How to Make a Perfect Pizza – Tips and Step by Step Instructions From a Professional Chef
Making the Perfect Pizza.
After 22 years as a chef I’ve come to learn the hard way about making pizza.
I’ve seen it done the right way, the wrong way and every way in between.
Two things that I’ve learned is that you don’t have to be Italian, and there is no right way.
There are a lot of wrong ways though.
Here are some tips and tricks to perfect your pizza.
Use a pizza stone, bricks, a pizza oven or a terracotta slab to bake your pizza on. Pizza trays, non stick trays and ‘regular’ oven stuff just don’t cut it.
Sliding your pizza onto preheated brick, terracotta or stone at around 240 degrees C or 470 degrees F will give you a great texture and crispy base
Make the base thin. The dough should be properly risen and pliable, able to be rolled or stretched quite thinly. Pizza should have a thin crispy base – not a thick slab of bread. Learn to make a proper pizza, and then play around with it after, once you have a reference standard.
Don’t put too much sauce, cheese or topping. It may seem generous and luxurious, but it’s not. You’ll lose the texture and your pizza base will become soggy and it will slump under the weight of all the wet sloppy toppings. Not good! This is the golden rule
Make your own dough. No matter how good or convenient the boboli bases and frozen pizza doughs are, they will never be able to compete with a freshly rolled raw pizza dough cooked from scratch. Making your own dough is simple. Maybe even easier than making the trip to the supermarket.
NEVER pre bake a pizza base without toppings. It will be dry, too crisp, and unappealing. Roll out the dough, top with sauce, cheese, toppings in that order. THEN bake it from raw. Follow the steps in the section below.
Make or buy a great tasting sauce. Pizza is so simple – so success is all about the quality of the ingredients – being subtle and sparing, and allowing the ingredients to work together. A tasty tomato sauce, quality shredded mozzarella and not too may toppings. That’s it. Then get the temperature right, and slide your pizza onto a baking stone and voila, perfection every time.
How to Make a Pizza
Make the dough and let it prove (rise) at room temperature until it doubles in size.
Make the tomato pizza sauce, or use a very tasty bought one.
Preheat the oven to between 220 and 240 degrees C (425 and 470 degrees F).
Cut your ingredients. Slice them thinly.
Roll out the pizza dough thinly on a floured bench. 1/2cm or 1/5 of an inch is ample thickness.A little semolina or fine polenta under helps to crisp it. Optional.
Make sure there is a dusting of flour under your pizza so it doesn’t stick. If you don’t have a pizza peel to slide under and lift it with, then roll it onto baking paper.
Smear the tomato sauce over the pizza thinly. Not too much sauce, but cover the base leaving 1cm or 1/2 inch around the outside rim without sauce. The quantity of pizza sauce should be just under half the weight of the dough, We use 80-90g tomato sauce for a 220g dough.
Cover with a very light sprinkling of shredded mozzarella cheese. For 220g of pizza dough, use just 70-80g of cheese.(about 1/3 the weight of the dough)
Sprinkle the toppings sparingly over the pizza. Less toppings in the middle so it doesn’t sag when you slice and lift it.
The toppings should be around half the volume of the dough base. Pre-cook any ingredients that will lose water and become moist and wet the pizza.
Slide pizza onto the hot pizza stone, or directly onto the floor of the hot oven.
Cook about 7 minutes.The sides of the pizza should start to brown. The base of the pizza should be browned and crisp. The top of the pizza should be bubbling and delicious.
Remove from oven, then slice and eat or serve.
Here Are Three Pizza Dough Recipes.
We use the sourdough one, the other two are for your convenience if you are not comfortable making sourdough. All three taste great and work every time.
Enjoy your new and improved pizzas.
Wheat and Rye Sourdough Pizza Base
Flour, bread (high protein) 1000g
Rye flour – dark 200g
Sourdough (daily batch) 200g
Yeast, instant, dry, powdered 2g
Mix with a dough hook in mixing machine. Six minutes slow and 1 minute medium speed
then rest 10 minutes
and then run 3 minutes more
and then rest 10 minutes and then run 3 min.
Scale 210-240g each. Cover with cling wrap or a damp cloth and prove (let it rise).
Pizza Base Recipe 2
Flour, bread (high protein) 1500 gram
Semolina flour 150 gram
Olive oil 75 gram
Salt 20 gram
Water 900 gram
Yeast, dry, 2 gram (or 10g of fresh)
Mix all, knead for 10 minutes until stretchy.
Portion into 220g balls and prove in a warm place without direct heat.
Pizza Base Recipe 3
Yeast, instant, dry, powdered 7g (35g fresh yeast) 21g / 105g
Water 190g 570g
Honey 20g 60
Flour, bread (high protein) 375g 1125
Salt 5g 15
Olive oil 100g 300.