Author Topic: Crust without special tools?  (Read 3291 times)

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Julie

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Crust without special tools?
« on: January 14, 2005, 03:11:46 PM »
Hi Everybody,

I'm dying to make my own thin crust pizza but I noticed a lot of recipes require special dough hooks, pizza stones, etc.  Unfortunately, I'm on a fixed budget (which is pretty much why I make my own pizza, lol) and wanted to know, are there alternatives to these fancy, new fangled objects?

Thanks so much and sorry if it's a stupid question.  I'm just a newbie {{{smiles sheepishly}}}




Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Crust without special tools?
« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2005, 04:05:05 PM »
Julie,

Your question is a good one. Not everyone has all the fancy equipment that experienced home pizza makers usually end up accumulating with time. Most of us started simply and worked our way up as we gained experience and had more money to devote to the hobby. I believe it was Confucius who said that "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

Without equipment, like a stand mixer, food processor or even a bread machine, you are pretty much relegated to hand kneading. All-purpose and bread flours can be kneaded that way but it gets harder to do with high-gluten flours, which you are unlikely to find in any event in the food stores where you regularly shop. With a suitable dough recipe, you should be able to make a NY style pizza with a thin crust using a good bread flour. The best bread flour from my experience is the King Arthur brand. It is sold in some supermarkets and specialty food stores, but if you can't find it where you shop there are other brands, like Pillsbury and Gold Medal, that should work for your purposes and budget.

For baking the pizza, you should perhaps invest in a pizza screen. They come in all sizes. If you want to make the largest size that your oven is likely to handle, then I would go with the 16-inch size. Otherwise, I would look at 12- or 14-inch screens. Or you can get several screens of different sizes. With a pizza screen, you don't need a pizza stone. If you don't know what a screen looks like, go to Reply #130 at http://forum.pizzamaking.com/index.php?topic=389.msg4545#msg4545. Screens are very inexpensive--typically only a few dollars apiece. You might be able to find them at a local restaurant supply store that carries pizza items, or you can go online to any number of places to buy them. If you need a link or two to places that sell them online, let us know.

In lieu of using pizza screens, you can also consider using tiles as a much lower cost alternative to a pizza stone. Tiles are very inexpensive and are widely available at places like Home Depot or Lowes. You want the red unglazed quarry tiles that are safe for baking. If you go the tiles route you may also want to invest in a pizza peel (if you don't already have one) to get your pizza onto and off of the tiles. The peel also comes in handy in removing pizzas baked on a screen from the oven. I would look for a wooden peel for now. The places that sell pizza screens also usually carry pizza peels. They usually sell for less than $20.

Good luck.

Peter
« Last Edit: January 14, 2005, 04:22:27 PM by Pete-zza »

Offline Randy

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Re: Crust without special tools?
« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2005, 04:31:59 PM »
Peter has given you some good information.
I will add a little more if the budget is real tight.
We started with the Pillsbury pizza dough from the grocery store.
http://www.pillsbury.com/View/breads/pizza_crust.asp
For a thin crust it is not bad and it works on a cookie sheet.
for cheese shread your own Poly-O partskim
For tomatoes use 6in1 crushed tomatoes.
The rest is up to you.
For a budget it is not a bad way to go.

Randy

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Crust without special tools?
« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2005, 04:58:31 PM »
Julie,

Randy's post reminded me of a couple of other possibilities that might be considered as you determine how far you want to proceed with making your own doughs. Many members of this forum have reported in the past that they were able to buy pizza dough of high quality from local pizza operators, for around $1 a ball. When I was in Massachusetts recently I also saw that a local supermarket chain, Stop and Shop, now sells pizza dough in a plastic bag, for around $1.29. In that instance the flour used was all-purpose flour but it represents an easy way to start making pizzas at reasonably low cost.

Peter

Julie

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Re: Crust without special tools?
« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2005, 08:20:01 PM »
Wow, thanks so much for the advice.  I've been in a lot of forums and this one is probably the friendliest and most informative I've seen in a while.  I'll be back again no doubt!

Offline BradLovesPizza

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Re: Crust without special tools?
« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2005, 09:25:06 PM »
Anyone try making crust with this Cuisinart mini food processor?
http://www.cuisinart.com/cgi-bin/index.cgi/en/item.cgi?item_id=DLC-1SSW&collection=white_and_stainless

Seems more cost effective at around $30, but I'm guessing it may not have the guts or capacity (21 oz) to do crust. Also, I know that my mom as said she rarley uses her larger processor now that she has a small model.

Brad

Offline Pete-zza

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Re: Crust without special tools?
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2005, 12:15:01 PM »
Brad,

I have never read that such a unit can be used to make pizza dough. It's conceivable I suppose that you could make a single, small dough ball using a soft, low-gluten flour, e.g., for a small Neapolitan-style pizza, but you would never be able to make much beyond that without running the risk of overpowering the unit and damaging it. I personally wouldn't risk using the mini-unit to make dough.

I personally have a 14-cup Cusinart unit and even it can struggle a bit if I try to make too much dough at one time. If I have to make several dough balls of any decent size, I do them individually. I have given the newer 11-cup model as gifts and it works reasonably well for modest amounts of dough. The newer model also has a special dough cycle that is said to do a better job with kneading dough.

Peter

Offline DKM

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Re: Crust without special tools?
« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2005, 08:41:29 PM »
I'm not sure what you mean by 'thin' crust, but a Neapolitan dough, with out any fancy equipment, though I would recommend a screen.  Great thing about it is you can make enoght for upto six dough balls and store them in the fidge in a ziplock bag for upto 3 days and the freezer for about  month.

DKM
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