Where to order pizza during this pandemic, how to make pizza dough at home

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Lupa Cotta, run by Ines Barlerin Glaser, is offering kits to make pizzas at home. Credit: Lupa Cotta.

Pizza places were in a unique position to open right away for takeout and delivery. No doubt everyone has their favorites. But Good Food host Evan Kleiman highlights some new choices that have become available during the pandemic. 

Pandemic newcomers

Brandoni Pepperoni - 7100 Santa Monica Blvd in West Hollywood. Brandon Gray has worked at Providence, Trois Mec, and Cape Seafood and Provisions. Now he’s making pizzas under the name Brandoni Pepperoni.

Quarantine Pizza - Highland Park (they share the address after confirming order and payment). This restaurant offers aptly named pies from a young couple doing curbside pickup. 

Some veteran chefs just started making pizza: 

Antico - 4653 Beverly Blvd in Central LA. Chef Chad Colby is making large pizzas on a Focaccia base and various toppings. 

Fred 62 - 1850 N Vermont Ave in Los Feliz. Fred Eric has launched LA-style pan pizza.

Get pizza kits here:  

Urban Pie LA - 4528 E Washington Blvd in East LA. Jason Winters ran some mobile pizza trucks, and now he’s doing curbside pie pickup and do-it-yourself kits.

Lupa Cotta - various locations in West LA, Hollywood, Silver Lake. Ines Barlerin Glaser, former line cook at the now shuttered Sotto, is offering pizza kits.

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Lupa Cotta’s pizza kit includes pepperoni, dough, cheese, basil and more. Credit: Lupa Cotta. 

Evan Kleiman’s pizza dough recipe 

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Evan Kleiman makes pizza dough at home using all-purpose flour, yeast, salt, extra virgin olive oil, water. Photo by Evan Kleiman.

Adapted from “Angeli Caffe: Pizza, Pasta, Panini” by Evan Kleiman.

Pizza is easy to make, and you don’t need much to have success. But I think there are two tools that will make everything so much easier. I have no skin in the game with these brands. I’ve linked to them for info purposes only. The first is a bench scraper. Use it to move your dough around on your work surface or “bench.” It’s also great for cleanup. The other is a wood pizza peel. It’s a giant spatula on which you will top your pizza, then use it to slide the thing into the oven, whether onto a stone, pizza steel or cookie sheet. Get a small one for individual sized pizzas to start. 

1 package active dry yeast or 
¼ cup lukewarm water
3 ¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup cold water

To make the pizza dough using a food processor:

Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water. Let it fizz for about 5 minutes. If using instant yeast forgo this step and increase water by ¼ cup for later in the recipe.

Put the flour, yeast mixture, salt olive oil and cold water into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process until the dough forms a ball. The dough should be fairly soft. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. If the dough feels a little dry, wet your hands and knead it. If it feels too wet add a bit of flour, but just a bit. This is a soft dough. It should feel like your ear lobe after kneading which you will do for two to three minutes.  

Put the dough into a bowl lightly rubbed with olive oil, turn it over to grease the dough on both sides and cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes.

To make the pizza dough by hand:

Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water. Let it fizz for about 5 minutes. If using instant yeast forgo this step and increase water by ¼ cup for later in the recipe.

In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture or the instant yeast, 2 ½ cups of the flour, salt, olive oil and cold water.  Mix with a spoon or your hands to create a thick batter. Transfer the batter to a floured work surface. Knead the remaining 1 cup of flour into the dough a little at a time. Knead for 8 to 10 minutes. The dough should feel like your ear lobe, soft and elastic but not sticky. Add a bit more flour as necessary.   

Put the dough into a bowl lightly rubbed with olive oil, turn it over to grease the dough on both sides and cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes.

To shape the dough:

Dust your work surface with flour. Divide the dough into quarters using a bench scraper if you have one. Roll each piece into a tight smooth ball to align the gluten. It’s useful to actually see someone do this. Google “how to shape or how to roll a pizza dough ball.” Tons of videos will come up. Use the technique best suited to you.

To let the dough balls rise you need to put them in a container tall enough that the tops won’t touch the lid or plastic wrap once they’ve risen. I use a tall sided roasting pan. You need it to be at least 3” tall. I line the pan with a fine cotton or linen dish towel that I rub with flour, and I cover them with plastic wrap. I hate using plastic, but it keeps the dough moist, as opposed to a towel which will absorb the moisture in the dough. You can use individual tall plastic containers or place the dough balls on a lightly floured surface and cover them with a clean kitchen towel and let rise for an hour.  Or better yet, let them rise in the refrigerator overnight or up to 48 hours.  The longer they take to rise, the more flavor the pizza will have.

To shape the pizza:

Put your stone, cookie sheet or pizza steel in the oven on the lowest rack. Preheat your oven to 500 degrees. Do not stress that it isn’t 800 degrees.  That is for a different kind of pizza.

Partly fill a bowl big enough to hold one pizza ball with flour. Have no fear.  Take the ball of risen dough from the container it’s in, and lay it into the flour. Turn it over to flour the other side, then move it to your work surface.  Using your fingertips, press the dough down evenly until it is a flat disk about ½” thick. Lift the dough, and lay it over the back of the fist on one hand. Place your other fisht underneath the dough so the fists are almost touching. Now gently stretch the dough by moving your fists away from each other. Each time you perform this stretching move, rotate the dough.  Continue stretching and rotating until the dough is about ¼” thick and measures about 9 inches across.

Lay your stretched dough on a floured wooden pizza peel (much easier if you use one), then add your toppings. The faster you get, the less flour you’ll need on the peel. Your goal is to top the pizza and slide it into the oven before the wet toppings permeate the dough and make it stick to the peel and you start crying. 

So at the beginning, don’t go all Dominos with the tomato sauce. Remember to gently shake the peel from time to time to check that the dough isn’t sticking. If you have a bit of stickage, lift up the edge and throw flour under, then shake the peel a bit to let the flour redistribute. Repeat if necessary.

Slide the pizza off onto your stone by placing the peel onto the stone at a point the farthest away from you, and with a decisive move, slip the peel out from under the pizza. It takes some practice. Anything is edible even if it’s not pretty. Have fun!