Common Pizza Mistakes

I've been all around this pizza-pie, and I've made enough freakin' disastrous mistakes to know what not to do - so I've decided to create this list to help out the rest of the pizza newbies on the 'net.

Too many toppings

Hey, more is better, right? Wrong. Case and point: Dom DeLuise. Too many toppings on your pizza leads to a disastrous situation where the crust cooks faster than the toppings - making you choose between a blackened crust or uncooked toppings. Keep your pizza toppings down to about a half-inch (a centimeter) to prevent this situation.

Too much cheese

Putting too much cheese on your pizza is not only going to make the darn thing heavy and greasy, but you're going to be constipated for a week. Keep the cheese down to a level where you can still see the sauce and/or crust underneath. If you can't see any sauce or crust, you've got a heart attack waiting to happen - not a pizza. It's hard to resist the temptation to put more and more cheese on there, but you will be rewarded with a pizza that cooks evenly and doesn't leave you feeling like you just drank a bowl of lard.

Toppings centralization

Spread your toppings as far out to the edge of the crust as you feel safe doing. You don't want to eat plain pizza crust, do you? I didn't think so. Maximize that crust real estate by pushing the toppings to the edge.

The thin spot

If you have a really thin spot in your dough, you are asking for trouble. How is it supposed to hold up a smattering of cheese and sauce and whatever else you put on it? It won't. If you create a thin spot while rolling out the dough, either reform the ball all over again or stretch a thick spot on top of the thin spot. Don't leave it as-is, though, because the sauce will bleed through during cooking and your entire pizza will get stuck to your screen / stone / pan. Then, when you can't get the damn thing off, you'll curse and swear and wonder why my pizza guide is so crappy. Just remember, it's your fault, not mine.

Uncooked meat (a.k.a. who wants E.Coli?)

In case you don't want to spend the rest of the day in the bathroom, you should be sure to pre-cook any raw meat before using it on your pizza. Of course, cured meats are no problem - salami, pepperoni, ham, prosciutto - but avoid putting raw sausage, bacon, chicken, or beef on your pizza. It is not going to cook all the way in the short 10 minutes it is in the oven. Especially if you are a dufus and put too many toppings on the pizza in the first place (see above).

In a hurry

If you want a good pizza, start making the dough the day before. Chill it in the fridge overnight. Pizza dough that has just been made does not taste impressive at all. Sure, it's fun and simple to do, but good things come to those who wait (I got that from a ketchup bottle).

Roof burning

I know you are as excited as can be about eating your pizza - but do the roof of your mouth a favor and let the fresh-out-of-the-oven pizza sit for about 5 minutes to cool off. Cut it after it has sat and cooled, not before - the toppings are less likely to spread around.

Jumping the gun

It looks like it's done, right? Yeah? Then let it cook for another 3 minutes. Pizzas always look like they are done 3-4 minutes before they are actually really done. If you take it out before that last 3-4 minutes, the crust will be floppier than Bob Dole sans Viagra, and you might not get full toppings cookage. You'll know it is just right when the crust has started to turn black on the edges and the cheese on top has nice brown spots all over it. Mmmmmm...