Cooking a pizza at home in such away to match anywhere near restaurant quality is a challenge. There are a lot of short cuts on a variety of websites and such. This is just one more, that I have found particularly simple and doesn’t require breaking the lock on the self-cleaning oven or adding bricks or anything suchlike.
The basic premise of a good pizza oven is that the heat reaches the pizza two ways. it is conducted but from the bottom by the floor of the oven, and it receives radiated and convected heat down from the top. The bread is mostly cooked via the conducted heat from the floor of the oven and the toppings are cooked by the radiant heat from above. The important leap to make here is that the two need not necessarily be entirely concurrent.
The one tool that makes this process easy is pictured above, it is a cast iron crepe pan. you can use any skillet, but the primary advantage of the crepe pan is that it has very low sides, which makes it easy to get the pizza on and off without having to dig it out. You can almost think of it as a very heavy pizza peel.
The basic process is to put the pan on the stove top over a fairly high heat and let it get thoroughly hot before using it. Then, stretch the dough and throw it directly onto the pan and *then* start topping it. It does make that part of the process a bit of a race, but simply adding the sauce will slow the cooking down a bit and give you a bit of extra time. Once the pizza is topped, keep it on the stove top until the bottom is cooked enough, then take it off the heat and put it under a broiler, set to high and cook it there until the toppings are browned or melted to your desires.
- turn broiler on high
- lay out all the toppings for your pizza near the stove
- put pan on burner on high/medium high heat
- when pan is fully hot, put stretched pizza dough on the pan
- spread the sauce
- add cheese and toppings (you have time here, it takes a couple of minutes for the bottom to cook)
- when the bottom is cooked to your satisfaction, take the pan off the heat and put under the broiler
- keep an eye on pizza and remove from oven when it looks like you want it to.
- spread the sauce to the very edge if you can help it. unless you like the big balloony crust.
- this is a personal opinion, but I think onions on a pizza should be sliced very thin. they crisp up a bit and dehydrate, and are more flavoring than texture. I have never enjoyed chunks of onion on a pizza. I view that as a sign of sadism on the part of the cook.
simple bread dough, 2+a little:1 ratio (by volume) of flour to water. salt to taste and amount of yeast sort of depends on when you want to use the dough. if you want it now, use a whole packet. if you’re going to make the pizza tomorrow, use 1/4 tsp-1/2 tsp. If you want more detail, it’s pretty much the simple bread recipe I published last year, just a little extra flour to make handling it less fussy.
for the pizza pictured above, I used 3 1/4 cups of flour (mixture of bread, whole wheat and all purpose) to 1 1/2 cup of water. a teaspoon of salt, and because we were eating it same day, a whole packet (2 1/4 tsp) of yeast. this made 4 pizzas big enough to fill that crepe pan. (well, 2 pizzas, I used the remainder to make a couple of baguettes the next day.)
I think you could probably get 6 out of this recipe, as I made them kind of thick. but that would take a bit more practice in the whole spinning/flattening step of the process and at least at the moment, I just couldn’t be bothered. maybe next time.