No matter what it's called, we all love it! No one really knows who the culinary genius is behind one of America's favorite food, the PIZZA. As I thought of what to write about this month, I realized I've never written about pizza. I'm not a pizza maker. I hate baking so this is one food I've never explored.
Pizza Transit in Niles, Michigan and Cheers Pub-Four Horsemen Pizza in Roseland both make the best pizzas I've ever had the pleasure of devouring. Sarah Britton, owner and head pizza maker at Pizza Transit and Sandie Schloss Slav owner and head pizza maker of Four Horsemen Pizza inside Cheers Pub are my go to champions for this great, fulfilling treat.
So what I asked of them is to give me some simple answers to myths and questions behind making the best WHEEL possible for you at home. I hope those of you reading this will visit them, meet them and enjoy their pizzas. Then you can see for yourself why I love these two ladies and their pizzas. If you decide to undertake the task of making your own then you can use these seven tips to help you create your own signature "pie".
1. We know a good pizza is about the crust, is it true without salt flour doesn't taste like much?
Sarah: "The right balance of sugar and salt are key to getting a delicious crust. I think a really great crust should be made with few ingredients and the real key is giving the dough time to rest. The yeast will ferment and give you that really great flavor."
Sandie: "First you have to make sure you use the right type of flour. ALWAYS use salt, that helps it rise and does make it taste better."
2. Is it ok to use store bought premade pizza sauce or take the effort to make your own sauce and why?
Sarah: "Honestly the store bought sauces aren't too bad so if you're making a pizza at home go for it. Spend time making a homemade crust and prepping fresh meats and veggies. Those are the parts that really need the extra love."
Sandie: "You can always use store bought sauce. You want to use what you like. We prefer making our sauce fresh daily for that homemade taste."
3. Is it wise to use restraint on the toppings, using just a handful of ingredients to compliment flavors?
Sandie: "We only use fresh ingredients. We do not measure what we put on it. We go by what looks good and what taste fantastic."
Sarah: "I have total respect for places that go light on the toppings, but I make an American style pizza loaded up with goodness. I can enjoy a pizza lightly cheesed and topped, but can't bring myself to cook one."
5. Is a pizza stone a must in making the perfect home pizza?
Sarah: "A pizza stone is a big help if you want that great pizzeria taste. We cook our pizzas on stones and it really helps get you that crispy outside and chewy inside that I love! They are worth the investment for sure."
Sandie: "I have always made my pizzas on a stone. Even back in the day when my kids were little, I used pizza stones at home. But make sure to always warm them up first."
6. Is it a great idea and a must to always pre-bake your crust first before adding the heavier moist ingredients?
Sandie: “The only time I precook my crust is if I'm making an extra thin crust pizza."
Sarah: "I think the crust taste better when you don't pre-bake it. It loses a bit of its lightness when you do that, and I think the juiciness of the more moist ingredients marries well with the cheese and sauce."
7. It's obvious baking a pizza at 350° will get you nowhere but a longer baking time and soggy crust, is 500° the proper temp or can you go higher without broiling?
Sarah: "500° is as hot as you are gonna get for most home ovens, and that should do fine. We cook ours at 575° to get that bit of extra crisp, but invest in a pizza stone and you'll get pretty darn close."
Sandie: "500° is a perfect temperature. I have cooked pizzas at 475° at home before."
I snuck in an extra question just to let our friends that read the MICHIANA ENTERTAINER know why these two pizzas will win you over like they have me. This was their responses.
"What do you think or do that makes your pizzas stand out differently than other pizzas in town?"
Sandie: "We make our dough by hand two to three times a day. We only use fresh ingredients. We make our own sauce and sausage, we hand cut fresh veggies daily and we bake each and every pizza with love!"
Sarah: "Our commitment to quality ingredients is sadly pretty rare these days, and my customers know they are getting fresh, quality ingredients made from scratch when they call Pizza Transit!.
Well there you have it friends and pizza lovers everywhere. Two different, but equally amazing ways to cook the best pizzas possible. Simple but very important details to know in your kitchen that'll help your pizza parties be a success or if you're just enjoying one with your lover. Two last things I'd like to discuss is square pieces of pizza are never cool, in my opinion. No matter how you eat it, the wedge cut is the only way to go. You can pinch a piece in two, sandwich two pieces together or eat it from tip to crust. Go ahead and invest in a pizza sleeve also. It'll make removing the pizza from your oven easier and you can cut on it.