Pizza is a beloved food that requires a few key ingredients to make the perfect dough.
Flour, water, yeast, and salt are the basics, but the type of flour you use can have a significant impact on the texture of your dough. All-purpose flour is suitable, but type 00 flour is recommended for a better hole structure and texture. These flours have a high protein content which makes for a chewy, crispy crust.
Kneading is also essential to ensure the dough has the right consistency. After combining all the ingredients into a ball, knead the dough with both hands for ten minutes until it’s firm and stretchy. Kneading develops the gluten in the dough and makes it elastic. Knead the dough for at least 10 minutes by hand or 5 minutes with a stand mixer. Test the dough by poking it with your fingertips to see if it will rise. If not, knead for another 2-3 minutes.
Cold-proving is another technique that helps improve the flavor and browning qualities of the dough. Store the dough in the refrigerator after forming it and make sure the bowl is greased.
Let the dough rise properly: Let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free area for at least an hour. The longer the rise, the better the flavor and texture of the dough.
To shape the pizza base, start with a rounded ball of pizza dough on a lightly floured surface. Use your fingertips to press the dough into a small, flat disc, and work from the center, pushing the dough outwards until you have a 12- or 16-inch pizza base. Neapolitan-style pizza bases are thin, so be careful not to tear the dough. Stretch the dough properly: Use your hands to stretch the dough into a thin, even circle. Make sure not to tear the dough, as this will cause it to deflate in the oven.
Cautions to Cooking the best pizza dough
Preheat your oven to the highest temperature possible, preferably 500°F or higher, for at least 30 minutes before baking your pizza.
Don’t worry if your pizza isn’t a perfect oval; homemade pizza is all about character, not uniformity. To achieve restaurant-quality pizza, set your pizza oven to 500 degrees Celsius using a portable wood or gas-fired oven.
Use a pizza stone or steel: For the best results, bake your pizza on a preheated pizza stone or steel. This will help create a crispy crust and evenly cook the pizza.
Don’t overload your pizza: Less is more when it comes to pizza toppings. Overloading your pizza with toppings can cause it to become soggy and difficult to eat. Keep it simple with just a few high-quality toppings.
With these tips, you’ll be impressed with how good your pizza-making skills become. Making great pizza at home is rewarding, and the results are definitely worth it. Soon, you’ll reach for your own pizza oven instead of ordering takeout.