Homemade Pizza School

Updated: September 15, 2023

Reading Time: 5 Minutes

Our Helpful Homemade Pizza Prep Routine

When we are planning a pizza night, we have a pizza prep routine, and you should, too. There are a lot of variables in prepping for pizza night. You have to plan and make sure that all of the elements come together.

The dough needs to be just right, the oven preheated, cheese grated, toppings prepped, and sauce made. It feels like a lot of work and can feel overwhelming for those new to the kitchen. So, we thought we would share our pizza prep routine and how we plan for a fun pizza night.

homemade pizza prep routine with a pizza cutter on a thin slice
Photo by Nataliya Vaitkevich

What is Pizza Prep?

If you have ever worked in a restaurant, then you are familiar with prepping and preparing for the lunch or dinner rush. And while cooking at home, you don’t have to worry about cranky customers and cantankerous chefs; you do have to follow some basic kitchen rules to stay organized and keep your kitchen running smoothly.

And when we talk about pizza night, there is a way to plan and organize each part to make sure you aren’t running around at the last minute to find the cheese grater or reaching for toppings that havent been sliced.. 

pizza prep routine shredding mozzarella cheese over pizza
Photo by Katerina Holmes

Mise en place

If you have ever watched a cooking show, then you might already be familiar with the term mise en place. It is a French culinary term that chefs across the globe use, and it translates to everything in its place.

In terms of kitchen prep, it means having everything ready so you aren’t digging through a drawer to find the kitchen tool you need or rummaging through the cabinet looking for a critical ingredient only to find out there isn’t enough for the recipe.

Following mise en place helps avoid recipe disasters. Don’t get us wrong, recipe disasters can still happen, but following mise en place can help avoid silly mistakes like making focaccia only to find out you are out of olive oil.

Our pizza prep routine starts the day before we plan on having a pizza night. In the morning, we check the cupboard and refrigerator to ensure we have everything. Our checklist looks something like this:

This gives us time to go to the store if we are missing anything. In addition to the pizza prep, we make sure we have our pizza party friend’s favorite drinks like beer, wine, and soda. And if we are planning any appetizers like canapes or breadsticks, we are covered.

Our Pizza Prep Routine

homemade pizza prep routine for fresh pizza
Photo by Kajetan Sumila on Unsplash

We like to do a cold ferment on our pizza dough, so we make it the night before our pizza night. Pizza dough is the most important part of our pizza prep routine. Making a mistake with the dough is the pizza equivalent of forgetting to thaw the turkey on Thanksgiving.

Make the Dough the Night Before Pizza Night

This is our classic homemade pizza dough. It makes two dough balls, so two pizzas. When we are having a big pizza party, we make four pizzas. But instead of doubling the recipe in the same bowl, we just make it twice in two different bowls. We have found that the dough is just easier to manage. 

Start by activating the yeast in a small bowl with ¼ cup of warm water. Then, add the flour and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. When the yeast is bubbling, add that to the flour and mix.

We use a spatula to start mixing, and once mixed in, we use clean hands and start folding the dough. When you get a smooth ball, set it in a floured bowl, drizzle some olive oil on it, and let it rest for two hours on the counter.

After two hours, cut it into two balls and place it in a proofing container in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, we take out the dough balls, place them on a floured counter, and let them rest for two hours before making pizza.

Our Delicious Pizza Sauce

homemade pizza sauce prep routine
Photo by Mathias Reding

In the Morning on Pizza Day

We have talked about pizza sauce, and you can find a recipe for both uncooked and cooked pizza sauce. Or you can use a store-bought sauce. Recently, we started making roasted tomato pizza sauce. It’s simple and tasty.

We make it, portion it in reusable freezer bags, and just pull out the sauce the morning we want to use it. It takes a couple of hours in the refrigerator to defrost.

Roasted Tomatoes Pizza Sauce

Cut the Romas lengthwise. Brush a baking sheet with olive oil and place tomatoes, garlic cloves, and dried herbs. Drizzle with more olive oil. Bake in oven at 450º F for thirty minutes. Halfway through, turn the tomatoes. 

Blend them with ¼ cup of tomato paste when the tomatoes are cool. The tomato paste helps keep the bright red flavor. Without tomato paste, the mix looks pinkish. Place in freezer bags. This sauce makes enough for four pizzas.

The Day of the Pizza Party

Grab a cheese grater and grate your cheese and put it in a covered container. Slice and cut toppings and arrange in a toppings container or on a plate and refrigerate.

If you use toppings that need to be pre-cooked, like Italian sausage, ground beef, chicken, shrimp, caramelized onions, or roasted garlic, prepare them now, too. 

If using wet toppings like pineapple, olives, marinated artichokes, or sun-dried tomatoes, strain them and pat dry with paper towels.

We do all of our pizza prep routines before guests arrive, so we aren’t trying to chat while grating cheese. 

Pizza Oven

Pizzas cook best in a preheated oven. If you are using a pizza oven, follow the pre-heat guidelines. If you are using a conventional oven, preheat for twenty minutes. We prefer to use a pizza stone. And be sure to always put your pizza stone in the oven while preheating. If you aren’t using a pizza stone, you will need to par-bake crusts before adding toppings.

Prepare a floured space to roll out dough, and when the oven is ready, take out sauce, cheese, and ingredients and start making pizzas.

Pizza Prep Routine Recap

homemade pizza prep routine for your favorite toppings
Photo by Razvan Cristea on Unsplash

The Day Before

In the morning, check you all have all the ingredients.

In the evening, make the dough.

The Day of Pizza Party

Remove dough from the refrigerator two hours before making pizza.

Prepare sauce, grate cheese, and prepare toppings.

When Guests Arrive

Preheat oven.

Make pizzas.

What is your pizza prep routine for pizza night?

One of our Favorites

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DK & Eliana

DK & Eliana

Thanks for reading about our homemade pizza journey! We're a young married couple who started making pizza at home on our wedding night and haven't looked back yet. We've learned over countless attempts of trial and error how to make the perfect pizza sauce, pizza dough, and exactly which pizza accessories to buy for your home setup...

FYI When you make a purchase or, sometimes, carry out some other action as direct result of clicking on a link at Homemade Pizza School, we will receive a small commission. Gratzie!

About the Authors

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