Pizza Stone Substitute Works

Is there a pizza stone substitute?  You can make your own cheap pizza stones.  We have heard that people are simply think a Travertine stone can be used as a pizza stone.

Pizza Stone Substitute

We have tested this idea of a Pizza Stone Substitute

And, guess what, it works.  We thought for sure it would CRACK UNDER THE HEAT.  But we were wrong.  We are not sure if it is completely food save.  We are investigating this aspect.  But Travertine stone is not glazed and does retain heat very well.

We have used this Pizza Stone Substitute for the last week.  And found that it works great.  We created a video demonstrating our use.  The stone takes just 30 minutes to heat up and does retain heat well.  On Saturday we left the stone in our oven and left it on for most of the day (making pizza after pizza) and it did not crack.  It is also easy to clean.  We bought ours at a local tile shop  (Best Tile Buffalo at 2800 Walden Avenue, Cheektowaga, NY 14225) for $8.98 plus tax.  It was in their closeout section.  We do not think that a Travertine stone will work well as a grilling stone.  We are going put this Pizza Stone Substitute to the test next!  When we bought the stone, the salesperson that assisted me said that customers on occasion come into her store and buy these stones for the purpose of using it as a pizza stone substitute.  I replied, “Oh, Really.”  She did say that it probably will not last for long.  Well, we are going to see and will let you know . . . In the meantime, check out our new video on Cooking Pizza on Fake Pizza Stone!

As always, we would love to hear about your pizza stories or what your best pizza.

History of Pizza (Caveman Time to the 13th Century)

History of Pizza: Part One

With the history of pizza, you find it is a mystery with no clear starting point.  The history of pizza does not start with its etymology.  The word “pizza” is derived from the Latin word picea, meaning ‘the burning of bread using an oven.’  Pizzicare is Italian for pizza and means ‘to pinch or to pluck.’   The history of pizza or the origin of pizza starts when man invented fire.

The history of pizza may start over 20,000 years ago.  Archeologists discovered that cavemen combined crushed wheat germ with water and cooked this mixture on burning stones.  The first pizza stone!  This is arguably the start of the origin of pizza.  Cavemen did not invent pizza.  Who invented pizza?  The history of pizza on this point remains a mystery, but here are some pizza history facts.

The history of pizza evolved in the Stone Age when flat bread started to take on pizza-like form.  Early settlers in modern Italy topped flat bread with various ingredients.  The flat pizza bread was a poor man’s substitute for a plate or utensil.  Some maintain this substitution originated with the Greeks as they used a flat, round bread known as plankuntos that was baked with an assortment of toppings and then used as a plate.

The ancient Egyptians made contributions to the history of pizza making by developing both the ‘rising dough’ technique and the first ever conic-shaped oven—the first pizza oven. They used this oven invention to prepare flat bread that was garnished with herbs to celebrate their Pharoah’s birthday.  Ancient Egyptians invented the first pizza party!

The Persian Empire has a place in the history of pizza. Legend has it that Darius the Great’s army baked flat bread on metal shields and used cheese and dates as toppings.  This pizza-like food nourished the armies as they conquered the world at that time.

The Roman Empire played a part in recording the history of pizza.  A Roman historian, Marcus Porcius Cato, also known as Cato the Elder, described the Roman’s form of pizza as a “flat round of dough dressed with olive oil, herbs, and honey baked on stones.”  Virgil referred to this food in “The Aeneid” as “cakes of flour or cakes of bread that Romans happily devoured.”

“Beneath a shady tree, the hero spread
His table on the turf, with cakes of bread;
And, with his chiefs, on forest fruits he fed.
They sate; and, (not without the god’s command,) History of Pizza
Their homely fare dispatch’d, the hungry band
Invade their trenchers next, and soon devour,
To mend the scanty meal, their cakes of flour.
Ascanius this observ’d, and smiling said:

“See, we devour the plates on which we fed.”

(Book VII, lines 141 – 49)

Roman Marcus Gavius Apicius’ “De Re Coquinaria” cookbook advanced the history of pizza making. Apicius described a pizzaesque food as a bread base topped with ingredients, such as, chicken, cheese, garlic, pepper, oil and mint, among others.  Excavations at the site of Pompeii uncovered places with equipment used to create this pizza-like street food.  Are these signs of the first pizzeria? What we know is that this pizzaesque food had been a staple in Pompeii over 1900 years ago.

A close look at the history of pizza cannot conclusively answer who invented pizza. Even today, many Chinese believe the origin of pizza starts with China’s green-onion pancake or cong you bing.  Those who study the history of pizza say pizza could have evolved from China. In 1295, Marco Polo returned from China persuading a Naples chef to recreate this stuffed-pancake. Though difficult to recreate, Marco Polo advanced the history of pizza making when he suggested that the filling be placed on top not inside. This technique was wildly successful, adding to the history of pizza.  Although the creation of flat bread with toppings resembles a green-onion pancake, it remains a mystery still whether the history of pizza starts with China.

Pizza Sauce Tomato Paste that is Awesome Sauce

Pizza Sauce Tomato Paste

This is my first pizza sauce tomato paste creation.  My mom wants me to call it “awesome sauce”  because it is the latest and coolest thing to say in Philadelphia about something good.

My name is Elliot.  My dad made this site and wanted me to make a post about pizza sauce tomato paste.  He said it will help with my reading and my other website.  I don’t like reading much; I love baseball.  But this website thing is kinda cool because I get to do the second best thing I can do on the planet:  MAKE AND EAT PIZZA!

We have pizza all the time – pizza for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert.  I like making pizza almost as much as I like playing baseball.  This pizza sauce tomato paste recipe is a first for me, like when I made my first omelet for my dad.  He said it was the best omelet he ever had though I did not put anything inside.  Made it simple.  I topped it off with some freshly cut chives from our yarden.  It was just pure egg-folding magic!  I have another first to share with you.

First Egg Omelet

Pizza Sauce Tomato Paste No Cook Recipe

Now I will tell you about my first pizza sauce I made by myself.  It was really good.  It was easy, but it has many ingredients:  tomato paste (6 oz), warm water (6 oz.), Parmesan cheese (3 tablespoons grated), minced garlic (1 teaspoon), honey (2 tablespoons), onion powder (3/4 teaspoon), fresh basil, finely chopped (3/4 teaspoon), fresh marjoram, finely chopped (3/4 teaspoon), fresh oregano, finely chopped (3/4 teaspoon), ground black pepper (1/4 teaspoon), ground cayenne pepper (1/8 teaspoon), crushed red pepper flakes (1/8 teaspoon), and salt (to taste).

pizza sauce tomato paste

 We used fresh herbs from our yarden.  My mom picked them fresh the day we made the pizza sauce.  The recipe called for dried herbs, so we had to convert the amounts.  My mom said that one teaspoon of dried herbs equals 3 teaspoons of fresh herbs.  And the herbs must be minced or finely chopped.

Photo1[1]cut oreganocut fresh basil

 

 

 

 

First, put gloppy tomato paste in a bowl.

the pour pastesauce pour 2sauces 3

 

 

 

 

Next, add water to this pizza sauce tomato paste.

sauce and water 2sauce water 3sauce water 6

 

 

 

 

Soft Parmesan cheese gets put in next.

grated cheese for saucecheese into saucecheese into sauce 3

 

 

 

 

Aromatic minced garlic is the fourth ingredient.

minced garlicgarlic into sauce

 

 

 

 

Next, in goes the gooey honey.

honeyhoney into sauce

 

 

 

 

Onion powder is added next.

cheeseonion powder

 

 

 

 

Here come the fresh herbs: vibrant oregano,

fresh from the gardenfresh oregano

 

 

 

 

sweet-smelling marjoram,

margrum

 

 

 

 

and tangy basil.

basil into sauce

 

 

 

 

Three kinds of pepper – ground black, ground cayenne , and crushed red pepper flakes – are added to the pizza sauce.

pepper into saucepepper into sauce 2pinch of spice

 

 

 

 

Lastly, a pinch of salt. Stir until the cheese clumps are gone and let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature.

pinch of salt to taste

end sauce

 

If you try this pizza sauce tomato paste recipe, I hope you have fun making it and having an awesome sauce for your pizza!  Leave a comment.  I would love to know what you think about this pizza sauce tomato paste recipe.  For information about other great pizza tools, click here.

Pizza Dough Tips: Top 5

Pizza Dough Tips we have learned and you should know

pizza dough tipsMaking pizza dough at home is easier than you think if you know some pizza dough tips.  Making pizza at home is fun and something you can do with your kids.

For some recipes, it take less than fifteen minutes to mix and knead.  Here are some pizza dough tips to make that 15 minutes really count. Save time by making the pizza dough ahead of time, ready to use during the week.  A simple tip is that you can chill pizza dough for up to three days or freeze it for up to three months. We’ve been making pizza dough at home for over 18 years, and I’m happy to share my pizza dough tips and special mix-ins to help de-mystify the process.

Pizza Dough Tip #1

The firstly pizza dough tip is that active dry yeast is the pizzamaker’s best friend.  As long as the yeast proofs, meaning it is live and can create a soft and elastic dough.  So the proof is in the yeast. Using yeast the right way is the key.  Generally, you are told to put your yeast in warm water to let proof.  However, an really cool pizza dough tip is where you simply mix the water with the flour, let it sit for 20 minutes to let the flour soak up the water and then simply incorporate the yeast in the dough and knead. This works great.  CLICK HERE for more information on this technique. I have made pizza dough that was lifeless, refused to rise, but it was still tasty and edible. I called it really thin crust.

Pizza Dough Tip #2

Mixing dry and wet ingredients is the least intimidating part of making pizza dough. Recipes have many directions about the water temperature, amount of mixing required, and so on, but all you need to do is get the wet incorporated into the dry ingredients so that there are no lumps of flour or salt.  The best pizza dough tip is to weigh your ingredients.  DO NOT MEASURE.  You will find that your dough is more consistent every time.

Pizza Dough Tip #3

One thing that I can share is that you don’t need to knead dough for very long. Once the wetpizza dough tips and dry ingredients are well mixed together, you just add flour in small amounts until the dough can be formed into a ball and is no longer sticky. Gentle kneading on a floured surface for three to five minutes is fine. And I must confess that kneading dough is fun and reminds you of childhood playtime with clay or Play-Doh.  A pizza dough tips when kneading dough is to knead for only 10 minutes.

Pizza Dough Tip #4

The next step to be taken is to allow the dough to rise. With some flour underneath the dough, I simply turn the mixing bowl over it and leave it alone for about thirty minutes. Then I collect the pizza sauce and toppings and preheat the oven or fire up the grill.  For a great pizza sauce CLICK HERE.

Pizza Dough Tip #5

Regarding mix-ins, if you have a favorite herb or seasoning blend, I would recommend that you add it while kneading the pizza dough or sprinkle it atop the dough once you have stretched it and placed it on the pizza peel. Our family enjoys oregano and garlic powder, but we’ve also mixed in freshly chopped basil as well.

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Looking to up your game when making pizza at home?  CLICK HERE to explore some fun pizza making tools you can use at home to make the best pizza at home!

Pizza Dough Perfect Recipe | Weighed Not Measured!

Pizza Dough Made Perfect: Every Time

“Shaken not stirred” meets “weighed not measured.” This is the best and only way you should make pizza dough.  We tried this during one of our pizza nights.  We made this pizza dough recipe a day in advance.  It was simple.  It was easy. It was great.  This method is by far the best way to make pizza dough.

I have heard that you get better results if you weigh your baking ingredients as opposed to measuring them.  I first thought “That sounds hard.”  But it could not be easier.  I used my postal scale to measure the salt and yeast because I only needed 10 grams of salt (the weight of a half dollar coin, just happened to have one lying around to test) and 3 grams of active dry yeast (the weight of a penny).  I used a baker’s scale for the flour (500 grams) and water (325 grams).

postal scale scale food The results were amazing.  Believe me.  I would tell you if they sucked.  The recipe could not be easier.  All you do is add the water to the flour in a mixing bowl and mix until the water and flour are combined into a kind of a ball (about 3 to 4 minutes at the lowest speed).  After mixing, wait and do nothing for 20 minutes.  The flour is soaking in the water during this 20 minutes.  After you have waited, mix for another minute at the lowest speed.

Remove the flour/water mixture from the mixing bowl and combine the yeast and salt by creating a bowl with the flour/water mixture and pour the yeast and the salt in the bowl you formed.  Don’t worry you can refer to the pictures below.  And now for the hard part.  You knead the dough for 10 minutes.  After a strict 10 minutes of kneading, form the dough into a ball, put the dough into a bowl and cover with a cloth to store at room temperature for 90 minutes.  After 90 minutes, your dough ball should have doubled in size.  You are now ready to make pizza.  Follow our “Picture Pizza Dough Recipe” to make your own pizza dough.

Our Picture Pizza Dough Recipe Step-by-Step

Step 1.  Gather all the ingredients for your pizza dough.  You can use a Kitchen Aid Mixer with a dough hook, but it is not required.  The mixer makes it easier to make this pizza dough recipe.

Weighed Pizza Dough Ball

Step 2.  Plan out your work area:  Your Pizza Dough Making Station!!  The basket of veggies (from our garden) is not part of the recipe.  They just look good.

Total TableHere is our work station.  We have everything we need.  The trick for this pizza dough recipe is that you do not measure anything– you weigh your ingredients.

Step 3.  Add the Flour

We put 500 grams of flour into the mixing bowl.  We used King Aurthur Flour (White).  Though my wife prefer I used wheat flour.  Well next time.

Flour 1Flour 2Flour 3

 

 

 

 

Step 4.  Add the water.

Flour 4 Flour 5

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 5.  Mix the water and flour for about 3 minutes or so.

Flour 6Flour 7

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 6.  Wait 20 minute after mixing for 3 to 4 minutes.  After we mixed for about 3 minutes, this is what our dough looked like.

Flour 10Step 7.  After you waited 20 minutes, spin the mixer around again for about a minute.  After that, remove from the bowl.

dough mixed jdough out of mixerStep 8.  Form the dough into a bowl shape and pour in the yeast and salt.  Then fold over the bowl and start kneading for 10 minutes and when done form into a ball.

dough mixer 2 dough mixer 3dough and salt mixed

 

 

 

dough knead 1dough knead 2Dough Ball after kneading

 

 

 

 

 

Step 9.  Put your dough ball into a bowl and let it rest (rise) for 90 minute.  Make sure to store the bowl at room temperature for the full 90 minutes.

Dough Ball 1

 

Step 10.  This is how big our dough got after 90 minutes.

Dough Ball at Rest

 

Step 11.  We divided our dough ball into four dough balls.  We tried to keep the weight the same.  We tried to have each separate dough ball weigh about 220 grams.  This was not as easy as it should have been.  We had some too heavy so we tore off some dough and added it to the smaller balls.

Dough Ball b4 4

 

oil the panDough Ball b4 4 2Dough Ball 4 parts

 

 

 

 

Step 12.  After creating 4 dough balls, we oiled a pan with our GI Metal Copper Oil Cruet and placed each ball about 4 inches apart.  We covered the dough balls with plastic rap and put them in our refrigerator for over night.  My wife rapped them kind of tight.  I told her not to.  She said that the dough is not going to rise anymore in the frig.  I said, oh really.  I bet they do.  And guess who was right?

dough the day after 4

Final Step.  This dough is ready for some pizza making.  Check in later to see how we did during our weekly pizza night using this pizza dough!

We would love to hear what you think of this Picture Pizza Dough Recipe!  Please leave a comment!  Thanks.  And remember its Weighed Not Measured!