Frequently Asked Questions
- I have purchased almost every
book on the market about making pizza. I still can’t
make a successful pizza. The sauce and cheese are okay, but
the dough (crust) isn’t right. Is there something new
you have in your pizza book that will help me make a good
pizza crust? I am very skeptical at this point.
Answer: Before I went to the work of writing
a book and doing a video, I did a search of pizza books and
internet sites to see if someone had already published information
on how to make real pizzeria style pizza at home. I couldn't find
this information anywhere online or in books. I see you have
recognized that the secret is in the dough ball (crust). My
“how to make pizza at home” course will tell you
how to make the dough you have been trying (unsuccessfully)
to do for years. Some of my readers had been trying for as long as 50 years to make better pizza.
- Does the way you make pizza require me
to buy a lot of expensive new equipment?
Answer: I would say most people could start
with an investment of about $10 for new equipment and supplies.
You probably already have some equipment on hand – like
a pizza cutter. But after taking the pizza course, you may
look at your 2-inch pizza cutter and
decide you want to invest in a 3-inch wheel with safety guard;
same for some of the other equipment.
- I have a pizza stone, but I’m not
sure how to use it. My instructions say to not preheat the
stone. I’m not having good results. Does your pizza
course cover how to use a stone?
Answer: Indeed it will. Once you learn how
to use your pizza stone, you will probably use it for other
- Does your book explain how to make other
kinds of pizzas besides New York style? I’d like to
make a good deep dish pizza, like a Sicilian style.
Answer: The pizza manual does give a formula
for deep dish pizza pie that many readers have written to
say they liked. Mainly though, the book covers the specific
New York style pizza that has never been explained anywhere
else. It will not help you if you want to make breakfast or
dessert pizzas – these are available online at many
sites for free.
- Every pizza dough recipe looks about the
same to me. When I make them up, they taste about the same.
It is not what I’m looking for. Is your recipe different
Answer: I like your question, for indeed
all pizza recipes look pretty much the same. One person who
purchased my book turned immediately to the dough recipe,
read it, and emailed me: “I am very disappointed. This
is just your basic Pizza Hut recipe.” I hope after a
more thorough reading of selecting the right flour and using
the right technique, she would be able to create the New York
style or adapt the formula and ingredients to make the pizza of her choice. The formula presented in my book, however,
would not make a basic Pizza Hut crust without a lot of alteration.
- I am still not sure what you mean by New
York style crust. The crust I am trying to make is
thin and crackly, you can fold it, and it’s tender. The one I have
in mind I ate in Italy and it was cooked in a wood-fired oven.
Answer: You are interested in a lesser known style - Neapolitan pizza - which is familiar mostly to people who live in New York City area or New Jersey. The formula for a Neapolital dough uses only flour, water, salt, and yeast. The type of flour that is used is referred to as 00 or equivalent. The dough is stretched almost paper thin, it has the merest schmear of sauce, and a light toss of cheese. Home oven temperatures of 550 degreees will just dry out the dough. You really need a 700-800 degree oven. It cooks in about 2 minutes and has burns and bubbles. It is very thin and people often fold it to eat it. The dough is tender and crispy rather than chewy. Many have tried to do this style in a home oven. One person who has been successful is Jeff Varasano. You can learn more about Neapolitan style pizza at http://jvpizza.sliceny.com.
If this is what you are looking for, don’t buy my book.
- Can you buy the ingredients in the grocery
Answer: You can purchase most of the ingredients
in your local grocery store. Just look for the ingredient
labels I specify. There is only one ingredient you can’t
buy at the grocery store, and I will suggest sources for
- Can I make this pizza quick?
Answer: What do
you mean by quick? I think of pizza as the slowest fast food
there is. I start making it 2 or 3 days ahead. It takes only
a few minutes to get it started. On the day I make it, it
takes less than an hour from refrigerator to table, with most
of that time waiting for the oven to heat up. If you are asking:
Can I start mixing right now and have it ready to eat in an
hour or two? The answer is no. You will never make a successful
New York style pizza if you started two hours ago. Time is
one of the most important techniques in successful New York style pizza making.
- My pizza is pretty good but I’d
like to toss it like they do in the pizza stores. Does your
video show how to do that?
Answer: It sure does. Using the clock as
reference points, I’ll show you where to start and end
on the toss. It’s a fun show-off maneuver. I’ll
also explain how to compensate for doing this trick so you
don’t end up stretching a hole in the center!
- Will I need a special mixer to make the
pizza dough? Can I make it in my bread making machine?
Answer: You can make the dough with nothing
more than a bowl and wood spoon. A mixer with a flat beater
and dough hook will make it easier and cut your kneading time
by half. And yes, you can make the pizza dough in your bread
machine, but because the dough needs to be firm, you
will not be able to add all the flour as a bread machine is
not designed to handle stiff doughs. You will probably want
to knead in a little more flour by hand after the machine
- Can I freeze this pizza dough?
Answer: Do not freeze these pizza dough balls.
This dough would be destroyed by freezing. The protein in the flour would
be denatured, resulting in a limp, soggy pizza crust.