Pizza for Beginners: Don’t Buy Pizza, Make It! Here’s How to Get Started!

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Pizza for Beginners

Are you looking for a Pizza for Beginners article? All right! Welcome.

You have this idea that you want to make pizza at home as opposed to ordering it, but where do you start? 

You may have many questions about how to make pizza at home. Maybe you don’t know which flour to use, or, for how long to cook your pizza. 

Don’t worry! Here you will find answers and directions to all your questions. 

In this pizza for beginners article, we are going to discuss what exactly means to make pizza at home, what entails to make a good pizza and show how easy it is to get started.

Before you know it, you will be on your way to making the best pizza!

So, let’s get started.

Pizza for Beginners

How to get started making pizza at home.

What is Homemade Pizza?

For some, making homemade pizza is going to the supermarket, buying a box of frozen pizza, maybe adding some slices of pepperoni, sticking in the oven, and calling it a day.

If you are one of those, say Yes!   

That is fine if that is the kind of pizza you like.

Since we all already know what pizza is, let’s discuss what “Homemade” means. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, homemade means made in the home, on the premises, or by one’s own efforts.”

Accordingly, homemade pizza is any pizza that you make at home by your own efforts. Simple.  

It will probably take a little more effort than just buying frozen pizza or ready-made dough, but the results are amazing!

The only drawback of making pizza at home is time. Making pizza at home is not as fast as making a burger. Pizza dough needs to proof at least twice so it can develop structure and flavor.

To get started, you will need a plan, or let’s call it a “pizza plan”. This plan doesn’t need to be extensive or sophisticated. A simple list of items will do. Just know what pizza you will make and what you need to make it. 

To make things easy, we came up with our own version of a pizza plan that you can use and print. 

Press on the below button to use it, don’t worry it’s free for you to use and share with your friends.  

Pro Tip


Before baking the pizza, be sure to preheat the oven to 500F and warm the pizza stone/steel in it for at least 1hr.

Which Kind of Pizza Would You Make?

There are about a dozen different pizza styles that you can make, as well as an indefinite number of pizza recipes out there for you to choose from.  

However, a basic pizza recipe will be an excellent place to start. We have an easy homemade pizza recipe that you can try.  

A basic pizza recipe can be adapted or transformed into other styles with the addition of extra ingredients and toppings.

What Do You Need to Make Pizza at Home?

Pizza for Beginners – Equipment

To make the dough, you will need the following:

  • Bowl – You will need a mixing bowl big enough to fit the total mixture. It’s better to use a glass or wood bowl. Metal bowls are not recommended for pizza dough as it is reactive. Tiny shavings of metal can contaminate the dough.
  • Scale – A digital scale is always a better choice as it gives you exact quantities of the ingredients.   If you don’t have a scale, you can always use measuring cups and measuring spoons.
  • Mixer – The dough can be made using a stand mixer, a hand mixer, or you can mix it by hand.
  • Pizza Stone, Pizza Steel, or Baking Sheet – To set the pizza in the oven is better if you have a pizza stone or steel as they help significantly improve the baking of the crust. However, you can also use a baking sheet and set the pizza on the bottom of the sheet.

If you want to step up your pizza game check our Homemade Pizza Checklist where you will find a comprehensive list of items that will make your life much easier when you are making pizza at home.

Pizza Pun


What’s the difference between a pizza and our pizza jokes?

Our pizza jokes can’t be topped!

Pizza for Beginners – Ingredients

Ingredients

When following any recipe, it’s best if you have all the ingredients you need set in front of your working area. What the French call “Mise en place” or everything in its place.

Having all ingredients handy will make your life a lot easier instead of rambling to looking for each ingredient you are going to use.

The basic homemade pizza recipe requires that you have the following ingredients:

  • Flour – Any high-protein flour is preferred, but you can also use all-purpose flour.
  • Water – Bottled water is recommended; however, you can use tap water. Try to avoid using mineral water.
  • Yeast – We prefer using Active Dry Yeast, but you can also use Instant Yeast, the proportion will be the same. You can use them interchangeably ( 1 : 1 ) for small amounts of dough.
  • Salt – Fine sea salt is always preferred as it dissolves faster, and it tastes better. If you can’t find or don’t have fine sea salt, you can use regular table salt. However, table salt has an iodine taste that will transfer to your dough.
  • Oil – A good olive oil will give you the best results, but you can also use vegetable oil.
  • Sugar – Plain white sugar can be used or, if you prefer, honey is a great substitute.Oil – A good olive oil will give you the best results, but you can also use vegetable oil.

Mise on place

Have everything ready in front of you:

  • Type 00 Flour or Bread Flour
  • Active Dry o Instant Yeast
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil gives better flavor
  • Try to Use Fine Sea Salt

Weigh all the Ingredients

It is always best that you weigh each of your ingredients.  The easiest way is to weigh them in grams because you won’t have to deal with fractions. 

A simple kitchen scale will do the work.  However, if you don’t have a scale you can always use measuring cups and measuring spoons.

Remember Flour is always 100%

Measuring cups and spoons can also do the job.


Just keep in mind that using cups to measure flour will give you a different result every time, try it! 

Depending on how you compact the flour in the cup will have a different weight.  On the other hand, if you weigh the flour it will always give you the same result. 

If you want to learn more about why we should weigh our ingredients check our article on Baker’s Percentage.

The order of ingredients will vary depending on which yeast you use.

Before you start mixing, keep in mind that you should not allow the yeast to come in direct contact with the salt at any time, no matter what yeast you are using.

The proportion of ingredients will be set by the recipe you use.

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Pizza for Beginners – Continued

Order of Pizza Dough Ingredients

Order of Ingredients when Using Instant Yeast:

  1. Flour – Add the flour to a mixing bowl
  2. Yeast – Mix the yeast with the flour to get an even distribution in the flour.
  3. Water – Add the water and start mixing the dough
  4. Oil– Add the oil and continue mixing the dough
  5. Sugar – Add the sugar and keep mixing the dough
  6. Salt – Lastly, add the salt and mix all the ingredients thoroughly.

Important:

Order of Pizza Dough Ingredients when Using Active Dry Yeast:

  1. Water – Add a small amount of the total water to a small bowl, and keep the remainder of the water separate.
  2. Yeast – Mix the yeast with the water in a small bowl and let it sit for 10-15 min.
  3. Flour – Add the flour to a mixing bowl, add the water/yeast mixture and the rest of the water and start mixing.
  4. Oil – Add the oil and continue mixing the dough
  5. Sugar – Add the sugar and keep mixing the dough
  6. Salt – Lastly, add the salt and mix all the ingredients thoroughly.

Pizza for Beginners – Mixing Pizza Dough

The key factor that you need to keep in mind when mixing dough for pizza is not to over mix the dough.  Over mixing the dough makes it very difficult to handle not to mention that it will result in a tough, chewy crust. 

When mixing the dough there is a very important process that occurs, which is the development of the gluten

The gluten is what binds everything together and is the liaison between all of your ingredients.  

You can mix your dough in a stand mixer at the lowest speed.

Or you can mix with your hands.

Pizza for Beginners – Kneading Pizza Dough

You can either use a mixer to knead the dough or you can knead it by hand. If you are using a stand mixer, it should be set at the lowest speed for no more than 6 to 8 minutes.

If you are mixing by hand, make sure all the ingredients are mixed thoroughly and knead the dough for about 10 to 15 minutes or until the dough becomes smooth to the touch.

Pizza for Beginners – Proofing Pizza Dough

Once you have your mixture kneaded, you need to shape it into a big mass/ball of dough.

You can use the same bowl you mixed it in and let it sit for about 1 to 1 ½ hrs. or until it doubles in size. This is the first fermentation.

The best temperature to proof pizza dough is about  80°F. You can set your bowl at room temperature or inside of the oven when the oven is off. 

Set the dough in a bowl

Make sure there is no air coming in or the dough will develop a crust

Pizza for Beginners – Degassing Pizza Dough

After the dough has doubled in size, you will have a big ball of dough inflated like a balloon.

You must deflate the dough by pressing it down with your fist, allowing all of the air to be released.

After degassing, you need to reshape the dough into smaller balls and set in them apart, so they don’t touch each other. Cover the balls with either a towel or clear wrap and refrigerate them for 8 to 24 hrs. This is the second fermentation.

The dough should take from 1 to 1 1/2 hrs to double its size.

By deflating the dough you are releasing all the accumulated gases in the dough

On a floured surface divide the dough into balls.

Dough balls should be nice and tight and do not touch each other.

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Shaping Pizza Dough

Each ball will be a separate pizza, so you need to shape each ball into a 12-inch circle leaving about ¾ of an inch of the border. You can use a rolling pin to help the process, but it is preferred that you shape it by hand.  

With the tip of your fingers start shaping the dough into a circle

Leave a rim of about 3/4 of an inch to create a border or the crust.

Topping Pizza Dough

Top the pizza with your favorite pizza sauce. When it comes to sauce, the less is always better. If you put too much sauce on it, it will be challenging to handle, and the crust will be too wet.

Spread the sauce evenly throughout the crust, leaving the exposed rim. 

Add your favorite toppings, keep in mind that everything you put on your pizza adds weight and sometimes moisture.  For example, when adding mushrooms they tend to release a lot of moisture in the cooking process.  Sometimes is best to pre-cook or saute your topping before adding them to your pizza.

If you add too much sauce, the pizza will become soggy and difficult to handle because of the weight

Low-Moisture Mozarella Cheese is the best for pizza

What Temperature Do You Cook Homemade Pizza?

Before you bake the pizza, you should set the oven at 500°F and let it preheat with the pizza stone or pizza steel in it.

Average kitchen ovens only reach up to 500°F; if you are using an outdoor pizza oven, either gas or wood-fired, you can reach higher temperatures.

For baking the pizza, you need to set the temperature at the highest temperature available for your kitchen oven.

How Long Do You Cook Pizza?

A basic homemade pizza with cheese and one or two toppings should take from 15-to 20 minutes to bake in a regular kitchen oven. 

If you are using an outdoor pizza oven, the cooking time reduces significantly as the cooking temperature is much higher.

Finishing your Homemade Pizza

Once your pizza is baked, you can finish it with flaked salt, fresh herbs, Parmesan/Romano cheese, or any good olive oil.

The best part of it is you did it!

Be proud of it and share it with your friends and family.  

The Last Slice

We are here to help you with how to make pizza at home

We hope this pizza for beginners article serves you as an initial step on your homemade pizza journey.

If you are interested in learning more about how to make pizza at home, we also posted The Definitive Guide to Make Homemade Pizza which covers, in much detail, all of the processes.

If you didn’t find an answer to your question on how to get started or if you have any other pizza questions, contact us here, and we will be glad to help you.

So, are you ready to start making homemade pizza?

If not, let us know what is holding you back; we would love to know so we can help you get started.

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How to Start Making Pizza?


Making pizza at home is actually very simple and anyone can do it.  If you don’t have a mixer you can still make the dough by hand.

Check our guide on How to Get Started to begin your pizza-making journey.

Do I need a pizza oven to make pizza at home?


No, you can make pizza in a regular kitchen oven, and these days you can even make pizza on your stove or your grill. 

Check our Recommended Oven Section to find the oven that best suits your needs.

What is the best flour for pizza?


The best flour for pizza is flour that contains a high-protein content.  Of course, it will depend on the kind of oven you have.

In terms of the brand, we’ve found that Caputo Chef’s Flour works best for home ovens while Caputo Pizzeria works best for high-temperature ovens. 

To learn more about flour and why we think Caputo is best check the Best Flour for Pizza article.

How long should I bake pizza?


The time to cook your pizza will depend on the kind of pizza you are making and the kind of oven you have. 

The lower the temperature the longer will take to cook your pizza.  On average it will take 12 to 15 min to cook pizza in a 500F oven. 

For details on specific cooking times and temperatures check the Guide to Oven Temperature and Cooking Time article.

What kind of yeast should I use for pizza?


To make pizza dough you can use any yeast you have available.  You can use fresh, instant, or active dry yeast. 

The amount of yeast to use will vary depending on which one you use. 

We found that active dry yeast gives the best results, to find out why we think is best to check Yeast: Here is What You Need to Know article.

What is the best hydration percentage?


On average water should be 65% of the total weight of flour.  For example, if your recipe calls for 500g of flour, you should add 325g of water (500 x .65 = 325).

Of course, the temperature of the oven will also have an impact on your final result. 

Check our guidelines our Baker’s Percentage Charts for the best results.

For more pizza questions, check our Pizza FAQs Page or Contact Us.​

Baker's Percentage Calculator for Pizza Dough


Baker’s Percentage Calculator: Is as Easy as 123

This Baker’s Percentage Calculator will allow you to you calculate the baker’s percentage for any given pizza recipe in a few seconds.

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Enjoy!

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