I spent enough time on this reply to a fellow pizza shop owner who has yet to own... I thought some others in his shoes may find it helpful...
First of all, before you open a pizzeria you need to perfect your recipe. The time to perfect your taste and bake is NOT THE OPENING WEEK when you have the best opportunity to turn off the greatest number of customers. So, first look in the yellow pages under pizza suppies or food service supply and find one that supplies pizza shops. Give them a call and tell them you are in the process of testing recipes for a pizzeria you intend to open and need ot perfect your recipe before you open. Tell them you want cash and carry and see if they will sell to you. If not.. call the next number. Then, go to their distribution center and buy your supplies. All you are buying at first is flour, a sauce base, and some quality cheese because once you get these three right... The rest is easy. Buy a large bag of Gold Medal Full Strength flour and a case of Stanislaus Full Red Pizza Sauce. Stanislaus produces the best fresh packed tomato products available. Full Red is their second tier. If you want to go really top quality go with a case of Stanislaus Saporito but I think Full Red can get you where you want to go. Grab a case of the Saporito and try it if you must. If you like the saporito try adding a little sugar and citric acid to the Full Red... you'll bring it up a notch to that top quality taste but have to hand out Rolaids with each pie! It's cheap compared to an investment in a pizzaria that fails. Get a few bricks of quality cheese. Grande is good, Empire is the very best but tough to get. If they don't have those two go with what they consider their premium brand. The cheese is more expensive but you use less of it and it provides a substantial increase in flavor that you will never find in a supermarket Don't be afraid abotu getting too much... the longer the cheese ages under refrigeration the better it gets. Most NYS pizzerias believe in Whole Milk Mozz. I have found that whole milk just has too much fat in it and tends to burn easily. During the bake, unless you are in authentic pizza land your customers will call your pizza greasy. Unfortunately, greasy pizza has been associated with low quality.. the exact opposite of the quality whole milk cheese you are paying for and using. I prever a bit more cheesey texture and the melt of part-skim. A trade-off is to mix the two. While there buy some stuff you like... like some roni, some canned mushrooms, maybe some canned bananna peppers.. etc. so you don't get sick of the routine. Only used these canned toppings WELL DRAINED!
Buy a pizza wheel cutter, a wooden pizza peel and rectangular pizza stone about 14" x 18" or so (steer clear of the round ones as sliding a raw pie on a round stone just doesn't work). If you have a Kitchenaid mixer (a little counter top hobart with dough hook you won't have pop-eye arms by the time you are done perfecting your dough). I recommend the purchase and you can write it off and have a nice mixer for the woman at home. Get your spices... I recommend you buy all your from Penzeys spices (they have a web site) and are well knows for the best spices in the U.S. Buy some oregano, basil, whole black peppercorns and crushed red pepper flakes (don't screw around with garlic power and onion powder that you see in so many recipes). At the grocery store buy some Diamond superfine salt, a jar of dry active yeast, a squeeze bottle of honey, some fresh grated (not shredded Romano Cheese), a small bag of Semolina flour and some of those cheap Glad storage containers if you don't have anything to freeze sauce in.
What you will find is that less is more when it comes to NYS pizza. Everyone always overseasons their sauce, over cheeses the pizza, and tosses a crust that is too thick. I say toss because if you use a dough press or a sheeter you should go home now before you think about opening a pizzaria that claims to be "NY STYLE". Your mommy will have to take care of your skinned knees later if you don't. NY Style pizza is a dough tossed to a thin membrane topped with a watered- down yet rich and flavorful sauce with light cheese that sears and melds into a fantastic eating experience under intense heat.
Your Dough... Assuming you have a kitchenaid "little hobart" mixer...
1 3/4 cups water 110 degrees or just not so hot that you can't leave your finger in it
add to this... 2 tsp honey and 1 1/2 tsp of dry yeast and mix. Allow to set until foamy. (I know... the pros are gonna say no sugar and add the dry yeast with the flour and the oil after a few minutes of mixing but this a recipe for someone trying to perfect their recipe in small home-made batches so forgive me) Take about 4 1/2 cups of flour and dry mix in 1 1/2 tsp of superfine salt. When the yeast is foamy add about 2 tsp of olive oil and start mixing with the dough hook. Add 3 cups of your flour and then keep adding SLOWLY until the hook has picked up all the dough and it is no longer stuck on the sides. In 4-5 minutes the dough should begin get a sheen to it. Shut your mixer off every now and then and press your fingers into the dough... if the dough is very sticky add more flour. NYS pizza dough is a moist dough and is "somewhat but not too" sticky. You shuold be able to press your finger into it for about 5 seconds and remove it relatively clean. 10 seconds and it will probably stick to your finger. It has to be moist to crisp right and bake properly under the high heat. When you have found the right consistancy, portion the dough into two balls and place in the refridge covered overnight (this is how you would make dough at your pizzeria only in bulk). They will rise overnight. Next day take them out, punch them down and ball them again and let set about an hour at room temperature.
Remember when it comes to sauce and dry spices... less spice is better. Many people have tried to duplicate NY Style pizza sauce.. they even dumpster dive for secrets and there are non. They always over-spice their sauce. Take 2 cups of Full Red pizza sauce and add a cup of water to it (maybe a bit more). This is a thin sauce for the same reason the dough is a moist dough.. the high heat will boil the water out of the sauce.. too thick of a sauce and you will have tomato paste under your toppings and it will be sickeningly pasty on the edges. Add 1/2 tsp of oregano, 1/2 tsp of basil, 1/4 tsp ground black pepper and 1/4 tsp of crushed red pepper, 1/2 tsp salt, maybe 1/2 tsp of sugar if you think it has too much of an acid bite to it and finally 1 tbs of the fresh grated romano cheese. Stir and let set an hour or better yet overnight.
Shred your cheese as needed.
The assemby... Dust your pizza peel with a liberal dose of that semolina flour you bought. Take your dough ball (now at room temperature) and lay it on a floured cutting board or your counter top... press it out into a small circle (say 8") and then pick it up and stretch to 14" or the size of your peel. You should almost be able to see through it. Remember one thing now.. SPEED IS THE KEY. As soon as yuo ahve your dough stretched lay it on the dusted peel and top FAST FAST FAST. As soon as the sauce hits the dough it starts to really pass on the moisture and that means sticking to peel. Spread the sauce from center to edge with the most sauce on the edge. Don't use too much sauce... You are only supposed to "paint" the pizza with sauce. If you can't see the dough you used way way way too much. Just "Paint" the sauce onto the pizza. Your sauce should be the consistancy of paint as well. Think of what it would look like if your ladel was a large paint brush that you dipped into sauce and swiped the dough skin. Add cheese edge to center with the most cheese on the edge and you should still be able to see plenty of sauce under the cheese... use less than more.. it will melt. During the bake EVERYTHING gravitates to the center of the pie which is why you top heavier to the outside.
Throw your toppings on FAST (same thing.. more to the outside and less in the middle as they will move) and slide it off the peel and onto the searing hot stone in your oven.
In a preheated oven at 550 degrees with the pizza stone in it (allow the stone heat in your oven for AT LEAST AN HOUR) It has got to get searing hot. It will bake in 6-8 minutes. Check the underside for doneness. You want it crisp and deep brown but not blackened. When ready, remove and place on a cooling rack for 3-4 minuts to allow the crust to "vent" and the toppings to stop boiling. Move to a pan or cookie sheet and slice as you see fit.
Keep working with your recipe until you have it jus thte way you like it and then think about opening a shop. It is very easy to make large batches of everything and you wil need to make some changes for mass production but remember... Dough. Sauce. Cheese. get these three down and perfected in a 550 degree oven on a baking hearth and the rest is easy.
I hope this helps everyone in taking one step closer to your dream and opening up one more shop that grosses more than a Pizza hut.. in time.
(posted on PMQ website by "pizza shark") http://www.pmq.com/cgi-bin/tt/index.cgi/read/3717
BTW...If you want to look over the Stanislaus web site, the password is "freshpack".