Searching for a short guide and tips on making quality restaurant pizza at home? You’ve reached the right page. Pizza is, beyond doubt, one of the most universally admired foods across the US. Given the nearly infinite potential for diversity and variation that it offers, it’s hardly any wonder that pizza has been winning young and old hearts alike.
Indeed, in search of the best cooking tips and equipment out there, pizza enthusiasts across the world frequently have specialized websites such as pizzaovenradar.com, readily investing their time, money, and skills in their favorite dish. But how much arcane knowledge is there behind each flavorful, mouthwatering homemade restaurant pizza?
It turns out that the art of pizza-making is highly accessible! Here’s how to enjoy the irresistible combination of crust and toppings at home without breaking your back.
The Many Faces of Pizza
Even across Italy, the home of the delicious sauce-smeared, cheese-sprinkled pie, pizza significantly differs, depending on where exactly you order it. This is not to mention newer varieties that originated after the dish was first introduced to the American public.
Thin Crust Pizza
The two most renowned authentic pizza varieties, that is Roman pizza and Neapolitan pizza, belong to this category. The former refers to an extra thin variety that uses dough prepared with olive oil and cooked for a relatively long period, which brings about a crisp and crumbly texture.
This variety is often served by the slice, although whole-pie offers can be found as well. The latter is known for its fluffier, spongier dough with tasty-looking charred blisters on it that’s made with no oil and doesn’t need much time in the oven.
Finally, there’s a number of US thin crust varieties such as the famous New York-style pizza. This one boasts an exaggerated crust that’s crispy on the outside yet relatively chewy and foldable inside, making it a perfect street food solution.
Thick Crust Pizza
You might have heard that “real” Italian pizza has to be thin, but it turns out there is a notable exception to this rule. We are talking about the pies made in Sicily. These have a characteristic rectangular crust that’s often over an inch thick although somewhat crunchy on the outside.
An American invention originally popularized by Pizza Hut, pan pizza is much loved for its buttery, soft and chewy base. Chicago took the experiment to a whole new level by adding a few extra inches plus a ledge to hold even a more generous serving of toppings, treating the world to its deep-dish pizza.
One of the main factors behind the universal appeal of quality restaurant pizza is its immense flexibility when it comes to toppings. Few things cannot be placed on top of a pizza. Traditional, time-tested sets of ingredients do exist, roughly falling into another couple of opposites, pizza bianca (white pizza) and pizza rossa (red pizza) depending on whether tomato sauce is present. Meat, fish, or vegetables alone — it’s always up to you.
What Makes a Good Pizza
There are few rules that are absolutely essential unless you are going to compete for the title of the city’s best pizza maker. First of all, your oven must be producing as much heat as you can make it. 500°F, which is the maximum for most home ovens, turns out to be the bare minimum when it comes to making the perfect crust.
Next, use a pizza stone to enhance the heat. Finally, remember that while you can mix and match toppings as much as you want, the ingredients must all be high-quality and reasonably authentic. That is, decent Mozzarella is much preferable to any cheese of unclear origin.
Making Great Restaurant Pizza at Home: A No-Fail Recipe
Here’s a basic pizza dough recipe that never fails to produce a reasonably thin yet crispy crust in little time with just a handful of common pastry ingredients.
- 1 cup warm (not hot!) water
- 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey
- 2 teaspoons fast-acting yeast
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 cups all-purpose or bread (high-gluten) flour
- 1 teaspoon pinch of salt
Start by proofing the yeast. Stir it into the water and add the sugar, then set it for up to 15 minutes or until you see bubbles — a sign that the helpful little things are alive. Then add a pinch of salt, olive oil, and half the flour.
The best way to combine the ingredients is by using a stand mixer, but this is optional. At this stage, the trick is to gradually add the remaining flour until the dough is barely tacky but not really sticky. Knead the dough using the mixer’s dough hook or with your hands for no less than 5 minutes. Knead it as you mean it! Then cover it with plastic wrap and set it aside to rise for 90 to 120 minutes.
You can roll the raised dough flat with a rolling pin or just your hands and give it any shape you like. Let it rise for another 10 minutes, then place ready-made pizza sauce, add your favorite toppings, and bake it at at least 500°F for about 10 minutes or until it’s golden.
Best Topping Options
If you don’t care for actual pizza sauce, skip the stage and simply cover the dough with a mixture of butter and garlic. This works best with a cheese-only topping of half parmesan and half mozzarella.
Alternatively, combine a can of tomatoes, mashed, 1 tablespoon of oregano, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, and a pinch of salt. The sauce works great with pepperoni, grilled vegetables, and mushrooms. Cheese is a must in this case, too.
You can spare yourself a lot of time and effort if you follow this simple advice:
- Freeze part of the dough for later use just after kneading it.
- Use parchment paper to transfer the pizza onto the pizza stone.
- Always remember to heat the oven beforehand.
- Try using sliced meats, grated cheese, and ready-to-eat vegetables and mushrooms to top your pizza.
With these tips and the no-fail dough recipe above, you are 100% ready to make your own quality restaurant pizza at home.
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