CHICAGO (WLS) -- It seems like a lot of people are baking their own bread and spending more time in the kitchen these days, but sometimes you just want to order a pizza. If you prefer something fresh out of the oven, rather than a pie that's been steamed in a box for 15 minutes, you should consider a take-home pizza kit. Several places now offer pizzas you can do yourself at home.
Confession: I'm not a fan of delivery or carryout pizza, because I think the quality just suffers too much on the ride to your house while it sits in the box. But DIY pizza kits let you control when you're baking, and in some cases, allow you to make a truly remarkable pizza in your own oven.
Last year when we visited Bungalow by Middle Brow, we saw them brewing quirky beers in their Logan Square space, but also baking some of the best artisan bread in town, along with long-fermented pizza dough. But these days, Head Baker Jess Galli spends her days prepping and baking dough for contactless pickup. In addition to her memorable loaves, guests can now buy do-it-yourself pizza kits, which come in a few options.
"Started from the dough, and first tested the dough out at lower temperatures and it cooked a delicious pizza," said owner Pete Ternes.
That high-moisture dough, fermented from a natural starter means additional flavor and texture once baked. Picking it up at this point is a huge head start.
"It's gone through all of its fermentation phases, we put it into a deli container and that goes home with people and you typically want them to make it within one to three days depending on the age of the dough when they get it," he said.
There are clear instructions, even demos on their website and Instagram pages, and everything is pre-measured.
As I'm working this dough, what I want to do is just sort of gently work my fingers, I don't want to knock all of the air out of it because this has been fermenting for a couple of days.
Now we've got our semolina flour, to keep it lubricated. This is the cardboard that came with the pizza kit, and that will keep it stretched and lubricated and I'll add my sauce that came with the kit and we're gonna spread this out, very evenly. And they gave me just enough fresh mozzarella which they recommend in the kit to break up into about eight pieces. Then we're gonna add our pepperoni.
Now you could do it on a pizza stone, which I have, or you could do it on cast iron skillet or an upside-down cookie sheet/baking sheet.
"And you can let those get hot in the oven, much like you would a stone," said Ternes.
I'm going to launch this onto my pizza stone. It's pre-heated for at least 30 minutes at 500 degrees.
The way to finish is with a little bit of parmesan and fresh herbs. And this pizza is ready to go. Smells fantastic, crust looks great.
Ternes said they'll always have pepperoni and sausage, but he'll also offer one seasonal pizza based on whatever they buy from local farms.
"Every week or two we'll do our best to find some new farm fresh ingredient to make a pizza from," he said.
Other good local options: Stella Barra in Lincoln Park, Gino's East and the fast-casual Blaze Pizza, which has ten locations in the area.
Bungalow by Middle Brow
2840 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago
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