It's difficult to make pizzeria-style pizzas at home, simply because most of us do not have a wood-fired oven that can reach temperatures of 900 degrees F! But we can make a very good pizza with the equipment we have. Here's how to make the best pizza ever. Try these recipes when you have finished reading. Or try these winners for easy cheesy pizza.
Make the Best Pizza
- Make sure the oven is hot. The oven should be at least 425 degrees F. The crust has to bake and brown very quickly. A slow oven will not force the moisture out of the crust, and the toppings will make the crust soggy.
- Use a pizza stone if you like. The stone will hold extra heat for a fiery hot surface that will start cooking and crisping the crust the second it touches the stone. But if the oven is hot enough and you use a thin metal pan, the crust should be nice and crusty.
- When rolling out the crust, dust the pizza pan or work surface with cornmeal for a crisp finish. Flour just doesn't make the crust as crisp. And the cornmeal adds a slightly nutty sweet flavor.
- Be judicious with toppings. Many thin crusts simply cannot hold a lot of toppings. For an average 12" pizza, about 1/2 cup of sauce is plenty. One cup of vegetables and meats, and 1 to 1-1/2 cups of cheese will make a good thin crust pizza.
- Deep dish pizzas are different. They must bake at a slightly lower temperature for a longer period of time so the pizza bakes evenly throughout. The pizza crust is not prebaked when making a deep dish pizza.
- A homemade crust is better than refrigerated pizza doughs. Those doughs are usually softer and wetter and almost never bake up crisp. You can sometimes find pizza dough for sale at your local pizzeria; ask the next time you stop in.
- When making your own dough, bread flour produces a superior crust. And be sure to knead (or beat, if the recipe is for a wet dough) the dough for a full 8-10 minutes.
- Many doughs are better if you refrigerate them overnight before baking. This is also an excellent way to spread out the work so you aren't slaving in the kitchen for hours.
- You can buy Boboli pizza crusts that are more like focaccia. They are thicker and already prebaked. Just add toppings and bake.
- Finally, have fun with your toppings. Experiment and listen to your taste buds. And be sure to write down the ingredients you used and the instructions you followed for your successes.