Once you go down the rabbit hole, its almost too easy not to DIY. Once we were arriving home after being out all day, it was near dinner time and Mrs W commented that we should order a pizza. I told her that I could have a pizza on the table in the hour it would take the shop to get one to us...... and I did! Since that day, my DIY pizza recipe has been a "go-to" pizza fix for the welshstacker family.
Yesterday for lunch I baked 3 pizzas, and I never worry if the pizzas will turn out OK. I make pizza at home so often that I've absorbed many lessons along the way. I figured it was time to share another list of tips and tricks.
First off, let's get the basic dough recipe out the way:
- 500g '00' flour or plain flour, plus extra for dusting
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp dried yeast (not fast-action)
- 400ml warm water
- oil, for greasing
After 45mins, the dough has more than quadrupled 6in volume
So now youve prepared your dough, it's risen, and now good to go. Here are my 5 top tips to always make the perfect pizza-
1/2pint learning my secrets
This is no time to turn into the Little Red Hen and plant the wheat. Folks just wanna eat, you know. Making the dough early means that the flour is fully blended with the other ingredients, molecules are enrobed, and all the gluten has had time to develop and relax. The side benefit of making dough a day or 3 early is that you get several short kitchen sprints instead of one marathon session.
A hot oven is magic with pizza dough. A temperature of 220*c is hot enough, but give it a good 30 minutes at that temperature. I put a baking tray in there to warm up to, and transfer the pizza on to it to cook once the oven is up to temp.
Use a sheet of parchment paper on which you stretch out your dough and top it all nice and pretty. Using parchment will help you transfer your pizza into the hot oven. This one little trick is worth the price of a box of parchment paper to me. I can make my pizza look amazing and then watch it slide off the peel and onto the hot stone while staying intact. Yes, the pizza joint pros make it look easy to transfer a topped crust into the oven. I have failed at this crucial step more times than I shudder to recall. Parchment paper has saved 1/2pints ears from my cursing in frustration many a time because of this handy tip.
You never know until you try it! Of course you can always make an old standby--classic flavor combinations are classic because the flavors play well together. Keeping a pack of sliced ham in the fridge means I'm always up for a good ham, mushroom and cheese pizza when the mood strikes.
LESS = MORE - When it comes to pizza toppings, don't go "over the top"... A good sprinkle of cheese, topped by a few well placed toppings will work best.
If you've got a large rimless cookie sheet/baking tray, it will do exactly the same thing, especially if you're following Tip#3 and using parchment paper. Now, if you love making pizza and your happy pizza eaters want to get you a gift, ask for a pizza peel! They are useful to have around, just not necessary. The same can be said about a pizza stone for the oven. Yes, the pizza stone will give your base a more even cook, but a pre-heated baking tray does the job I need it to.