From Slate’s L.V. Anderson: “Making pizza dough is not difficult; it contains literally five ingredients (flour, yeast, salt, olive oil, and water), and you can throw it together in ten to fifteen minutes. What is difficult is achieving the right thickness when you’re stretching the dough out, after it’s risen and before it’s been topped. Here’s a good rule of thumb: When you think you’ve stretched the dough thin enough, keep stretching it until it’s half as thick. And then stretch it a little thinner for good measure. It should be cracker-thin, crêpe-thin, even paper-thin in places. There is no risk of stretching it too thin; it will rise like nobody’s business once the heat of your oven hits it. When your dough resists stretching further—and it will—leave it alone for a minute, then come back to it and try again; it will eventually acquiesce to the will of your fingers.”
Lady Oyster and I take our homemade pizza-making very seriously. We make our own dough; yes, it is remarkably easy to do so. Second, we just started making our own mozzarella cheese, which should be proof enough how seriously we take this. Third, sauce is definitely important, but I’ve found acceptable store bought varieties sold in a can (Pastene) if you don’t have the predisposition to making your own.
A pizza stone is an absolute necessity. Trust me. There’s no way to make great homemade pizza without one. Get great ingredients, crank the oven as high as the temperature can go and you’ll achieve great results. The tip about stretching the dough thin is one I’ve never considered. I’ll have to try it next time.
The nice thing about all of this is there’s no such thing as bad pizza.