The Varasano Pizza Recipe – How To Make Homemade Pizza

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6 thoughts on “The Varasano Pizza Recipe – How To Make Homemade Pizza”

  1. Thanks for the video and info. I have read Jeff’s article ten times but have had approach-advoidance about trying it. Is the dough better than other recipies you have tried? Everything he says seems to make sense but feed back from others seems to be mixed. Does the sourdough culture really make the difference? Any thoughts would be appreciated again thanks
    Matt

    1. Hey Matt,

      You’ve probably come a long way since this post but I just made the Varsano recipe with instant yeast (about 1 tsp. for 3.5-ish cups of flour) and it was amazing. I’ve used a sour starter before as well and was happy with this result. The keys are the wet knead and making sure to keep a wet dough throughout. It is precarious dough to work with but worth the challenge. Hope that helps!

      Zach

  2. If you look at Varasano’s spread sheet he is using 15% sourdough and in his text he says you can use 3% to 20% with little change in taste.

    This differs substantially from your version of his recipe. I guess it is trial and error to find your taste preference

    1. Howdy Roy!
      Hey, am I doing my math wrong here? Total recipe weight is 299.5 grams, and 15 grams of sourdough comes to about 19.967% of the total weight which seems to gel with the 3-20% range Jeff gives. Let me know if I’m missing something that just isn’t clicking for me!
      Thanks,
      Ryan

  3. Hi Ryan

    Nice job on condensing 22K words. :) I go back and read all some or all 22K all the time. I’ve been making Jeff’s pizza recipe for a little over 2 years now and I’ll just share what I’ve learned. I usually make his 5 pizza recipe and make 7 dough balls between 210-215g. (Anyone else who’s made it this far who hasn’t got a scale, just get once and thank us later) They freeze just fine. I’ve also found that they are better off you don’t let them come to room temperature and let them rise in a 2-cup yogurt container. Gives you a higher starting crust which allows for better rise, and the dough is a bit more firm and stands up to the stretch a little better. But after two years, I still don’t feel like I’ve perfected it.

    Like you, I started by using a pizza stone in the oven but it just doesn’t get hot enough to get a nice char. I’d put the stones on the floor of the oven and they’d get really hot but the top of the pizza wouldn’t even brown. I found an idea from J Kenzi Alt’s blog and modified it just a bit that comes as close to recreating the heat of a pizza oven without either breaking your oven or building one in your back yard (though that’s my project for next spring at our new place in Charleston, SC).

    I use a high sided 12″ cast iron skillet (JKA suggested a non-stick but a non-stick isn’t supposed to be used at high temps or go in the oven) and put on top of the stove and heat it until it is smoking – it will usually register between 600º and 700ºF though you’ve got to turn it a few times so the cast-iron heats uniformly. At the same time, I turn the broiler on high and close the oven.

    I stretch the dough and have the tomato sauce and mozzarella prepped along with basil leaves in tomato juice, artichoke hearts, or whatever ready to go. I do NOT top the dough with anything before I slide it into the pan which takes a bit of touch to slide from the peel into the deep sided pan. THEN, I spread the sauce and the cheese – the dough will bubble a little off the pan but not to worry – and let it cook for about another minute which brings it to about two minutes stove top.

    I then take it off the burner and set it under the broiler on the rack at the highest possible and the pizza is done about 1’30” later. It goes from almost done to perfect REALLY fast.

    Why not the low-sided cast iron to slide it in easier? I actually bought one and it doesn’t work near as well – I’m pretty sure those high sides hold the heat in and you get a nice airy crust with some nice air pockets, and the broiler gives the top side a little char and the cast iron gives the bottom a little char. It takes a little practice and pizzas 2 through 4/5/6/7/8 seem to be better kind of like making crepes.

    Another thing that I did the last time I made pizza was that I put a tbsp of sugar in with the dough. They rose much more than I wanted to in 24 hours so I’d probably go for a teaspoon next time, but the sugar in the dough promoted a little better and more even char on the dough. Again, just handicapping for not having a 1000º floor and 1400º dome.

    Good luck gonna go read more on your blog!

    Mark

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