For decades, pizza has topped the charts as one of the most loved foods across America. Cheese pizza, pepperoni pizza, Hawaiian pizza—no matter the toppings, pizzas are loved by nearly everyone. However, pizza is usually ordered at restaurants and often not thought of as an "easy" meal to make at home.
Over the years, we've gathered a bunch of tips and tricks for making the best pizza ever. From how to make homemade pizza to the correct way to measure ingredients, you'll find out everything you need to know on how to make the best pizza ever!
Stick to a Homemade Pizza Crust
Learning how to make the best homemade pizza starts with the perfect pizza dough. Homemade pizza doughs provide a wonderful texture and create a crispy golden crust that store-bought pizza doughs just can’t compete with. When making your own pizza dough, it's important that you choose a flour that accommodates your dietary needs.
First, ask yourself what kind of crust you want—thin, thick, stuffed, gluten free or paleo? Narrowing down the type of crust you plan on making will help you choose the correct flour.
Here are a few of our favorite flours to help you make the best dough for your pizza:
A baker's favorite flour! Made with premium high-protein flour milled from America's highest quality wheat, our Artisan Unbleached Bread Flour is perfect for making a tasty pie.
Use our Gluten Free Pizza Crust Mix to make a crispy and chewy pizza crust! With our premade mix, we make it easy for you to make the perfect gluten free pizza dough from scratch. This mix is designed for individuals sensitive to wheat or gluten and can bake up to two 12-inch gluten free pizza crusts!
Refrigerate Your Dough Before Baking
This step is crucial when creating a flavorful, delicious pizza crust. Lowering the temperature of the dough slows down the fermentation process. This process is what enables the dough to produce the tasty pizza crust flavor we know and love. Slowing this process down will allow the flavor of your dough to fully develop. During this process, the yeast in the dough works to break down the starches of the flour. This allows the mixture to create the gas and air pockets needed to produce a light, chewy crust.
Most homemade pizza recipes need an hour for the fermentation process, however, traditional pizza dough is often left to ferment for a few days. To produce the perfect pizza crust, we recommend letting it ferment in the fridge for at least 24 hours. Refrigerating your dough the day before breaking is also an excellent way to spread out the pizza-making process, so you don't spend hours in the kitchen at one time.
Don't Stretch the Dough When It's Cold
While fermenting your dough in the fridge is a good idea, stretching it immediately after is not. When you place pizza dough in the fridge, the cold temperatures make the gluten in the flour shrink, causing your dough to tighten. Firm dough is extremely hard to stretch and usually springs back to shape. When placed in the oven, cold dough can also rise too much, producing a very large crust, even when using a thin crust recipe.
To avoid running into problems with cold dough, remove it from the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for at least an hour before stretching and baking.
Don't Over Knead
When trying to learn how to make the best dough for pizza, knowing how long to knead your pizza dough can be confusing. While you want your ingredients to be mixed thoroughly, it's important that you don't over knead your dough. Over kneading your pizza dough will cause your crust to lose its light and airy texture. Over kneading can make your thin pizza crust look like bread after baking. You can tell if your dough is over kneaded as it will be very hard to stretch. Instead of kneading your dough for the full 8 minutes that most recipes call for, try to knead it for 3-5 minutes instead!
Stretch Your Dough by Hand
Stretching your dough by hand gives you more control over your crusts' shape, thickness and texture. Using a rolling pin is not recommended when learning how to make the best pizza dough as it creates a super-thin, cracker-like crust. This is because when the pizza dough is rolled out, it pushes all of the air from the dough and leaves you with a dense crust. Not only are extremely thin pizza crusts hard to handle, but they also have trouble handling a variety of toppings. While you may not achieve a perfectly round shape by hand stretching your dough, you will create a crust with a better texture!
Invest in a Pizza Stone
Ever wondered why pizza from authentic Italian restaurants tastes so great? The answer is heat. When cooking a pizza, most restaurants use heat upwards of 800°F. While home ovens are not designed to get this hot, there are a few tips and tricks that can turn your oven into the perfect pizza making machine, and a pizza stone is one of them.
A pizza stone or baking stone is a cooking surface that absorbs moisture and creates additional heat. By simulating the effects of a traditional pizza oven, a pizza stone turns into an extremely hot surface to cook pizza on. The pizza stone's moisture-absorbing abilities create a more crispy crust, whereas a baking sheet or parchment paper will leave you with a doughy, often undercooked crust.
Whether you're using a pizza stone or not, an important step in knowing how to make the best pizza dough is to preheat your oven. Preheating your oven long enough (for about an hour or so) will make sure that your stone or baking sheet reaches top temperatures. These high temperatures will assure that your dough turns out tasty and crispy, instead of undercooked and doughy.
Choose Scales Over Volume
Think of baking as a science. You wouldn't just add a dash of this and a pinch of that when recreating a scientific formula, would you? We hope not! Baking is the same. Following a recipe requires accuracy when measuring ingredients, especially when it comes to making the best pizza ever.
Most of the best pizza doughs are made up of four main ingredients: flour, yeast, water and salt. While measuring flour in cups and tablespoons may be the quickest way to do it, it is not the most accurate. This is because flour is easily compressible, meaning that the difference in how you pour or pack it into the cup can cause your recipe to be off by several ounces.
Instead, we recommend using a scale to measure all ingredients (yeast and salt too!). This will help to ensure that you're adding the exact amount needed for each of your ingredients.
Don't Remove Your Pizza Too Early
A rookie mistake. Most novice pizza makers worry if their pizza has been in the oven too long. While nobody wants overcooked, burnt pizza, doughy, undercooked pizza isn't very tasty either. When you think your pizza is done baking, leave it in just a few minutes longer. These extra few minutes will help bump up the flavor, allow the crust to get golden brown and toast the cheese to gooey perfection.
The Right Sauce Matters
Want to know how to make the best homemade pizza? Choose your sauce wisely. Adding an overly wet sauce to your pizza will cause your crust and toppings to become soggy when cooked. The oven won't have enough time to dry out the toppings, and as a result, you'll be left with a mushy pizza.
When choosing a sauce, make sure it's not too watery. This will help keep your pizza from getting soggy and add to its delicious flavor!
Another trick is to not go overboard with toppings. Adding too many toppings to your pizza crust will make it hard to transfer to the oven, and can also leave you with a mushy final product. When deciding on pizza topping combos, remember less is more. Choosing fresh and quality ingredients will add a boost of flavor you're searching for and compliment the texture of the pizza as a whole.
Add Finishing Toppings
If you stuck to the less is more method and still want to add a kick of flavor to make it the best pizza ever, then add a finishing topping or two! Dried spices, olive oil and grated parmesan cheese are just a few tasty ingredients you can add to your masterpiece. You can also keep these toppings on the side and add them once the pizza has been cut, allowing everyone to create their perfect slice of pizza!
Now that you’ve learned everything you need to know about creating the perfect pizza, it’s time to get cooking! For more pizza-cooking tips and recipes, visit Bob’s Red Mill today.