June 6, 2011

Our Home Cook program is loaded with classes to fit everyone’s tastes and culinary interests. As pizza is the world’s most adored food, it’s no surprise that we offer a class designed to teach our students how to perfect the art of making a great pie.

I had the pleasure of attending our Primo Pizza class on June 3rd. Primo Pizza teaches each student the basics of creating a great crust and perfect toppings. Usually frightened by recipes involving yeast, I was quite wary about messing the dough up. Chef Michael helped put me at ease, though, and he encouraged us all to get creative with our pizzas. Helping me understand how resilient the dough can be, Michael even showed me how to knead it by slinging it against the counter top! By the end of the class I felt like a pizza pro.

Not only was Primo Pizza exciting and energizing, but the feast that ensued at the end was incredible. Having dressed our crusts up with whichever sauces and toppings we desired, we created at least 20 unique pizzas. Heart shaped pizzas smothered with radish top pesto and caramelized onions were to be found alongside cornmeal crusts drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with mushrooms and goat’s cheese. Every pizza was perfect!

Some Fun Facts About Pizza Making

  • If you love a crispy crust, knead the dough more to help develop the gluten.
  • If you want to add ingredients to your dough, such as herbs, always wait until the very end. You don’t want to do anything to disturb the yeast’s activity while the dough is rising.
  • If you like your crust to have an extra crunch, try substituting some of your all purpose flour for cornmeal.
  • Always par-bake your pizza crust. This just means that you should cook it ¾ of the way, then dress it up with toppings and finish the cooking process.
  • The key to making a good pizza is using a hot oven. Have your oven waiting for you at 500 degrees with a pizza stone in it. 
  • Always make sure that your toppings are seasoned and drained of excess moisture if you need to pre-cook them. 

Perfect Pizza Dough- Yields Two 12” Pizzas


  • 1 & ¼ Cups Warm Water
  • 1 Tablespoon Active Dry Yeast
  • 1 Teaspoon Sugar
  • 3 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 2 Teaspoons Salt


  1. Dissolve the sugar in ¼ cup of the warm water. Sprinkle the yeast on the surface and set aside for 10 minutes. In a large bowl, mix your dry ingredients together. 
  2. Once your yeast has proofed, add it to the rest of your warm water and olive oil. Pour this mixture into your dry ingredients, mixing until a soft ball of dough forms.
  3. Take the dough out of the bowl and knead it until the dough is smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes. If the dough seems a bit dry, you can add some extra water. Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap.
  4. Leave the dough at room temperature until it has risen and doubled in size, about 1 hour. Uncover the dough, and deflate it by gently punching it down. Divide into however many pieces you want and form each piece into a ball.
  5. Place oven rack in bottom third of the oven. Place a pizza stone or tiles on the rack and preheat to 450 or 500 degrees.
  6. On a lightly floured surface, flatten or roll out dough into desired shape. 
  7. Dust a peel with cornmeal. Place flattened dough on peel. Slide the dough onto the stone and bake until cooked ¾ of the way- about 3-4 minutes. Remove crust and top with desired ingredients. Slide pizza back into the oven and cook until done to your liking. Primo Pizza!