At Fun Diego Family we love pizza. On occasion, we like to make our own pizza as a family project. We have invested in some special equipment for pizza making. This article is a guide to some of the products we use for making homemade pizza.
Pizza making is not a simple task. At Fun Diego Family we make three styles of pizza:
We also make a French Bread Pizza that does not require any special equipment. Detroit Pizza is the easiest to make but requires a special pan and special cheese. Grill Pizza is the hardest to make but doesn’t require any special ingredients except maybe a pizza peel.
We make all our pizza on a gas grill or regular oven. This article is a guide to some of the more unique tools we use to make our pizza. Most of these are pretty basic equipment, but they will really enhance your pizza making. We have indicated substitutes in case you don’t have that specific equipment.
Top Pizza Making Equipment
We paid almost $40 for a LloydPans 10 x 14-inch official Detroit pizza pan. This also works well as a general casserole and lasagna dish. In my opinion, if you are going to make Detroit pizza on a regular basis you need a high-quality pan.
SUBSTITUTE: A large casserole dish can work in a pinch. However, the crust will not be as crisp and you are likely to have problems with the dough sticking to the edge.
We had a heck of a time finding Wisconsin Brick Cheese, a key ingredient of Detroit-style pizza. It was even hard to find online and we actually used a substitute in our first attempts. However, sometimes it will be available on Amazon. Once we were lucky to find it at Grocery Outlet, but otherwise, we order it online.
SUBSTITUTE: We had a hard time finding Wisconsin Brick Cheese so in our recipe we tried a combination of cheeses. After multiple attempts, we can say it tastes with many types of cheese.
We paid almost $100 for a pizza baking steel that weighs about 15 pounds. This baking steel is actually used for much more than pizza. It is great for bread. There is even a cookbook on using the steel. However, we have not used the book so we can not comment on its quality.
SUBSTITUTE: Before we had the baking steel we used a ceramic pizza stone. This is a completely acceptable method and there are many options.
4. Pizza Peel
A pizza peel will make your life a lot easier. Sliding the pizza on and off the baking steel or stone is one of the hardest parts of cooking pizza. Learning to use a pizza peel is a key secret to success. There are a lot of options. For years we have used a Sassafras peel we got for about $25.
SUBSTITUTE: Without a pizza peel you would need to use a regular cookie sheet to slide the pizza on. Just make sure to coat it with lots of cornmeal.
Mixing dough in a food processor is definitely the way to go. We use our food processor for pizza, pasta, and bread. After going through several food processors and hand mixers we are in love with our Cuisinart food processor. There are lots of choices but we went with the 12-cup food processor. It has an adjustable blade which can slice meat very thin (down to 1 mm). That doesn’t help with pizza but is great for things like Philly Cheesesteaks.
SUBSTITUTE: You can also use a standing mixer or even knead the dough by hand. Our Kitchen Aid standing mixer has broken three times trying to mix the dough. It has a plastic gear, designed to break so that the motor does not fail. I have become an expert in replacing that gear. The food processor is a definite step up and does not cost as much!
Of course, you can find recipes online from sites like Fun Diego family. However, a good cookbook provides great recipes and techniques for a wide variety of pizza styles. There are lots of books out there, but our go-to book is American Pie by Peter Reinhart. This book discusses regional styles of pizza in both Italy and the United States. There are multiple recipes for doughs, sauces, etc. Our NY-style pizza dough recipe comes directly from American Pie.
7. “00” Bread Flour
Italian “00” bread flour is specifically required for making Napoletana Pizza Dough. This is one of the reasons why we do not make Napoletana style-pizza. The other reason is this style of pizza is generally cooked at a very high temperature of 700+ degrees. At this point, you need a special pizza over or a cooker like the Big Green Egg. Both the American Pie book and this Serious Eats article on NY-style pizza suggest that American pizza does best made with regular high-gluten bread flour.
SUBSTITUTE: We use King Arthur bread flour you can find at the local grocery store.
Pepperoni makes a big difference. I do not understand why so many places use low-quality pepperoni. It can kill a pizza. We order our pepperoni directly from Vermont. This is not only a high-quality product it is inexpensive. If you are making your own pizza buy the best pepperoni you can. Of course, the same goes for cheese and other ingredients.