There are a few things that you can keep on hand to make your pizza making easier. Let’s start from the beginning:
Tools for making dough:
- Kitchen scale. I prefer to work in weight measurements, specifically grams. I offer cup measurements on my recipes, but for baking, using a scale is the best way to predictable results time and time again. It’s also a fun activity for kids!
- Stand mixer/food processor/very large bowl. I love my Kitchenaid standing mixer (not sponsored) that I use with the dough hook attachment. But in the days before I owned one, I used my food processor to mix dough. I’ve also done it completely by hand, and I actually recommend doing this at least once to really get a feel for the dough and how much work our pizza-ancestors put into this simple, but exhausting process.
- Dough Scrapers: one plastic, one metal. I actually own about 20 of these things and they live a very free life in any one of 5 different kitchen drawers. The plastic ones are useful for scraping the dough out of a mixing bowl and for lifting it from a sheet pan. The metal ones are best for shaping dough balls (see more about that here).
- Plastic wrap and tea towels. Once you’ve formed your dough into balls, you’ll need to cover it tightly to protect it from drying out. I use plastic wrap for that, it really works the best. And I make SURE there are no holes for that air to sneak in. But for when the dough is resting between mixing phases, you can cover it loosely with a tea towel.
- Rimmed sheet pan. Once I’ve formed the dough balls, I like to place them on a rimmed sheet pan, cover with plastic wrap and then either let them rise at room temperature, or in the fridge for longer periods of time. Restaurants use dough boxes, but unless you have extra storage space and enjoy giant cumbersome Tupperware, I don’t recommend these for home use.
For Pizza Cooking in the Oven:
- Many people like the effect of a pizza stone. This is a large, ceramic tile that is placed in the oven and tries to mimic the way a brick oven would heat a pizza from the bottom. I have two. The best way to use them is to allow them to heat up in the oven for at least 30 mins before you bake on it. This allows them to get really hot. There are some new items out there, including the baking steel. I haven’t tried it….yet.
- If you’re using a stone, you’ll also need a pizza peel. This is a wooden or metal shovel-like utensil with which you slide your pizza into the oven and onto the peel. More on how to use those giant paddles here.
- Oven mitts. Can’t stress this enough, kids. Get some. Get extras. Get industrial strength ones.
- Don’t want to get a stone? That’s cool. I’ve baked tons of impressively delicious pizzas on a regular baking sheet. Usually, I line it with some parchment paper. This makes getting the pizza off the baking sheet really easy, as dough likes to stick to metal. It just does. Help yourself out a bit and buy a roll of parchment paper.
For Pizza Cooking on a Grill:
- Cooking pizza on a grill is my second favorite way to cook it, after a wood-fired oven. The reason? Your grill can get much hotter than your kitchen oven, so the pizza cooks more quickly, resulting in a fluffier, moist dough. But you need extra vigilance when cooking pizza on a grill. So an assistant can be a very useful thing. No assistant? How about a small prep table with all your ingredients portioned out ahead of time. In French, it’s called miss-en-place. I like to call it mise-en-pizza.
- Metal tongs and a metal spatula. Since we are dealing with very high heat, I want to stress the importance of using metal tools. No plastic, or fake plastic. METAL. I use the tongs and spatula together to flip my pizza dough (more on grilling techniques here) and remove if from the grill.
For Pizza Serving:
- I like to use a nice, large cutting board for serving. Get a couple, so you can keep the pizzas coming!
- Pizza cutter or large chef’s knife? I used to hate those rolling pizza cutters until someone gave me a tutorial on the proper way to use one. Now I love them, but a large chef’s knife will also work wonders. Ripping chunks of pizza with your bare hands is totally acceptable if very hungry, or if snagging leftovers from the fridge before anyone sees…