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How To Make Outstanding Pizza Without A Pizza Stone

Making your own pizza dough can be really accessible as long as you've got the time for it. This recipe requires no skill and no special equipment, and the results speak for themselves. We end up with crunchy, chewy crusts, and plenty of options. I've got 3 different options for you, depending on the vibe you're going for. One uses a cast iron for a fluffy crunchy pan pizza, one uses a sheet pan for a crispy thin pie, and the last uses a double bake technique to get a charred crust with a softer base.

Dough (enough for roughly 3 pizzas)

350g water at 115f-120f

500g ap flour or 00 pizza flour

10g sea salt

.5g active dry yeast


Large can of whole tomatoes (28oz) - blended

2 garlic cloves grated

1/4 tsp chili flake

3/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp italian seasoning

large piece of basil

lots of olive oil

To start, we need to make our multipurpose dough. This dough will make about 2-3 pizzas depending on the size of your pans. I do really recommend a kitchen scale for this, as there really is no easy way to do this by cups. This is a dough adapted from a recipe from Flour Water Salt Yeast, an absolute required reading if you want to get into baking.

Measure out 350g of hot tap water, around 115f and put it in your mixing container. In a separate small bowl, measure out your .5g of active dry yeast and add a splash of the water in. Add 500g of all purpose flour with with the water and mix it together with your hands. The nice thing about this dough is that it doesn’t require an insane amount of kneading and it doesn’t require a mixer. Time is going to do the work for us.

Once that is combined, let it rest, covered, for 30 minutes so the dough can autolyze. This basically allows us to skip the kneading process, as the gluten structure will begin to form as the water hydrates the flour. After those 30 minutes are up, pour in your 10g salt and your yeast mixture. Mix those completely together with a wet hand, then we’re gonna stretch and fold the dough over itself a couple of times. This helps mix the salt in, but it also provides structure to the network of gluten that we’re building. Let that sit covered for 30 minutes, and then we’ll perform the same stretch and fold. Cover again and let it sit for 30 minutes more. After those 30 minutes, do another stretch and fold. Put a touch of olive oil in the container so it comes out easier, and let it sit on the counter covered for around 10-12 hours.

After the dough has at least doubled in size, you can take it out of the container and separate it into 3 equal sized balls, roughly 275g each. These can be folded into small balls and then rolled to make a taught ball. The surface tension we build allows air to stay inside the dough while it rests in the fridge. Cover these and let them sit in the fridge for at least 6 hours. A good timeline for this is either starting in the morning on Saturday, or Saturday night. That way, you can get the 12 hour bulk ferment out of the way and get the dough in the fridge. It will only get better with more time in the fridge, so don’t worry about hitting a 6 hour window in the fridge. It can stay for a couple of days and ferment creating even better texture/ flavor (up to about 4 days or so).

Once you're ready for a pizza, take a can of high quality San Marzano (or equally tasty) tomatoes and blend them with a stick blender. Put that into a saute pan over medium heat and season it with 2 grated garlic cloves, 1/4 tsp of chili flake, 3/4 tsp of salt, and 1/4 tsp of dried italian herbs. Add in a large sprig of basil and a good glug of nice olive oil. Let this come up to a simmer and drop the heat, let this cook for 20 minutes on medium low, then turn the heat off and let the basil steep for another 10 minutes. Remove the sprig and you’ll have a perfectly seasoned, but still bright tomato sauce that’s spot on for our pizza.

For cheese, I like low moisture whole milk mozzarella you can get from the deli in large blocks and I cut it into a medium dice. I find around 4oz of cheese per pie, but I end up just topping the pizza from the heart.

Cast Iron Pan Pizza

For the first pizza, a crunchy cast iron pan pizza, place your oven on 525f and make sure you've got a rack at the lowest position. Let the oven get nice and hot before prepping the dough. Take your dough out of the fridge and stretch it slightly in the air before placing it into a 10in cast iron pan with a little olive oil. Spread the dough to the edge of the pan, but try to keep as much air in as possible.. Top the dough with sauce, not too much, but it can stand up to a little more sauce than a thin crust pizza. Add on your cubed mozzarella and be sure to add a piece to pretty much every edge. This will melt into a crunchy cheese crust, almost like a Detroit style. I am still a die hard pepperoni fan. I like a lot of pepperoni, and maybe some sliced chiles if I want some extra heat. This can go on the lower rack of our 525 degree oven for around 20 minutes. The dough needs time to fully cook, so keep that in mind.

After the 20 minute mark, check on how the cheese is browning/ the quality of the edge. If the cheese is looking pale, you can run the broiler for a little, but mine was done at like 21 minutes. Take it out of the oven and slide it out to a wire rack to cool. For this pie, I like to tear on some basil at this point, and I also appreciate some red pepper flakes and dried herb. This is going to sound so ridiculous, but to me, this tastes like the best frozen pizza imaginable. It’s fluffy, crunchy, reminds me of when I would skip Highschool football games on Friday nights to eat a Digiorno pizza and try to learn how to breakdance via YouTube videos.

Thin Sheet Tray Pizza

For our second pizza, set the oven to 525f again, and grab a sheet tray. Oil up the tray so we can get a crispy almost fried texture on the bottom. Take the dough directly from the fridge and spread it on our oiled sheet tray. Think of this like working a focaccia dough. No real stretching skills here, simply try to keep as much air in the dough as possible. If it isn’t spreading, let the dough rest for 15 minutes and try again. Once the dough is edge to edge, top it with a little sauce, and for this one, I like a combination of that same whole milk mozz, but with a ton of pecorino on top of the sauce. Grate your pecorino on first, then hit it with those mozz cubes. This can get a sprinkle of italian herbs before going in the oven, and let it rip for around 11 minutes on the low rack. This time is pretty much a perfect cook for the bottom, while not overdoing the cheese. This comes out as a cross between a grandma pie and a like a classic sheet pan pizza. It’s crispy, lighter, and really tasty. It also needs way less time in the oven, so it works better if you’re prone to setting off your smoke alarm. De-pan it onto a wire rack and let it cool before cutting it into squares. Be sure to save the corner pieces for yourself.

Faux- Margherita Pizza

The secret little pizza is something I cooked up while trying to get a really nice margherita at home. The result is way more crisp and fresh tasting than the other pies. It also cooks the toppings at a way higher temp, so we can get away with using the fancy fresh mozz. It’s creamier, but holds more water, so the other styles would simply get too soggy with it. Cut your fresh mozzarella into cubes just like the other one, and set it in the fridge while we handle the dough. Just like the second pie, grease up a sheet tray and lay out the dough, but we’re gonna let it proof for about an hour in the tray. Halfway through the hour, turn the oven onto 525f and make sure one of the racks is up to the top row. We’re gonna do a double cook on this pizza. The first is going to just be the dough, on the bottom rack for 7 minutes. This is going to cook it almost all the way through, so the bottom will be crisp, but the toppings haven’t seen any heat yet. Remove it from the oven and apply the sauce, and then the fresh mozz. I like diced tomato on my margherita pies, but that is totally a preference thing. Tear on a bunch of basil, and sprinkle on a little salt (the fresh mozz needs it in my opinion). Turn the oven onto high broil and place the pie on the top rack. We’re gonna let it cook for about 3 minutes, but you’ve got to keep a really close eye on it. A little charring is ok, but don’t let it burn. The cheese should take on some color and the whole pizza should look absolutely beautiful. Slide it on the rack to cool for a second and I really appreciate some fresh olive oil on at the end. It’s totally different i know, but taste and texture feel a lot like a Neapolitan pizza. It’s fresher, crisp, with the slightest bit of sog on the bottom (in a good way). This is my wife's new favorite way that I make pizza. It’s crazy delicious.

You should be able to make incredibly tasty pizza at home without needing a pizza stone, and these are some really amazing options. These absolutely crush you’re pizza cravings and are totally achievable for you at home. No pizza stone required.



Hey, I'm Cameron, and I'm glad you're here. I post new recipes every week, all intended to build your confidence in the kitchen, each one with video tutorials to help. Craving something specific? Drop me a note in my contact form! 

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