Making pizza at home is a great way to save money and can be a whole lot of fun. Trader Joe's sells an excellent pre-made pizza dough for under 2 dollars. If this is your first time making pizza using fresh dough, it can be a little tricky. These 4 tips will show you how to make an excellent pizza using Trader Joe's fresh dough:
1. Place The Dough In a Covered Bowl Ahead of Time
When you cut that bag open and wrestle the dough out, the glutens inside the dough are getting activated. The result is elastic dough that is awkwardly shaped and difficult to stretch. Taking the dough out ahead of time and placing it in a covered, slightly oiled bowl will allow the glutens to relax and let the dough form into a round ball. I usually do this right when I get back from the store. However, you'll be fine if you do this an hour ahead of time.
2. Use Ample Bench Flour
It's really important to use ample flour when shaping your dough. This will prevent your dough from sticking to your peel and make it easy to get your pizza into the oven. When you're ready to get started, take the ball out of the bowl and dunk into a pile of flour. As you shape the dough, the excess flour will shake off. Instead of flour, you can also use semolina or cornmeal. However, in hotter ovens cornmeal tends to burn.
3. Use a Peel
Using a peel to get your pizza into the oven is a must. They can be found at kitchen and restaurant supply stores and are relatively inexpensive. Place your stretched dough onto the peel after flouring lightly. Now you're ready to top your pizza with sauce, cheese and toppings. Have your toppings ready to go ahead of time and give your peel a little shake every few seconds to prevent sticking. If the dough does get stuck to the peel and you're unable to get it into the oven, all is not lost. You can always fold it in half and create a calzone.
4. Crank Up Your Oven and Use a Stone
If you're making pizza (deep dish and sicilian style excluded) without a stone, stop reading this and go buy one immediately. A hot oven and a sufficiently heated stone is key. Crank up your oven as hot as it will go and make sure your stone heats up for at least 45 minutes. This might sound like overkill. It's definitely not and will make a huge difference.
Give these tips a try and let us know how it goes. Please be sure to post your questions or comments!