you live, you may be able to find real San Marzano
tomatoes at your nearest grocery store. Only
buy them if they say "San Marzano" AND have the seal of the Italian
government, signifying that they are real San Marzanos. Cento "San
Marzanos" are the real deal, unlike a lot of other brands that label
product "San Marzano." I don't care much for Cento's other products,
Marzanos are very good.
If you can't find either of the tomato brands I've suggested, just look
for anything that says "Product of Italy" and "Whole Peeled Imported Italian
Tomatoes" (or "Pomodori Pelati"). These tomatoes likely will
be almost as good as the others I suggested. (In Columbus, Ohio you can
find a bunch of different brands of tomatoes at Carfagna's, which
located on State Route 161, just east of I-71.)
Things You'll Need
- 32 oz. scale
- Wooden pizza peel (paddle)
- Metal pizza peel
- 15"-16" baking stone (for oven)
baking stone (for grilll)
- Chef's knife
- Dough scraper
- ACTIVE DRY YEAST
- Candy thermometer
- Mixer, bread machine, or food
dough blade (not
- Sugar (optional)
- Oil (Optional. Because I change
occasionally, oil may not be listed in the dough formula.)
- 12" pizza screen (Optional. Buy a
Make A Pizza!
|| All Trumps High Gluten Flour
||Water (110 degrees)
||ACTIVE DRY YEAST
for making pizza dough
I. Preparing yeast water
- Remove yeast from fridge. (Or
you keep it. It should be in
- Place an empty, lightweight plastic
your scale and reset the scale
- Fill a large, spouted measuring cup
110-degree water, then pour 9.5 oz. of that water into the bowl on the
scale. (If you don't have a
scale, 9.5 ounces by weight
same as 9.5 fluid ounces of
water. Water is the only ingredient you can reliably measure by using
either weight or volume.)
- Put a pinch or two of sugar in your
- Pour about 1/3 of the measured
water into your
bowl and "swish" it around to dissolve the sugar.
- Add 1 tsp of ACTIVE DRY YEAST to
water and stir.
II. Scaling dry ingredients and mixing the dough
- Place a medium-sized plastic bowl
on the scale
reset the scale to 0. Fill this bowl with 16 oz. of All Trumps flour.
(If you don't have a scale, 16 oz.
Trumps flour is equal to about 2.8 cups. Other flours have different
densities, so if you're using something other than All Trumps, your
dough may not turn out right.)
- After you've measured the flour,
yeast water to see if it's beginning to foam. If it is, the yeast is
fine and you can continue. If not, give it a few minutes. If it hasn't
begun to foam after ten minutes, something is wrong. In such a case,
the yeast is probably dead. (I've made thousands of pizzas, and I have
never had that problem. If the yeast does not
activate, you should buy new yeast and start over.)
- Add 1-1/4
tsp salt to the foamy yeast water.
- Pour the remaining 2/3 of the water
5 of Part I) into yeast water.
- Add 16 oz. flour to the mixing bowl.
- If using a KitchenAid stand mixer,
mix on Speed
2 for about 1 minute, using the dough hook (preferably a spiral hook).
At this point, stop the mixer and add oil to the dough.
- Once you've added the oil, resume
mixing on Speed 2 for at
least 10 minutes but not more than 15 minutes.
III. Scaling dough balls & waiting patiently
- When finished mixing, remove the
from the mixing bowl and place it on your work surface. (This is a
reasonably wet/soft dough, so you might want to sprinkle some flour on
- With a chef's knife or dough
divide the dough into three 8.5-ounce pieces. Or divide it in half,
making two 13-ounce(ish) pieces.
- Form each piece of dough into a
round dough ball. (This will probably take a lot of practice before you
really know what you're doing. I may provide some pictures soon to
- Place each dough ball into a small,
lightly-oiled bowl and cover with lids or plastic wrap. (You could
also put the dough in plastic bags or plastic wrap; just make sure to
leave room for the dough to expand without escaping. There are several
other ways you can store the dough; you'll figure out what you like
- If you only intend to make one
two of the dough balls in the refrigerator immediately. They will be OK
to use for
at least a few days if stored properly.
- Keep the remaining dough ball at
temperature for at least 2 hours. (To speed things up a little,
warm up your oven to about 110 degrees and keep the dough ball in the
oven. Alternatively you could use more yeast--up to 2 tsp--but that
willl shorten the life span of your refrigerated dough balls.)
to do while
waiting for your dough to rise:
- While the dough is rising (or
fermenting), process your La Valle tomatoes in a food processor or
blender. (I like to use several quick pulses, to leave the sauce
pulpy.) If you want a chunkier sauce, chop the tomatoes with a knife
or use a few quick pulses of the food processor.
Until you have made at least a few pizzas, do not add anything to the
tomatoes, because these are awesome tomatoes. If you have to add
anything to your tomatoes, it's because you're using a crappy tomato
product instead of what I suggested. Believe me, quality tomatoes do
not need basil or oregano or
garlic powder or sugar or salt or oil or anything! And do not cook the
tomatoes, either. Don't even think about it!
- Also, shred your Grande mozzarella
dough is rising.
for making pizza
an hour before you prepare your pizza, preheat
your oven, with the baking stone
on the lowest rack, to the oven's highest temperature setting.
If using a
grill, you can turn it on high just before you start preparing the
pizza(s). (Originally the following instructions were meant for pizza
the grill, but grills are very unpredictable, so I've decided you
should probably start out using your oven.)
I. Stretching the dough
- Sprinkle some flour on your work
as much as you think you'll need; flour is cheap.)
- Place your 8.5-ounce dough ball on
surface and sprinkle a little more flour on top of the dough ball.
- Flatten the dough ball, using
fingertips or your palms. (By using your fingertips you will end up
with a lighter, more airy crust.) ABSOLUTELY DO NOT USE A
ROLLING PIN!!! ROLLING PIN BAD BAD BAD!
- Make sure there is plenty of flour
surface of the dough, then pick it up and stretch it, using your
knuckles (as in the left picture below). Keep your hands near the
outside of the dough or else you'll
end up with a pizza that's paper thin in the middle and too thick on
the outside. Then give it a toss if you dare. (To see another
dough-stretching pic, visit the Meet Ryan
- Set the dough aside on your work
surface for a
II. Assembling and baking your pizza
- Evenly distribute a few pinches of
your wooden pizza peel. (If you've never done this, you should sprinkle
some cornmeal on the peel, too, because it is not easy for a beginner
to slide a fully prepared pizza skin off of a peel and onto a stone.)
- If you've stretched your dough to a
least 10", place it
on the floured area of your wooden pizza peel and pull the edges
outward so everything is nice and comfy.
(Leave it at 10" if you want, or stretch it all the way to 12". Either
size will work fine. I've been making them 12" lately.)
- Spread enough sauce (3-4 oz.) on
the dough to
it almost to the edge.
- Spread 4-5 oz. of cheese over the
dough and sauce. (Just make a cheese pizza the first few times. Keep it
- Pick up the pizza peel and give it
jerk to make sure the dough is not sticking to the
- If everything seems good, go ahead
the pizza directly onto the hot stone in the oven. (This will not be
easy at first. Just do your best and learn from the experience.)
- Depending on your oven and the
will take about 5-7 minutes for your pizza to fully cook. When all the
cheese is bubbling and the crust looks good, your pizza is done.
- Slide a pizza peel (I prefer metal
your pizza and remove it from the oven.
- Cut the pizza and eat it.
Food Network has never
produced a fully competent pizza-making instruction show, I am
thinking about making a video to demonstrate these pizza-making
methods, as well as methods for making various other styles of pizza.
I'd like to know if you would be interested in seeing such a video. Is
it something you might be interested in buying (for about the same
price as a pizza cookbook)? Please let me know via the contact
needs your help!
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