Making pizza at home can be a fun and delicious experience. However, making the crust from scratch can be time consuming and require some skill. An easier option is to start with a store bought pizza crust and jazz it up to taste homemade. There are several simple tricks you can use to make a store bought crust taste like you meticulously kneaded and proofed the dough yourself.
Brush with Olive Oil and Garlic
One of the main differences between a store bought crust and a homemade one is the flavor. Store bought crusts tend to have a bland flavor profile. An easy way to combat this is by brushing on some olive oil and garlic. The olive oil will provide some richness while the garlic infuses an aromatic flavor.
To do this, simply take a few cloves of garlic and mince them finely. Combine with about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Brush this garlic oil mixture over the entire surface of the pizza crust. Be sure to brush all the way to the edges to get maximum flavor impact. The garlic oil will seep into the pores of the crust and give it that homemade taste.
Sprinkle with Italian Seasonings
In addition to garlic, bump up the flavor of a store bought crust by sprinkling on Italian seasonings. An easy blend to make at home is equal parts dried basil, oregano, and thyme. These herbs are commonly used in homemade pizza crust recipes. Their addition will make a store bought crust taste like it was made from scratch.
Simply combine the dried herbs and sprinkle them generously over the crust before adding toppings. The heat from the oven will activate the seasonings, infusing the crust with their aromatic flavors. Just be sure not to overdo the herbs or they can make the crust taste too bitter.
Add Parmesan and Oregano
Another great way to make a store bought pizza crust taste homemade is by topping it with parmesan cheese and oregano. This is similar to techniques used in homemade Detroit and Chicago-style pizzas.
To do this, first brush the crust lightly with olive oil. Next, sprinkle on about 1⁄4 cup of finely grated parmesan cheese, making sure to coat evenly. Follow this with 1 teaspoon of dried oregano sprinkled over the top. The parmesan will add a nutty, cheesy flavor while the oregano provides a zesty herbal punch.
Use Cornmeal on the Pan
Homemade pizza crusts are often stretched and formed by hand, then cooked on a pizza stone or baking steel. To mimic this effect with a store bought crust, use cornmeal on your pizza pan. The cornmeal will provide the texture and crunch of a stone-baked crust.
Simply dust a pizza pan or baking sheet with a light layer of cornmeal where you will place the crust. The jagged edges of the cornmeal will lift the bottom of the crust slightly, allowing air to circulate and creating a crispier texture.
Proof the Dough Before Topping
Homemade pizza crust needs time to proof so the yeast can develop flavor and bubbles. Skip this step with a store bought crust and the texture will be denser and flavor flat. While you can’t truly proof a store bought crust, you can let it rest before topping to improve its texture.
After preparing the crust with garlic oil, seasonings, etc., allow it to sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes before adding sauce and toppings. This rest time will allow the crust to relax and puff slightly. The result will be a lighter, airier texture, just like a slow-proofed homemade crust.
Partially Bake the Crust First
The best homemade pizza crusts are par-baked before adding toppings. This sets the structure and makes the base crispy. Try this restaurant technique at home by partially baking your store bought crust before topping.
Shape and prepare the crust as desired, then bake at 425°F for 5-7 minutes until lightly puffed and dry to touch but not browned. Remove from oven and add sauce and toppings as usual. Return to oven until pizza is fully cooked through.
Use High-Temperature Baking
Pizza ovens reach incredibly high temperatures compared to home ovens, which gives the crust its characteristic char. Recreate this effect at home with high heat baking.
Crank your home oven as high as it will go, between 500-550°F if possible. Place the shaped crust directly on the oven rack or a preheated pizza stone. Bake for a short time, just 3-5 minutes until the edges blacken slightly. This will make a store bought crust taste more like wood-fired pizza.
Add Sugars for Browning and Flavor
Sugars are sometimes added to homemade pizza crust recipes. As the crust bakes, the sugars caramelize, adding flavor, aroma, and appetizing browning.
To achieve similar effects with a store bought crust, simply brush the surface lightly with a simple syrup before baking. Make the syrup by combining 1 cup water and 1/4 cup sugar in a small saucepan. Heat until the sugar dissolves, then briefly boil for 1-2 minutes. Brush on the crust, then bake as usual for delicious caramelized flavor.
Use a Pizza Stone or Steel
Using a pizza stone or steel is essential for getting a crisp crust when making homemade pizza. These dense materials hold and radiate heat to the crust, mimicking the effects of a brick pizza oven.
Pick up a pizza stone or steel and preheat it in your oven when making pizza with a store bought crust. The stored heat will give you better browning on the bottom for a homemade taste and texture.
With a few easy tricks, a store bought pizza crust can taste just as delicious as one made from scratch at home. Elevate the flavor with garlic, herbs, parmesan, and sugars. Improve texture by proofing, par-baking, and using high heat. Finally, recreate the effects of a pizza oven with stones, steels and cornmeal. In no time, you’ll have a crust that rivals your favorite pizzeria.
|Brush with olive oil and garlic||Adds flavor and richness|
|Sprinkle with Italian seasonings||Provides an aromatic, herbal flavor|
|Top with parmesan and oregano||Boosts flavor with nutty, cheesy, and zesty notes|
|Use cornmeal on the pan||Mimics the texture of stone-baked pizza|
|Let dough rest before topping||Allows gluten to relax for a lighter, airier crust|
|Par-bake crust first||Sets the structure and makes the base crispy|
|Bake at high temperature||Charring effect gives an authentic wood-fired taste|
|Brush crust with simple syrup||Encourages browning and caramelized notes|
|Use a pizza stone or steel||Mimics a brick oven for crispy crust|
With just a few minutes of preparation, you can easily transform a boring store bought pizza crust into one that looks, tastes, and crunches like it came straight from your own oven. Follow these tips for homemade pizza night any night of the week without all the tedious dough making.
Pizza is an immensely popular dish around the world. According to surveys, pizza is the food most craved by Americans. In fact, 13% of Americans eat pizza on any given day! With so many people enjoying this cheesy, saucy, doughy treat on a regular basis, it’s no wonder that homemade pizza is a staple in many households.
While delivery or takeout pizza certainly has its place, there’s nothing quite like sinking your teeth into a piping hot slice of homemade pizza straight from your kitchen oven. The secret to incredible homemade pizza is all in the crust. With a little effort, you can easily make pizza crust that’s tastier, healthier, and more economical than anything you can get at a chain pizza shop.
Benefits of Homemade Pizza Crust
Crafting your own crust from scratch yields many benefits that make it worth the extra effort compared to store-bought or delivery pizza:
- Fresher, better taste – ingredients are purchased just before making the dough
- Softer, chewier texture – the structure develops properly through kneading and proofing
- Healthier option – ability to control ingredients and exclude additives
- Cost effective – typically cheaper per pizza compared to takeout
- Fun activity – kids enjoy helping roll out and top their own creations
- Satisfaction of DIY – sense of accomplishment from mastering the techniques
While homemade crust requires an investment of time up front, the advantages make it worthwhile for those who want the best quality pizza.
Tips for Making Pizza Dough
The starting point for incredible homemade pizza is dough made properly from scratch. Here are some tips for foolproof pizza dough:
- Use bread flour – Higher protein content than all-purpose flour makes it ideal for chewy crust.
- Active dry yeast – Fast-acting yeast creates proper rise and air pockets.
- Lukewarm water – Activate the yeast and hydrate the dough when water is 105-115°F.
- Adequate kneading – Knead/mix for 8-10 minutes to develop gluten structure.
- Let rise twice – Allow dough to proof initially, then again after shaping.
- Portion into individual crusts – Dividing dough makes it easier to handle and top.
Following these steps attentively when making dough results in the soft, chewy, bubbly texture that characterizes great homemade pizza crust.
Sample Pizza Dough Recipe
To experience the magic of homemade pizza crust, try this basic dough recipe:
- 3 1⁄2 cups (420g) bread flour
- 2 teaspoons (6g) salt
- 1 teaspoon (4g) instant yeast
- 1 1⁄4 cups (300 ml) warm water (105° – 115°F)
- 1 tablespoon (15 ml) olive oil
- In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, and instant yeast.
- Form a well in the center and pour in the warm water and olive oil.
- Using a wooden spoon, mix until a shaggy dough begins to form.
- Turn out onto a clean work surface and knead for 8-10 minutes. Add more flour only if the dough is overly sticky.
- Shape the dough into a tight ball and place in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover and let rise for 1 hour.
- Punch down dough to release air pockets. Portion into 3-4 balls (for easier handling) and let rise for an additional 30 minutes.
- Shape or roll dough out to desired size. Top as desired and bake at 450°F for 15-20 minutes until golden brown.
This versatile, straightforward dough recipe can be topped with traditional or creative ingredients to suit any pizza lover’s preferences!
Topping Combinations for Homemade Pizza
While a phenomenal crust is the foundation, fun, flavorful toppings are what take your homemade pizza to the next level. Anything goes when it comes to homemade pizza toppings! Go with classic combinations or get creative – either way, DIY pizza night will be a big hit. Here are some top topping ideas:
- Pepperoni – Spicy, crispy, chewy perfection.
- Supreme – Pepperoni, sausage, peppers, onions, mushrooms for a fully loaded pie.
- Hawaiian – Sweet pineapple and savory ham is a tropical delight.
- Margherita – Fresh mozzarella, basil, tomato sauce for a taste of Italy.
- BBQ Chicken – BBQ sauce, chicken, red onion, and cilantro.
- Taco Pizza – Seasoned beef, salsa, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and avocado.
- Veggie Lover’s – Mushrooms, peppers, spinach, olives, onions, artichokes.
- Breakfast Pizza – Sausage, bacon, egg, potato, onions, peppers, cheese.
With the right crust and thoughtful toppings, homemade pizza offers endless possibilities for fun and flavor. Experiment with favor combinations to invent your family’s new go-to pizza perfected from your own kitchen.
Common Homemade Pizza Problems and Solutions
Even when armed with proper techniques and recipes, problems can pop up when making homemade pizza. Don’t worry – most common pizza issues have an easy fix!
|Dough is too sticky||
|Crust is dense and chewy||
|Crust burns on bottom||
|Toppings slide off||
With a few simple adjustments, you can troubleshoot most common pizza problems. Don’t let setbacks discourage you – becoming a homemade pizza pro takes practice but brings delicious rewards!
For fresh, wholesome, budget-friendly pizza that beats delivery or frozen, try your hand at homemade crust and creative toppings. With high quality ingredients and proper technique, you’ll be serving restaurant-worthy pizzas from your own oven in no time. Turn pizza night into a fun DIY activity that your whole family will love and benefit from.
The beauty of homemade pizza is that once you master the basics, the possibilities are endless for customizing craveable pies that satisfy any hankering. Tap into your inner pizza chef to discover new favorite flavor combinations. Before you know it, your homemade pizza prowess will be legendary among friends and family!