Artisan pizza can cover a broad spectrum of pies. In its essence, though, “artisan pizza” is a pizza that is made by hand, with as many high-quality ingredients as possible — it’s the kind of pizza you can feel good about eating, and this recipe is no exception.
Photos via CakeSpy
This easy recipe for artisan pizza starts with a homemade dough featuring earthy, nutty whole wheat flour. From there, you can make it as completely artisan as you’d like, using fresh herbs from your garden, home-canned tomatoes, and even homemade cheese. However, it’s possible to create this recipe with high-quality store-bought toppings, too.
To further educate yourself on all things pizza, check out Craftsy course Perfect Pizza at Home. Famed carbohydrate whisperer and instructor Peter Reinhart will guide you through the entire process, from crust to cheese, and you’ll be slinging pies like a pro in no time.
A question of stone
Professional pizza ovens can attain temperatures up to 900 F. This is not feasible at home, but a baking stone, or a treated steel surface, can control the heat in your oven so that the pizza cooks rapidly and thoroughly at high temperatures. This allows you to attain a crispy exterior while retaining a chewiness on the interior of the crust. While a tool like this is a worthwhile investment, you can still bake pizza without; simply use a baking sheet and adjust the temperature in the recipe as noted below.
Feel the peel
If you are using a pizza stone or steel, you never want to handle it directly, because it will burn you. The tool of voice to transfer your pie to the baking surface is a pizza peel–a kind of large, rounded pizza spatula, made of metal or wood. It can take some getting used to, but basically, you’ll “lubricate” the surface with flour so that you can make a jerking motion to propel the pizza (gently) from peel to baking surface.
If you are using a baking stone or similar, heat your oven as high as you can–typically 500 F or so. If you’re baking on a regular baking sheet, you’ll want to bake the pizza longer, at a lower heat, so that it will cook evenly. 400 F is a good temperature to try for a pizza baked without a preheated surface.
Artisan pizza recipe
For the crust
Makes 4 10-inch crusts
- 2 1/4 cups warm water
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 3/4 teaspoons active dry yeast (this is slightly less than a full packet)
- 3 cups bread flour
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
For the sauce
Sufficient for 4 10-inch pizzas
- 28 ounces canned whole peeled tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- Approximately 4 ounces of cheese per pizza (balls of fresh mozzarella or ricotta)
- basil or other fresh herbs of your choice
- any other toppings you’d like
Note: International readers may enjoy our handy metric conversion guide.
First, make the dough. Pour the water in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the yeast and the honey, and let it sit for about five minutes. It will begin to activate and lightly foam at the edges. Add the remaining ingredients, and mix for about 1 minute, on low speed. Increase the speed to medium-high and continue mixing until a slightly sticky but easily handled dough comes together.
Note: you can also do this by hand, mixing until it becomes a slightly sticky yet easily handled dough comes together. This can take up to 5 minutes of mixing by hand.
Place the dough on a lightly oiled work surface, and using oiled hands, knead and fold the dough over itself several times, for about one minute of constant kneading. Let it rest for five minutes.
Repeat the process two more times of kneading for one minute, letting it rest for five. The dough will become very smooth during this time.
Using a bench scraper or sharp knife, divide the dough into four portions (or as many as you think you’d like; for individual pizzas, divide into 6-8 portions). Using your palm, form each portion into a ball. Place each round in a lightly oiled container and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest at least two hours, or up to overnight for the flavors to really develop and for the dough to puff up. Remove the dough from the refrigerator about 1 hour before you’re ready to make the pizza.
Make the sauce. Place the drained whole peeled tomatoes in a saucepan over medium heat. Heat for about five minutes. This will reduce any “canny” flavoring. Combine the heated tomatoes with the remaining ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until you have a sauce. It can be chunky or quite smooth, depending on your preference. Let the sauce cool to room temperature before using. You can store any unused portion in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week, or in the freezer for up to a month.
About an hour before you want to eat pizza, remove the dough from the refrigerator, and preheat the oven. If you are using a baking stone, let the oven heat at 500 degrees F for about 45 minutes before proceeding. Though the oven will heat faster, let the stone come to its full heat. If you are not using a baking stone or steel surface, preheat your oven to 400 degrees F, and you can proceed as soon as the oven has preheated.
Grab that pizza dough. On top of a floured pizza peel or baking sheet, stretch the dough until it has reached your desired size. Spread the sauce on top.
Blot the cheese, or strain with a cheesecloth, to remove any excess moisture. By hand, tear the mozzarella and place irregularly, but evenly distributed, across the surface. If desired, you can dot the pie with ricotta as well. Top with any herbs or toppings you’ve chosen.
Place the pizza on the stone from the peel, or place the baking sheet directly on top of the stone. Bake until the crust is browned to your liking and the cheese is bubbling and browned as well. This can be a personal choice. On a stone or steel, this can take between 4 and 10 minutes at 500 degrees F, depending on the thickness of the crust. If you’re baking the pizza directly on a baking sheet, bake at 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees F.
Gently remove the pizza from the oven. Drizzle with a good quality olive oil. Let it “set” for 5 minutes, which will allow the toppings to slightly solidify so the pizza isn’t too hard to handle once cut. Slice and serve.