Since the beginning of the year because of the pandemic and lockdown, people around the world have been staying inside their homes far more than usual and thus trying to find new activities and ideas to put their mind into, one of the things that have come out on top is learning how to cook.
When it comes to food, people tend to look for comfort and in my opinion, the most comforting food out there is pizza. If you want to know how to make domino’s pizza, check out our content on how to make dominos pizza.
Since pizza is the go-to food for many and because of the unavailability of it because of the lockdown a step by step guide on how to make pizza at home has become a very popular search around the world. Sadly, it’s not always likely that you will find exactly what you’re looking for. I, myself was one of those disappointed searchers as well.
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Pizza making is not an easy task. So much so that you need clear and perfect instructions on how to make a pizza that everyone would enjoy.
There are many reasons why people find it intimidating, some of them being there is a possibility of messing up the measurements, how to make the perfect pizza dough, what toppings go with the pizza you’re making, how long to put the pizza in the oven for and so much more.
The reason why I have decided to write a step by step guide for pizza making is precisely to answer these questions on how to make pizza and more.
Things to avoid while making pizza:
If this is the first time you’re making pizza at home then it’s possible that you will get a bit too excited and mess up here and there but don’t worry I have listed down a few things that you should avoid while you make your pizza.
1.Dont make it over the top cheesy:
I get it, you love cheese. Believe me, I do too. But remember to not overdo it. You might be wondering why? Well, The main reason you shouldn’t put too much cheese on top of the pizza is that mozzarella has quite a lot of moisture in it so when you add too much of it on your pizza it will make the pizza soggy and unappetising.
2.Be very cautious about dough stretching:
This one is for all you thin crust lovers. Do not overstretch your dough while trying to make those crispy thin crusts. The only thing you’ll end up doing is creating holes in your pizza and it will also make the toppings fall off quite easily.
3.Dont go Overboard with toppings:
Another very important thing to remember is to keep the toppings precise. It is very tempting to make a pizza which has all your favourite toppings but trust me you don’t need to throw everything you have in the fridge on top of your pizza. It would just result in a big mess which will also probably end up tasting very bad.
4. Don’t use a rolling pin on your dough:
Here’s another absolutely important thing to avoid related to your pizza dough, using a rolling pin. A lot of people don’t know this, I also made this mistake in the start. What happens when you roll your dough is that it loses all the air pockets out of it which takes away all the soft and fluffy texture from your pizza.
If you watch any videos related to pizza making then you’d notice that the professionals either use their hands to thin out the dough or toss it. They don’t do that for the theatrics. It’s to keep the pizza dough from becoming hard.
5. Don’t open the oven while the pizza is cooking:
Ok, so this is one of the things I’m really guilty of and I’m sure others are too. I totally understand the temptation to take a peek into what’s going on inside the oven while your pizza cooks. But fight that temptation. When you open the oven, what happens is that heat is lost from the oven and the colder air from the surroundings enter the oven which if you remember grade 10 physics is the second law of Thermodynamics.
So, remember when you used to ask your teacher “where am I gonna use all this useless information” well, here’s one good example where. So be smart, set a timer, and let your pizza bake without checking in all the time.
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Tips and tricks for making the perfect pizza at home:
So, now you know a few things you should avoid in your pizza-making process but what about the things that you should do to make an out-of-the-park pizza. There are a number of things which I personally do and always recommend them which are as under.
1. Pick new and exciting pizza sauces:
This might seem like a pretty controversial thing to do. We are all very familiar with a simple marinara sauce so going to a new sauce might seem daunting especially if you’re new to pizza making but trust me You won’t regret it. There are so many amazing sauces available that sticking with the same old red sauce doesn’t have to be the only way you make your pizza.
2.Make your pizza extra delicious by brushing it with olive oil and garlic.
One really cool way you can make your pizza extra tasty is by brushing it with a mixture of olive oil and minced garlic. Do this before adding any of the toppings.
This gives a unique and exciting flavour to your pizza.
BONUS: using extra Virgin olive oil will give your pizza an authentic Italian flavour.
3. Keep in mind to precook the toppings.
This is a mistake I’ve seen many beginners make so it’s really important to point out here as well. When you have stuff like meat on your pizza, be sure to cook it beforehand. The cooking of the meat should be done in a way that it is still slightly undercooked when you put it on top of your pizza so that when you’re baking the pizza, the toppings won’t overcook and give a rubbery texture.
However, pepperoni and prosciutto are exceptions and you can put them on your pizza without the need to precook them.
4.Prebake the dough to make it super crispy
If you are one of those who has tried to make a thin crust at home and have failed then try this trick. All you have to do is make your dough, put it on the dish you’re gonna make your pizza on, and slide it onto the preheated oven for around 8 minutes.
Be sure to cool down the dough before you put toppings on it when you take it out.
5.Place a stone below the Pizza dough
Now, this rule is something you don’t have to follow but if you’re really serious about making a good pizza at home then try to invest in a pizza stone. The reason why is because a normal pizzeria has its oven up to 800°F while a normal oven in your house will provide heat up to 500°F. A pizza stone will help in reducing the 300°F difference between a commercial oven and home oven and thus will help in making your pizza crispy and fluffy.
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Step by step instructions on how to make pizza dough:
The dough is probably the one part people are most likely to mess up. I have already listed a few tips and things to avoid while making the perfect dough but there is more stuff you should keep in mind as well.
Before knowing how to make pizza base, let’s look at all the ingredients you will need to make the perfect dough:
After numerous attempts at pizza making, I have realised that 1 and ⅓ cup of water is just enough to make the perfect dough. Make sure the water is lukewarm and not more than 130°F because then it would kill the active yeast.
Yeast is essential in the sense that it is used to puff up the pizza. Use 1 packet of dry active yeast which is about 2 and ¼ tablespoons.
Flour is probably the most essential element of a pizza. If you can get your hands on the best flour and understand the best combinations of flour to use then it would drastically increase the quality of the pizza you make.
The most authentic Italian flour is “00” or more precisely “doppio zero”. This is somewhat of a strong flour which is why many chefs around the world prefer mixing it with other flours to balance it out. For example, world-renowned chef Jamie Oliver prefers to make his dough by mixing strong flour and semolina flour. (1)
BONUS: If you’re having trouble finding 00 flour or think it’s too expensive then you can use all-purpose flour as a good alternative. Bear in mind that it won’t give the exact Italian flavour but it still is a good substitute.
A few tablespoons of extra Virgin olive oil is enough to give a nice texture and flavour to the dough. Also, make sure to remember to brush the dough with oil to give it a nice taste.
The main purpose of adding sugar is to increase the yeast activity so 1 tablespoon would be more than enough.
Add salt to taste.
PIZZA DOUGH PREPARATION:
- The first step is to add the dry active yeast in a bowl with the lukewarm water and 1 tablespoon of sugar.
- Let it sit for about 5 minutes or until you can see a good amount of froth forming in the bowl.
- The second step is to take the frothy water mixture and mix it with the flour you have chosen to go with.
- Add salt to your likings.
- Next step is to add 1 tablespoon of extra Virgin olive oil.
- Knead the dough gently and carefully.
- Put the dough aside to let it rest for about 30 minutes.
- When you come back to it, the dough would’ve risen to twice of its original size because of the yeast.
- Next step is to take out the dough from the bowl and poke a few holes in it to let out the air pockets created.
- Cut the dough in half.
- Now it’s time to stretch the dough. Remember, do not roll it. Use your hands to gently stretch it out and try tossing it.
There you have it your dough is made and ready to be topped with whatever you want.
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Pizza sauce Preparation:
It is time to make the perfect sauce for your pizza. Many people use pre-made sauces which is fine if you don’t want to put in the extra work but with that said your pizza sauce will not be as good as a restaurant pizza if you do so.
There are a lot of different pizza sauces you can make from marinara sauce to white garlic to pesto, try them out.
Here, I’m going to list down my top three pizza sauce recipes.
Super Easy Pizza Sauce:
I am calling this a super easy pizza mainly because you won’t have to do a lot of work to make it and still end up with a delicious sauce that would pair well with almost any toppings.
Ingredients and Step by Step instructions on how to make Pizza Sauce:
For this sauce, you need:
- 1 can of tomato sauce (15 ounces). The best tomatoes to use for pizzas, in my opinion, is bright red tomatoes.
- 1 can of tomato paste (6 ounces).
- 1 tablespoon of dried oregano.
- 1 and ½ teaspoons of finely minced garlic.
- 1 teaspoon of ground paprika.
Combine both the tomato sauce and the tomato paste in a bowl until it is nice and well blended. Add dried oregano, garlic, and ground paprika and mix well.
Super Light and Fresh Pizza Sauce:
If you’re aiming to make the perfect Italian pizza then this sauce is the one you should make. It is a perfect pair for all the ingredients you would find on an authentic Italian pizza.
- 1 cup tomato passata. Tomato passata is another very well used sauce in Italy and gives the pizza a nice and fresh flavour.
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste.
- 1 tablespoon salt.
- 2 tablespoon sugar.
- 1 tablespoon extra Virgin olive oil.
Combine all these ingredients together and mix them properly.
Fancy Pizza Sauce:
If you’re making pizza to impress then you should definitely try this one. It requires the most work but honestly is one of the best sauces I have ever tried.
- Fresh oregano to taste.
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano.
- 1 tablespoon finely minced garlic.
- 2 tablespoons Olive oil.
- 2 anchovy fillets.
- Red chilli flakes to taste.
- San Marzano tomato
- Salt to taste
- 1 tablespoon sugar.
- Black Pepper to taste.
- Baking soda.
Take the fresh oregano and chop them finely. In a pan, pour in the half cup Olive oil and 2 anchovy fillets and add the chopped fresh oregano. Cook on medium heat for about a few minutes. In the same pan add the minced garlic and turn the heating to as low as possible because you don’t want to burn the garlic. Add dried oregano and red chilli flakes depending on your likings towards chilli.
In a different bowl pour in your San Marzano tomatoes and crush them until they take the form of a puree.
Take this puree and add it into the pan and turn the heat to medium. Add salt and 1 tablespoon of sugar and a little black pepper and mix everything properly. In the end sprinkle a little bit of the baking powder. One last note to remember about making your pizza sauce is many people debate over how long you are supposed to cook the sauce.
Some people argue you shouldn’t cook it at all while others think that you should cook your sauce for hours and honestly I was very confused about this so I decided to be the middle-man and therefore I cook my sauce for about 40-50 minutes.
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Toppings selection for pizza:
Lastly, let’s discuss what your ideal toppings should be. My most favourite way to make a pizza is to keep it simple. I use some good mozzarella cheese, pizza sauce and herbs and that’s it. But you can make the toppings as you like. Just be careful to not overdo it.
So, now you’ve made your dough, your pizza sauce is ready, and you have decided on the toppings meaning it is time time to combine and cook.
Take the pizza that you had spread out on either a stone or a tray. Pre-bake it for extra crunch. Take it out of the oven and let it cool down and then brush it with a little bit of olive oil. Pour your favourite pizza sauce on top of the dough and finally add your desired toppings.
Very lightly season your pizza with extra Virgin olive oil and herbs. Put it in the oven which should be at least 500°F. Cook your pizza for about 10 minutes. And that’s all the steps you need to follow to make the most perfect Pizza.
And lastly, enjoy!
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