How did you guys formulate your recipes?


I would love to open my own Pizza delivery/walk business but realize that I need to practice recipes first. I’ve been into pizza my whole life and feel that I know what (I think) best pizza should be. I would like to cook a very cheesy, greasy style pizza with peperoni at the bottom. The really large slices of peperoni. I dont know if you guys do that in the US. I live in Canada around the Toronto area. But my hometown Ottawa has some really good pizza.

The typical pizza place in Ottawa is Lebanese immigrant owned, and mostly hole in the walls with used equipment and fridges squeking… that sort of thing. No seating at all. Very small places that do mostly delivery and some pick up. Many times 1 person making the pizza, another doing delivery. I realize that in the US you guys spend a lot on start up costs and have real eat in restaraunts so might find a shoe box setup weird but that’s how it’s done all over here. It’s very common.

I would like to open up a place like this if I could with minimal staff and low cost setup. The pizza where I am currently living (Toronto area) sucks real bad. It’s imposible to get Pizza, poutine, and wedge fries. I’m sure I’m not the only one who wants good pizza and I’d like to bring those items to this area.

The problem is that I cannot really practice at home for 2 reasons:

-No access to wholesale cheeses and other food items.
-Home oven.

So basically I can’t really formulate any recipes. I could build a wood burning oven, but my restaraunt would not have that. At best a used gas oven is all I could afford if I was to open my hole in the wall.

I dont want to invest capital and get serious on this unless I get the type of pizza I want but I need to be able to practice the recipes and cheese types.

Does anyone have any recommendations of how I would go about trying to practice some recipes at home? I think I already have the sauce down but don’t know how I’ll go about the crust and cheese part. Also the meats seem like they might be a problem as I don’t have access to wholesale foods…

So I was curious how you guys formulated your recipes before you started?


I’d say go out and find a used commercial oven for pizza and install it at home. Maybe put it in the garage providing proper ventilation. Then you need a big commercial mixer to make the dough. And last you will need a refrigerator to store the dough in.

You could start building out the store and start experimenting as soon as the equipment is ready but then the clock is ticking. Hard to experiment under pressure of overhead. Many do it this way but you have to have the funds to carry yourself for a bit.

Its not like you can simply get a recipe and you are set, however. There are so many variables the affect a pizza that you just have to experience the process for a while to enable you to make a recipe your own.

I would think building out your practice kitchen at home with commercial equipment is the best way to go. Check out the recipes available on this site and start working with them.

“Great Advice” Let me add. . . You can buy cheese and other items you want at National Grocers or Costco, they are both open to the public and both have locations around Toronto. Besides ebay, you can check out Butcher Equipment in Brantford, Nella Equipment in Toronto for used restaurant equipment.

Good Luck

Just a note of caution, be aware that the commercial ovens, and mixers may/will most likely require additional utility service above and beyond what you probably have available at your home, and there will be additional cost to have these brought in. Better to know from the start, than to be surprised later.
Tom Lehmann/The Dough Doctor

I’d argue that one can’t formulate a recipe to ‘close’ while at home. I know when I get my XLT up and humming when we get our place opened up (soon I hope!) that I will have to tweak my dough a tad to get it where I want it. In the meantime, my KA mixer, a good stone, and my Loyld hearth bake discs coupled with the ability to purchase “commercial quality” products through my Restaurant Depot and SAMS memberships have let me develop a product I’m proud of, all in my little home kitchen and electric oven. It can be done, just dig in and give it a go. There are great recipes here and on the website to get you started, just put your own heart into them and have fun in the process. Good luck, it sounds like you have the passion anyway, that’s a start!

I did things kind of backwards to begin. I only have a 8’x13’ market stand one day a week. Buying new equipment would be the ideal way to go, but I didn’t have the money either to do start my business that I only operate one day a week. I started, too on They have a lot of information there. I used Tom Lehmann’s NY style dough recipe that is here on PMQ. It is a very good recipe if you want to make NY style dough. I didn’t start to make my dough until I had purchased all my used equipment and had it in place. Start looking and add up all the expenses you might for equipment and installation. I have been in the food business for many years before I started making pizza, so I knew about sanitation and other things needed to operate a food business. I think the most important things are the kind of pizza you want to make, what kind of oven you might want to purchase, what kind of mixer you need, refrigeration. Finding distributors here isn’t hard. Most will let you pick up supplies, cheese, meat or anything you might need if you have cash. Be prepared to spend more money than you think you need, so many things can go wrong.
Trying your recipe at home would be a good way to go at first, to see how many variables there are in making pizza dough. Heat, humidity and fermentation all play a great part in making your dough the way you want it. That way you haven’t spent all the money and don’t have a recipe. Try to make the best pizza you can. Look at other owners pizza shops and ask questions. My favorite pizza man taught me a lot.
I am only in the pizza business for 3 months and owe my success to PMQ and Look at all the boards and be prepared to read a lot and take notes.
Good luck to you if you decide to get into the pizza business.

Why not? We just discussed bringing in commercial equipment. I’d argue that you will be essentially starting from scratch once you get up and going on your commercial equipment. At least you will learn the “characteristics” you want to achieve from your current set up.

Tom brings up a good point but unless you are looking at an electric oven you should be fine. If by chance you are close to electrical capacity already just make sure do don’t have anything major on, like the AC or your home electric oven, while using the mixer.

Shoe string startup?

Your priorities are wrong. Don’t worry about the recipe. You can work that out in a couple of days when you have a location and equipment in place. Despite all the hoopla about pizza, it is far from rocket science. I know some guys will get after me for this post, but all this recipe stuff is way overblown.

Go find another place that is failing (not because of a poor location) and buy the equipment in place for half what you would pay for used stuff at a broker. Turn on the lights and the ovens and mess around with dough and sauce for a few days, hang your sign and get after it.

Yup you’re right.

In Canada you are smothered in laws and regulations. We have amongst the highest dairy prices in the world for a reason :slight_smile:

You aren’t allowed to have ovens in basements or garages in my city becuase of people renting out their garages and basements to other tenents… Also the gas hookup people are not allowed to a fixture outside the house. The wholeseller I checked with will not sell to home addresses.

I decided the best I can do is make the little black egg oven so I can match the heat somewhat.

My main concern is the cheese first and foremost. Again, raw milk is illegal over here so I’m going to try to get some on the black market and make some cheese. The idea is it needs to taste almost sour. It needs to be hard to swallow and gob in yourmouth

Hey, we are catching up down here.