After the last few years, I have developed a method for baking pies in the home oven that come out fantastic. Combined with the bread dough recipe it makes the best pies. Granted, once I build my traditional pizza oven, I’m sure everything will be even better, but this method works well. NOTE: I use 73-75% hydration for pizza dough, this is slightly different than the bread dough (77-78%). It will make the difference in your pie shaping!
- Preheat oven as high as it will go. Place stone in lower 1/3 of oven.
- Grease pizza screen heavily. A pizza screen works very well for helping your pie maintain its shape. Make sure to get your oven size!
- Take pizza dough (after shaping, see adjacent page) and put it on a floured surface. Sprinkle lots of corn meal off to the side. Dip dough in corn meal as you work with it and it becomes tacky from stretching.
- Never roll your pizza dough out! Working carefully with your fingers, stretch out dough to form a disk. Don’t focus on stretching out the center of the dough, it will come naturally.
- As the dough stretches out, use the backs of your knuckles to stretch the crust. Again, the center will stretch itself. Dip into the corn meal as needed. You do NOT want this to stick to the screen!
- Once dough is the right size, or mostly the right size, leave on cornmeal/flour surface until you’re ready to top the pizza.
- Gather all toppings, sauces, etc. Make sure oven has been at temp for 20 min. I check with one of these infrared thermometers
- Working quickly, put dough onto greased screen, stretching to fit the shape you want.
- Top with your favorite sauces and toppings. I have found that holding off on 50-70% of the cheese until the next step works well.
- Place the screen (with pizza on top) in the oven directly on the stone.
- Bake for 4-6 minutes, depending on oven temp
- Open the oven (watch out for steam) and with a thin, sharp pizza peel separate the pizza from the screen, slide screen out, place pizza directly on stone and top with remaining cheese. Bake another 4-6 minutes.
- Pull out pie when cheese is melted and crust is beginning to char.
I use this pizza serving tray so the pie never becomes soggy from any toppings leaking. Or you can slice and use the screen again (although crumbs can fall through.)