Tips for Making Pizza

January 29, 2024

If making pizza from scratch is a new experience, here are some tips to make it excellent:

1) Use either active dry yeast or fresh yeast. Active dry yeast is easier to use, but check the expiration date. Fresh yeast is perishable but can be refrigerated for up to two months or stored in the freezer for up to a year if well-wrapped.

2) Not sure the yeast is active? Drop a 1/4 teaspoon of sugar into the water yeast mixture and wait about 10 minutes; if the mixture bubbles and gets foamy, it is good to use.

3) Use the right flour. Bread flour or an Italian 00 flour like Caputo is best. These flours have higher protein levels and gluten structure.

4) Don’t use too much flour. Use a scale to measure flour or lightly spoon flour into a measuring cup. Using too much flour will yield a heavy dough.

5) Add salt to the dough with the last addition of flour so as not to slow down the yeast action.

6) Let the dough rise covered once in a warm but not hot place. Once risen, punch it down and transfer it to a sealed plastic bag or container and refrigerate it overnight or for several days. This will slow down the fermentation and give a wonderful deep flavor to the dough. When ready to make the pizza, remove the dough from the plastic bag or container and place it in a lightly oiled bowl; cover and allow it to come to room temperature and let it rise covered until doubled in size.

7) Use lightly oiled parchment paper to stretch the dough on.

8) For an airy texture, do not flatten the dough with a rolling pin but lightly stretch it out with your hands. As it sits, the dough will relax and you will be able to stretch it easily.

9) Don’t go overboard with toppings. Less is more so that there is a balance between dough and topping.

10 If possible, bake the pizza on parchment paper on a preheated pizza stone or on a perforated pizza pan to allow circulation on the bottom and prevent sogginess.

11) When cooked, the pizza should have a slightly burnt edge called the cornicione.

12) Use a pizza scissors instead of a pizza wheel to cut the pizza.

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