I can’t really express in words how much I love pizza. The enormous quantities of free pizza I ate at college events (and, let’s be honest, continue to eat at college events) has never quelled my craving for crispy pizza crust topped with any manner of sauces, cheeses, meats, pineapple, spinach… gaaaah. I really love pizza.
And I really love that I can make it at home. No, I don’t have a 900°F pizza oven. And yes, I do have a pizza stone. But! I didn’t until only a couple years ago, and though I really love my pizza stone, I’m here to tell you that you can cook beautiful, crispy-bottomed, bubbly-topped pizza at home TONIGHT with no pizza stone.
1. Take two large cookie sheets and nest them together. Place them on a center rack of a cold oven upside-down. Heat the oven to 475°F. Preheating the pans in this way will allow the pizza to cook from the ambient heat in the oven but will allow the crust to become crispy from contact with the hot pan, similar to using a pizza stone.
2. Prepare your pizza dough (I have a wonderfully easy recipe here). While it rises, cut a sheet of parchment paper the size of the cookie sheet and place it on a cutting board. Sprinkle with corn meal.
3. Roll out the pizza dough on a floured surface and transfer it to the cornmeal-sprinkled parchment paper.
4. Add toppings to your pizza as desired. Leave about half an inch of space around the edges of the crust.
5. Open the oven and slide the rack with the trays out slightly. Gently slide the parchment and pizza off of the cutting board onto the cookie sheet bottom. Don’t worry, you can bake parchment paper!
6. Bake the pizza for 10-15 minutes until the edges of the crust are browning and the cheese is bubbling and developing golden-brown spots. Remove the pizza from the oven and carefully slide the pizza onto a cutting board. Slice into pieces and eat!
See that? That is a crisp, beautiful pizza crust. The pre-heated cookie sheets help to form this crispy treat, while the ambient heat in the oven cooks the rest of the pizza.
Now if you have the space, I do recommend buying a pizza stone. I really love mine, and it’s great to make a round pizza every once in a while. There are a whole bunch of other tips to help you work with a pizza stone, but that will make for another How To’sday!
In the meantime, even without the stone, you can still make a dang good homemade pizza.
What are your favorite pizza toppings? Do you have a favorite pizza crust recipe?