Pizza Hut – Great Again!

We had Pizza Hut tonight, and it was great as always! We always get the pan crust, which is a bit thick. It seems to be cooked in oil which makes it greasy but great in my opinion! We got 3 larges each for $10 in their current deal of Any pizza for $10. One was pepperoni, sausage, and tomato. Another was pepperoni, mushroom, and green pepper. And the other was half cheese, half pepperoni (for the kids). I was a little late taking some pics, they were almost half gone already!



(The half cheese one was underneath the others, so I didn’t take a picture. But the slices looked huge!)

Pizza T-Shirts and Clothing

I found a few clothing items on Amazon today related to pizza. I may buy one to wear when I make Open Source Pizza video posts! I recorded my first post, but I still have to edit and publish it. I’m thinking one of these two:

But I found a few pizza costumes that are quite funny!

Which is your favorite one? Do you have any pizza clothing??

Perforated Pizza Pan and Pizza Screen

Continuing my posts on tools used to make pizza, another type of pan used is a perforated pizza pan. I picked one up on Amazon and gave it a try. Supposedly it allows more heat to reach the pizza than a typical solid pan, but not as much as a pizza stone which allows for great heat conduction and moisture loss due to its porous nature. Many small holes or fewer larger holes in the pan will allow more moisture to escape. This means that the bottom of the crust will become crispy. Depending on whether you like crispy crust, this may or may not appeal to you. I can be wary about thin crispy crusts; I don’t like ones that are so thin they have no taste or are too tough or chewy. I can imagine that it’s easy to overcook the crust if you have too many holes in the pan.

Pizza Screens

Another type of pan is a pizza screen (left). While the perforated pan has larger holes, the pizza screen will have tons of smaller holes without much space between them. I believe the larger holes allow more moisture to leave, resulting in a crisper crust than the screen (even though the screen has more holes). I haven’t used a screen yet to find out. I believe you can also use special screens directly on a grill to cook your pizza. We have one but haven’t tried it out yet either.

Anti-stick Agent

I used shortening on the perforated pan to make sure the pizza did not stick. Just used a paper towel to spread it around. I was afraid using olive oil would be messy and wasteful as it flows out of the holes! Of course a spray can with olive oil would be the next logical idea. Shortening was also messy — you’ll definitely need to clean up afterwards! I like the taste of oil-cooked pizzas from restaurants, but I haven’t mastered the technique yet. I tried it in my deep-dish or regular pan, and it adds a little too much moisture rather than adding to the flavor.


I cooked with my perforated pan a few months ago and here is a picture. The crust wasn’t too bad, and you can see I don’t usually go for thin crust pizzas 🙂 Click the picture to see more on my Flickr account.

pizza from perforated pan

Deep Dish Pizza Pan

I tried out my new deep dish pizza pan last week. I use shortening on the pan to prevent sticking. An alternative to that is olive oil, but I haven’t been very successful using it. Check out for a deep dish or other type of pizza pans. Pictured here is the one I used.

Deep Dish Results

My deep dish pizzas turn out pretty well. The key is using just the right amount of dough and spreading it out equally so you don’t have too much dough around the outside edge (cornicone). The first one I made had too much dough and got kind of tough. The second one I tried stuffing with some shredded provolone in the cornicone. But I don’t yet have the technique needed for stuffing the crust. I didn’t add enough cheese, but I don’t think there was enough dough to wrap around any more cheese. In fact my cornicone is uneven because I didn’t have quite enough dough.

Deep dish1

1st Deep dish pizza
Deep dish stuffed crust

Stuffed crust

Chicago Style

Do you like Chicago or Uno Deep dish pizzas? I do, although it can be hard to wait so long for it to cook properly, and only one or two slices are filling. I last had one at the Uno’s in Dublin, Ohio. I saw how they made them in Chicago on a pizza show on the cooking channel. They place a layer of uncooked sausage on the bottom which must be why it takes more that 45 minutes to cook.

Stuffed Crust

I love the stuffed crust from Pizza Hut, so I will keep trying on my own pizzas. There’s gotta be an easy way to recreate it! I remember having a sauce stuffed and cheese stuffed crust from somewhere. The sauce sounds harder to recreate but I should try that sometime too!

Do you like deep dish and stuffed crusts?

Pizza Techniques from High Gluten Flour

Several months ago I got some high gluten flour from GFS Marketplace. It isn’t the same brand as the one pictured, but I’m not sure if brand matters? I finally got a chance to try it out a week ago. Since I got a 25 pound bag, I have plenty to experiment with, but I haven’t deviated from my original recipe yet. I’m just trying to get a consistent crust.

Cooking Methods

With basic bread flour I’ve tried pizzas on a pizza stone with cornmeal, a deep dish pan with shortening or extra virgin olive oil, and a perforated pan. I can’t seem to get the ones in an oiled pan to be as crispy as I’ve liked, almost like it’s not cooked in the same amount of time. Perhaps the temperature needs to be higher. The texture of the ones cooked in cornmeal seem like the most professional.

High Gluten

The high gluten flour wasn’t much harder to knead than I was used to (I was warned it would be tougher since the gluten strands develop more). It also wasn’t much harder to roll out. I’ve learned to be more patient and let it rest and get up to room temperature after its retardation time in the fridge. I’m now trying to spin the dough to help spread it out, but for some reason it gets oblong shaped and I’m not sure how to correct that except with hand pressing and a rolling pin. I have a nice 2 sided rolling pin that seems to work really well. I’ll blog about that one and my other utensils in a future post.

Gluten-Free Pizza Recipe Trend

When I first heard about gluten-free pizza dough, I was thinking this is just another trend that will die out in a few months. I also felt very bad for anyone who normally can’t eat pizza!! Why is it that some people can’t eat pizza dough?

Celiac Disease or Gluten Intolerance

About 2.88 million or 1 in 133 Americans have celiac disease, also known as gluten intolerance. This means that the villi that line their small intestines get damaged from eating gluten, found in wheat, barley, and rye. A good article about the disease can be found here.

Recipes and Products Available

The 2011 International Pizza Expo offered more information on gluten-free products than ever before: gluten-free flour, pizza crusts, and recipes. The recipes are made with rice, potato and corn flours, guar or xanthan gums and/or tapioca/cassava starch. The dough is more like a thick batter and must be cooked differently. As more attention is paid to the issues, more options become available for the crust recipe so that it is more like traditional crusts instead of the texture of a cracker, as it has previously been. (Source)

Are you gluten intolerant or know of someone who is? How does it change your diet?

Pizza Sauce Spices to Grow in Garden

I’m wondering how fresh herbs would taste in the pizza sauce compared to dried. My pizza sauce calls for garlic, oregano, fennel seed, marjoram, basil, thyme, and rosemary. I stopped by the garden center today to pick up a few potted herbs. They were $2.99 each though, so I only got basil and rosemary.


And of course we always get a few tomato plants. We have tons of little tomato plants coming up in the garden from last year. But I got a couple SuperSteak and BestBoy plants.

tomato plants
Tomato plants

I grew garlic plants last year but was unable to use all of them and it seemed like a lot of work to dig them up each year. I’m not sure if it’s worth it to have fresh garlic.

Here are some images of the other herbs used:

Fennel Seed
Fennel Seed

Do you think fresh herbs are better and worth the extra effort to use in pizza sauces?

Pizza Baked on Perforated Pan

I recently bought a perforated pizza pan (Cuisinart Chef’s classic non-stick bakeware – 14″ pizza pan – Heavy gauge aluminized steel. Amazon, $13.95):

perforated pizza pan

You can use a perforated pizza pan whenever you want to allow more air to reach the pizza crust and more moisture removed than with a solid pizza pan. Pans with many small holes are going to let more moisture escape than pans with fewer larger holes. When the moisture is removed, your crust becomes more crispy. Some people prefer a crispy crust. But you need to be careful if you start out with a thin crust that it doesn’t become too dry and hard and is hard to chew or cut. Ever since I got a pizza stone and compared the pizzas cooked on it with those cooked on a solid pan, I’ve preferred the stone because it lets moisture escape while still keeping a chewy crust. I was curious how a perforated pan would cook a pizza, and so I decided to give it a try!

pizza from perforated pan 3

It wasn’t bad, the dough didn’t rise much around the cornicone (outer edge), but that could have been caused by a number of reasons, (e.g. not enough rise time or retardation time). The dough tasted OK, maybe a little dense, soft, and bread-like.

What pans/techniques do you prefer for cooking pizzas?

Homemade Pizza in March

I’ve attempted a few more homemade pizzas so far this month. The latest ones I tried using a greased pizza pan rather than the stone and the dough was too soft and doughy. The stone allows much more moisture to escape, making the crust crisp and slightly crunchy. The crust also becomes browner with a pizza stone I think.

pizza cooked in greased pan
Pizza cooked in greased pan
(transferred to stone after cooking)
pepper shaped pizza
Pizza cooked on stone

Cooking on a pizza stone is definitely the way to go. But the only problem is figuring out how to roll it out. The elasticity of the dough makes it shrink back whenever you try pressing or rolling it out, hence the weird, non-round shapes (a pepper shape may be desired in some circumstances, but I prefer my pizza to be as round as possible). It was much easier to press out the dough into a greased pizza pan:

Raw dough rolled out
Raw dough pressed out

So I guess I have some more testing to do to find the best way to roll out and cook a pizza! Do you have any comments, tips, advice? How do you roll out a pizza?

Pizza Paradise Around the United States

The other day I watched Pizza Paradise on the Travel Channel. Apparently it is repeated throughout the year. They describe the type of pizza found in several popular pizza cities across the nation. Basically I would consider three distinct types. New York has a thin crust that you fold in half. Chicago has a thick, pie-like crust that you may need to eat with a knife and fork. California is all about the exotic toppings on a smaller personal sized pizza. It’s neat to think about the pizza places in each area that were the birthplace of each distinct type. And the first pizzaria in the US was Lombardi’s Pizzeria in New York in 1905. Of course there are variations in pizza within each city, and there can be fierce loyalty by the patrons and fans of a particular type. I think most people have a preference of either New York style or Chicago style. I like a thicker crust, but not necessarily so thick that you need to eat with a knife and fork and get full after one or two slices. I didn’t realize that there was a pizza in New York with caviar that costs $1000! Wild stuff.

A lot of the customers preferred their particular pizza joint not only from the food but the atmosphere as well. Most of them were small, cosy and intimate places. I think it would be great to own a pizzeria where people come with their families and friends for fun and conversation while they eat.

Here’s a link to a summary article on the Travel Channel.