Anyone who has ever tried to make a pizza which fell short of their epicurean expectations may be hesitant to try again, but doing so is well worth the effort.
Not to mention that once you’ve mastered the craft of pizza-making, you’ll be ready to churn out pie after pie of ooey, gooey deliciousness. Let’s count down five tasty tips for premiere pizza-making.
1. Measure Well
While there’s room for experimentation in cooking, baking is a different story. If you’re making pizza from scratch, measuring the ingredients carefully is a critical part of the process.
The best pizza recipes call for flour to be measured by volume, not weight. Why? Because flour is compressible, which can lead to significant differences in volume measurements depending on whether it’s been sifted or spooned into the mix.
The simplest way to avoid this issue? Use a scale to ensure that you’ve added the exact right amount.
Not all flour is created equally. Depending on which type you use, your final product will turn out very differently in terms of everything from flavor to texture.
While all-purpose flour is fine in a pinch, many experts swear by high protein bread flour for consummate crust results.
One last dough-making tip to keep in mind? While making your own is an accomplishment, there’s no shame in purchasing ready-made dough. Some pizzerias will even sell you a ball of dough for a few dollars!
2. Let It Chill
Fermentation is the process through which yeast digests carbohydrates and transforms them into alcohol and carbon dioxide. Cold fermentation slows down the process allowing for the development of richer more distinctive flavors along with a lighter, airier structure.
Additionally, storing your dough in the fridge in a zipper-lock back for a few days also helps it brown better. When you’re ready to bake your pie, remove it from the fridge and let it proof at room temperature before stretching and popping it in the oven.
3. Explore Shaping Strategies
As if making the dough isn’t hard enough, stretching it into its signature perfect circle adds to the challenges of pizza-making.
We’ve all seen the professionals at work, but you don’t need to be an accomplished dough tosser or spinner to stretch your pizza into shape.
While rolling out dough may be unconventional, it also works extremely well.
Still can’t force your dough into a precise circle? Keep in mind that it will taste just as good regardless of its shape. Not to mention: “free-form” pies are trending these days.
4. Crank Up Your Oven
There’s one main reason why you may be unable to replicate the amazing flavor of pizza parlor pizza in the comfort of your own home: Their ovens are hotter than yours with temperatures in excess of 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
More heat leads the rapid expansion of the dough and ultimately the cultivation of the sublime combination of crispy crust and light, pillowy interior.
In order to get closest to optimal outcomes, crank your oven as high as it will go — likely in the 550 degree Fahrenheit range. (If you’re worried about safe-handling in such extreme heat, enlist the aid of a pizza peel.)
You can also pre-bake the dough in a cast-iron or nonstick pan to ensure a crunchy, chewy crust.
5. Think Quality over Quantity
As Mario Batali told Bon Appetit, “Don’t overdress it.” Rather than loading up your pie with tons of topping, use just a handful of fresh, flavorful ingredients, such as in-season tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and straight-from-the garden basil.
After all, after spending all that time on your handmade dough, why would you bury it under a pile of less-than-extraordinary mush?
So how much is too much? World Champion pizza chef Bruno Di Fabio recommends using a maximum of three ingredients when making pizza.
This not only ensures that they flavors will complement each other, but also lets the taste of the dough and sauce be fully experienced.
According to a recent survey by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), pizza is America’s most favorite food.
In fact, a whopping 13 percent of Americans eat one or more savory slices on any given day. Now that you’re armed with these five tips from successful pizza makers, isn’t it time you produced some pizza perfection of your own?