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Friday Tip|Using Cornmeal For Pizza

Friday, it’s Friday!

I’m afraid that today’s post title (is it a headline?) may lead some here looking for a way to use cornmeal in pizza crust.  Or maybe as a topping.  These ideas are interesting, but they aren’t our topic.  Today, I’m going to talk about how to get your raw pizza dough into the oven.

This can be hard, unless you have a screen that you’re building your pizza on (and unless you’ve done hours in a pizza restaurant, I’m not even sure why you would know what one is, but if you do, and you have one, and you use it, no tip this week!).  But there is an easy little trick that has worked for us like a charm ever since we started making pizza.

But before I explain it, I need to explain something else about making pizza at home; it’s really best if you have a pizza stone.

Actually, if you don’t have a pizza stone, then you’re probably making your pizza on a cookie sheet or something else similar, in which case, you also don’t need this tip.

The reason to use a pizza stone in your home oven (you can also use clay tiles if you can find ones that are safe to cook on – apparently tiles are super authentic, if you’re into that kind of thing) is that a stone helps your anemic – ok my anemic – home oven better mimic the blast-furnace nature of a real pizza oven, cooking the crust on the bottom as well as the top.  This results in much nicer, crispier homemade pizza.*

While you could build your pizza on your pizza stone, that would require it being cold, which defeats the purpose of having one.  That thing needs to be preheated to furnace-setting before you slide your pie on it.

Which leads us to today’s tip (finally!).  If you’ve ever tried to slide a topping-laden pizza off a cutting board or pizza peel**, you’ll know that even if you use an enormous amount of flour, it can still stick.  And that can lead to crying, which is no good.  Or calzone, which is not so bad, but it’s not pizza.  So here’s the tip; take some cornmeal and spread it out all over the board before you lay your dough down to build the pizza.  The corn meal will stay dry and acts kind of like little ball bearings to help the dough roll off the board and on to your stone.

It might take a little jerk or two to get it to start to slide (my husband likes to use a spatula to get it started when he does it) but once you get it moving, it will slide right off.

Hope that’s helpful!

Cheers.

*While the pizza stone is not exactly cheap, homemade pizza is far cheaper than buying it from a pizza place.  We eat pizza 1-2 times a week on average and it’s been so long since we went out for pizza, I don’t know what one costs from delivery, but my guess is that it’s pushing $25 or even $30, depending on where you live and what kind of pizza you order.  Ours at home costs about $4 or maybe $5 – $6 if we’re gettin’ fancy with the toppings.  That’s for two people and there are generally leftovers.
**You can always use a cutting board for rolling out pizza, but I recommend a peel.  If you are going to make pizza a lot, it really does make making and sliding the pizza in the oven much easier and it’s worth it.  Bonus – you can use it as a cutting board while you’re making the pizza toppings – one less thing to wash!

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