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Rolling out the perfect homemade pizza

Becky Krystal

THE WASHINGTON POST – A few months ago, I answered some of the most common questions readers have about homemade pizza.

As the comments under that piece filled with great tips and insights from home cooks, I realised many of you are just as passionate about pizza as I am.

Here are some of my favourites you shared. (Tips have been lightly edited for clarity and length.)

– Improving dough flavour. “It is vital to age your dough for one to two days. I make mine in a bread machine, then split it and age them in the fridge. Three days is too long in my opinion,” whatchamacallit thingamajig said. “Un-aged dough is okay but does not have the flavour of aged dough.”

– How to shape dough. Golden slumbers offers a creative shaping method. “Dirt cheap Ikea Blanda Blank bowl, either the 11-inch or 14-inch one, turned upside down and floured. Lay the dough disk onto the top.” Gently stretch the dough so that the edges get pushed downward. Leave it thicker on the outer edge of the dough if you want a more substantial crust around the rim. “When it’s the size I want, I turn over the bowl onto a parchment-covered peel and apply the toppings.”

– Cheaper alternative to a stone or steel. DivineMsS has never bothered with a stone. “I have six unglazed quarry tiles that I’ve been using in place of a pizza stone since about 1999.

– Another way to skip the stone. “On those days when I don’t feel like preheating the pizza stone, I bake the pizza on a baking sheet, moving the pizza out of the pan a few minutes early and placing it directly onto an oven rack to crisp up,” Peggy Mac said. “Turns out perfect every time.”

– Go light on the toppings. “Do not overload your pizza,” Art95 said. “Restraint is the better part of valor.”

– Using parchment. “I use a piece of parchment paper to roll the dough, then it’s easy to transfer to the peel (which is dusted with semolina), and the parchment also helps it slide onto the pizza steel,” said FringeheadSanDiego.

“The parchment paper gets pretty brown and crispy at 500 degrees, but it doesn’t catch fire. We even use the browned parchment paper to place between leftover slices, once the pizza has cooled off.”

– What to coat your peel with. “A mix of the coarser semolina and all-purpose flour on the peel leaves a less ‘gritty’ crust on the finished product,” said James B Ellsworth III. “The all-purpose-flour lessens the stickiness and the semolina helps the sliding action.”

– No soggy crusts, plus a make-ahead option. “Par-fry the crust in a pan with a little olive oil to get the base partially cooked,” Enjoy the Kitchen recommends.

“This way you never get a soggy crust. And you can freeze the bases for ready-to-deploy crusts.”

– Wisdom for grillers. Grills can get even hotter than your oven, making them great for pizza.

“When using a gas grill, ensure you got it cleaned.”

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