Making pizza for guests

We ended up deciding on pizza for our dinner guests tonight, so I thought I'd share again my tips on making pizza for guests! Now, I'm off to start the dough in my bread machine... :)

Melissa writes:

I know you make pizza for guests quite often, so I have a question. We had friends over a couple of months ago and I had to make three pizzas to have enough for everyone. I was in the kitchen the entire time, pulling one out of the oven, waiting for the pizza stone to cool, rolling the dough out on another, topping it, getting it in the oven, etc... I didn't even really eat and it was just awkward for everyone that I was bustling around while they were eating. How do you fix pizza for a crowd without spending the entire evening in the kitchen? 

Thanks for the great question, Melissa!


(Tammy's Easy Pizza)

First, I don't use a pizza stone. I use pans. I have several round pans, but if I need to make even more pizzas, I pull out my rectangular pans, too! :) I'm guessing many folks would prefer the crust made on a pizza stone rather than made on a pizza pan, but using pans definitely makes it easier! :)

Secondly, since I have a bread machine, I use it to mix the dough for me. (Yes, even large amounts of dough. If it fits, I do it -- even if I have to "help" it in the corners a little as it kneads. Hasn't ruined my bread machine yet, so...) :)

The bread machine is handy since it has a timed feature with allows me to throw the ingredients in even hours before I am ready for the dough, set the timer, and get busy cleaning the house or whatever!

Thirdly, I butter all my pans, put a blob of dough on each pan, and get the pizza crust spread out and the toppings put on, usually before the guests even arrive.

I wait until the company is here before I start baking, since my pizzas usually only take 11-15 minutes to bake. I can bake two at a time, so if I am making 3 or more, I may start baking a couple before the guests are here, but I wait for the last two so we have some that's really hot and fresh to start with!

And lastly, I want to mention that pizzas (made with my easy pizza recipe) taste just fine (even GREAT!) even when they've sat on the counter for 15-30 or even 45 minutes before being baked!

In fact, the last time I served pizza to guests, we were expecting them to arrive shortly when we got a call from them saying that they were just then leaving their hosue (over an hour away!). I was sprinkling the last of the toppings on the pizza when Joshua relayed their message, and I said, "Well, the pizza will just have to wait then!" :) I left the fully-made (but yet-uncooked) pizzas on the kitchen table and baked them about an hour later, when our guests were almost here, and they turned out EXCELLENT. :)

Pizza is very forgiving, as long as you make sure the crust is fully baked! I have had good pizzas and great pizzas and pizzas that I didn't care as much for, but our guests have never complained! :) (Maybe we just have polite guests!) ;)

Joshua's Grilled Chicken Pizza
Joshua's Grilled Chicken Pizza

Our pizza recipes:

Tammy's Easy Pizza (#1 FAVORITE!!)

Joshua's Grilled Chicken Pizza

Tammy's Taco Pizza (yum!)

Pepperjack Pizza (when you're tired of pepperoni...)

Homemade Chicken Pizza (more involved but a very delicious white sauce pizza!)

Homemade Apple Pizza (this is a dessert)


Tammy's Taco Pizza

Posts about making pizza:

Pizza Pans Q&A 

What to do when the dough comes out of the mixer/bread machine a little too sticky...

Bread and pizza questions...

When you want pizza but already have a main dish planned/made, this Italian Cheese Bread makes a great side dish to curb your cravings! :)

My homemade pizza sauce recipe 

Tammy's Spicy Pepperoni recipe (beef)

And a more recent pizza creation (I'm making one of these tonight, along with a beef pizza and a cheese pizza):

Comments

I'm so glad someone asked this question! I've been in the same shoes as you, Melissa. I guess I just need to get me some pizza pans!

Pizza looks great and thanks for all the great tips for making it

We do pizza every week and I always use my machine. It makes it so easy! I have one pizza pan and always use that, but I also use my stone too, it is like having two different types of pizzas!
Toni
http://thehappyhousewife.com

This is great. We love pizza and it's so expensive to buy at the stores plus they don't even taste that great! Thanks for the links! You are a Kitchen Goddess!

I make mine on stones and they come out so yummy :)

Some excellent information here.

When we have guests over for pizza, they usually join in and help make them or sit at the counter and talk to us while we make them. Of course there's four girls in our family, so there's plenty of help. :)

Your pizzas look delicious. I might have to give them a try!

Erica from cookingforseven.com

Hi Tammy,
Dave loves the BBQ Chicken Pizza I make. It is easy and quick to make.
Hugs,
Elizabeth

I posted on my website on cleaning stainless steel if anyone is interested. I have found some foolproof ways to get it clean, quickly! Come on by if you are interested.

Sarah
oucozyrobbinsnest.blogspot.com

This post goes to a non active blog
I sure was looking forward to reading this.
Blessings
Deena

We did this recently for my daughter's birthday. I had to use my rectangular cookie sheets. I wish I had taken the time to experiment with this first. I prepared the pans with PAM spray. Two of my pans were the regular, shiny silver pans. While I prefer the texture of pizza made on my stone, they were acceptable, good even. The final pan had a dark, non-stick finish. I got much better "browning" on the bottom. In fact, my daughter accused me of burning her pizza. It wasn't burned; it was very, very toasty!

We sometimes do pizzas for guests, especially when we aren't too familiar with their food habits. I prepare all the toppings ahead of time, and have the pizza dough rolled out into personal pizzas. We bring the guests into the kitchen and let them help make their own pizza (putting on the sauce and their choice of toppings). So the only thing I have to do is pop it all in the oven. You can do a lot more personal pizzas with good organization than you can do big round pizzas.

It has been a big hit each time we've done this!

lizzykristine @ Uplifted Eyes
http://lizzykristine.blogspot.com

I found out the same as you have - that pizzas can sit for quite a length of time before baking and still be quite edible - even awesome! A couple years ago, we were caroling with some friends and I wanted to have pizza when we all got back to our house. But I knew we would be starved and in no mood to wait for me to assemble pizza! So I rolled out the crusts and placed the toppings on and put the entire pans in the fridge. (Took some re-organization to make them all fit!) When we arrived home I pre-heated the oven and started baking pizzas. And they were wonderful! Some of our friends said it was the best homemade pizza they had ever had! Sometimes desperate measures work out for good!

With a handful of hungry teens crossing my threshold tomorrow night--and a busy day out of the house leading up to the evening--I am wondering if the unbaked, assembled pizzas would survive in the fridge for up to twenty-four hours. Am I crazy not to order delivery in a pinch? ;)

Hannah
Cedar Rapids, Ia.

Hannah, I've never left the unbaked/assembled pizzas sit that long...

If you had a bread machine or something to knead the pizza dough, you could get all the toppings ready (keep in fridge) and put the dough ingredients in the mixer/machine and start it as soon as you got home (or use the timer feature on a bread machine). I've done that and it really doesn't take much time to spread the dough out and sprinkle toppings on while the oven pre-heats...

Or, you could go with the delivery option. :D Either way, have fun! :)

Hi Hannah....
Sometimes I have youth groups over and I have similar problems and need to make as much in advance as I can. I find that pre cooking the dough for 5 or 6 minutes "sets" the crust and doesn't allow the yeast to rise too much. After the crusts cool, I brush them with olive oil, and make them up as usual. When you cook them the next day, watch them carefully and check them starting about 10 minutes after you put them back in the oven. Mine usually still take 15 minutes, and I bake them at 380* because we don't like a really dark bottom crust.

Debbie

I use a pizza stone (Pampered Chef). I put it in the oven to preheat while I start putting the pizzas together. I put parchment paper on a cookie sheet that has no side on one end and make the pizza on that. When it's done I slide pizza and paper off the cookie sheet right onto the hot stone. The pizza takes about 13-15 minutes to bake at 400F When it's done, I can pull the paper and pizza off the stone and then slide the next pizza on to bake. Works very well, and the paper keeps the stone clean.

Jenny

I've done the same thing, only instead of using parchment paper, I sprinkled both the pizza stone (before preheating) and the cookie sheet heavily with cornmeal. It worked wonderfully, but I often just put my pizza pan ontop of my stone (if I'm only making one pizza) for the best of both worlds: ease and the crust from the stone. :)

Tammy,
We use pizza stones using pretty much the same methods as you. We make 4 pizzas for a meal each weekend and at least 6 when there is company. I usually have two ready to go into the oven before our guests arrive. Once the first two are cooked we remove them off the stones, place on racks, and put the next two into bake. Once the second batch are done baking, we sit down to eat while the third batch is baking. I do not have a pizza peel so we place the waiting pizzas on the back of a rimless cookie sheet coated with cornmeal or parchment paper. The parchment paper is easier for quick placement on the stones and we usually have it on hand. We bake our pizzas at 400F for 12-15 minutes.
Peggy

I forgot to say thank you for the recipe! My husband loves it! We are working on a recipe for one that is milder, a bit garlicky, and uses moose meat.

Once again thanks!

Thanks, Tammy! That was helpful.

Looks Great!

I use pizza a pizza stone for making homemade pizza (we make it every Friday night). I place my cold stone in a cold oven and then turn the oven on to 500 degrees. I roll out my pizza dough on a pizza peel that I dust with flour and cornmeal and then I top the pizza. I use the peel to slide the fully topped pizza off onto the hot stone. My pizzas cook fully in 5-6 minutes. While one os cooking, I can easily assemble the next one. When I pull a pizza out of the oven I put it on a cookie rack (to cool slightly before cutting) so the bottom of the crust doesn't getting soggy from steaming on a plate. Anyway, using this method makes it go pretty fast to make pizz for a crowd. I have also read you can use parchment paper if you don't have a peel.

I make pizza about once per week. I use my pizza stone this way: I preheat the oven. I slap a little olive oil [or any oil] on my pizza stone. Plop the dough on it. Pat and/or roll dough out on stone. Prick it with a fork to avoid making a giant pita bread, then pre-bake it a little. Finally top and complete baking. I serve it from the stone. If I want to put it on the table I fold a bath towel, place an iron skillet on the towel and top with the pizza! Of course, I don't have toddlers to grab at the hot stone--just a 14 year old who's still learning that "hot" means "Emergency Room" if you're not careful!
Lisa @ hopewellmomschoolreborn.blogspot.com

I think the times we have had trouble was when it was large groups and only a few pizzas done at a time. I spent most of the time baking pizzas. I have thought of baking two to have ready to pull out right before they got there and then a couple going in to make it easier. We used to sell pizza. One time we had an order for like 17 pizzas, that was alot of work!

that taco pizza looks so good

www.mommyoffaith19.blogspot.com

Thanks for the great pizza tips and recipes. They are much appreciated!!!
Blessings,
Nancy

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