The secret to a good pizza is a simple blend of four things: crust, sauce, cheese and toppings. It’s also a matter of technique and timing.
A pizza with too many toppings will end up too floppy and dry, while one with just a few ingredients will be chewy, crispy and perfectly cooked.
The Perfect Crust
One of the keys to a great pizza is the crust. It should be crispy and chewy at the same time, and it should have a nice texture that is in harmony with your toppings.
The best way to achieve a perfect crust is to mix the dough ingredients until they are just combined. This will prevent gluten from developing, and will create a super-buttery crust.
Another key to a good crust is a little olive oil. It adds flavor and helps prevent soggyness from the water in the dough.
A few pinches of salt in the dough will also help to strengthen the gluten (and result in a chewier crust). It will also slow down fermentation and make it easier for the dough to rise.
The Right Toppings
If you want to make a great pizza, the secret is in the right combination of toppings. Cheese brings a creamy texture to the crust, pineapple adds juiciness, and meaty textures like sausage can make a pizza hearty and satisfying.
The right toppings also balance salt, fat, and moisture. Toppings with too much salt and fat can greasify the pizza, while toppings that are too watery will prevent crispiness in the oven.
Vegetables are a good way to keep your pizza light and healthy. Whether you go for mushrooms, olives, peppers, zucchini, corn, or sun-dried tomatoes, they’re a healthy and delicious addition to any pizza.
One important rule to remember when adding toppings is that heavier ingredients should go on the bottom of the pie. This will ensure they cook quickly and properly under the heat of the oven.
The Right Dough
One of the most important factors for making a good pizza is the right dough. There are many different types of flour available, and not all are created equal.
In order for the dough to develop the necessary properties, it must be properly kneaded to allow the gluten proteins to hook together and form an intricate network of amino acids. This process is called gluten development and is what produces the chewy and crunchy texture we all love on a pizza.
It’s very easy to over knead the dough, so it’s important that you pause the mixer every few minutes and test it to ensure it is developing the correct amount of gluten. This can be done by performing the windowpane test.
The Right Oven Temperature
The right oven temperature is essential for a good pizza. It improves the appearance, texture and taste of your crust while also making sure that your toppings cook properly.
The best pizza oven temperatures vary based on the type of dough and toppings you use, so it’s important to experiment to find your perfect match! Generally, most chefs recommend a bake temperature of 450 degrees Fahrenheit to achieve a crispy crust and soft cheese.
Achieving this temperature requires preheating the oven for at least 30 minutes. If you have a home oven, you’ll need to increase this time to between one and two hours before baking.
A key factor in achieving the perfect oven temperature is the rack position. A lower rack will give you a crispy, chewy crust while an upper rack will give you a softer, more cheesy pie.