Over the weekend I had a group of friends over and made pizza for them all. My challenge was to be able to quickly make enough pizzas and also be able to enjoy the company and a few drinks.
I ended up making over 30 pizzas and had a choice of about 20 different toppings.
Did I succeed? Find out how it went and 10 tips cooking pizza for a crowd after the jump.
Things went very well, I would say it was a success for everyone. I managed to multi-task well enough to enjoy my drinks, talk with friends, and keep pizzas moving fast enough for people to enjoy them.
To help with the flow of food and get my friends involved, I turned it into a build-your-own pizza party. I blind baked all the crusts ahead of time and had them out ready for toppings.
Toppings included: sliced roma tomatoes, roasted red and yellow peppers, mozzarella cheese, goat cheese, feta cheese, Parmesan cheese, pineapple, Mandarin oranges, sauteed mushrooms, roasted garlic, spicy tomato sauce, regular tomato sauce, pesto, roasted jalapeno peppers, Italian sausage, Canadian bacon, pepperoni, spinach, basil, olive oil.
To increase the turn-around time between pizzas, I baked two at a time. One baked on the baking stone on the lower rack and another on a baking sheet on the top rack.
For those interested in doing their own pizza party, here are five things I learned while making the dough and baking 30 pizzas.
- I keep mentioning that I use a baking stone, but a cookie sheet or round pizza pan will work fine.
- The pizza dough can be made in large batches on parchment paper to shape and rise. The parchment paper can be placed directly onto the stone to bake. The paper warps a bit as the dough rises, but as long as you don’t play with it too much, the warping of the paper won’t affect anything.
- I mentioned that the recipe scales up nicely, but amounts greater than 5 times the quantity called for in the original recipe (to make 10 pizzas) creates a dough that can be a bit too large to handle.
- It’s best to underbake than overbake this dough. Pay attention when you are baking it because when your oven is at 500+F the difference between 5 minutes and 6 minutes is the difference between a cooked dough and a burnt dough.
- The pizza dough freezes very well. Just let it thaw on the counter. Make a lot early in the week and take it out a few hours before people arrive.
And five things I learned while making the pizzas during the party.
- Give a few guidelines and suggestions for pizza topping combinations before beginning.
- You can never have enough sauce. And on that note, not enough people know that pesto makes a great pizza sauce.
- These pizzas are thin and the dough is good, don’t overload the pizza with toppings.
- Not everyone can eat at the same time, keep snacks and drinks available for people to munch on between servings.
- Use a timer, it’s easy to get distracted socializing and lose track of the time and burn the pizza (fortunately, this didn’t happen).
Now you try it!