How to make pizza


The ultimate guide for making homemade pizza

There is nothing quite like the aroma of a freshly baked pizza wafting through your kitchen. Whether you are a pizza connoisseur or simply someone who appreciates the simple pleasures of homemade food, learning how to make pizza at home can be a rewarding and delicious experience. In this comprehensive guide, we'll walk you step-by-step through the process of creating your own homemade pizza.

Pizza is an icon of Italian cuisine and has a fascinating history. The origins of pizza date back to ancient Rome, but the version we know today has its roots in the city of Naples. During the Roman period, flatbreads topped with various ingredients were consumed, but we cannot yet speak of real pizza. It was not until the 18th century that pizza began to resemble what we know today. In Naples, pizza makers began adding ingredients such as tomato, cheese, and basil to the dough and baking it in wood-fired ovens.

Pizza became a popular meal among the working classes of Naples. Pizzas were prepared and baked quickly so that workers could enjoy them during their lunch break. Pizza margherita, with tomato, mozzarella, and basil, was named after Queen Margherita of Savoy, who visited Naples in 1889 and fell in love with this dish.

Neapolitan pizza gained an ever-growing reputation until it conquered the entire world, becoming one of the most beloved and popular foods internationally. Today there are numerous variations of pizza, with different combinations of ingredients and cooking styles. From the traditional Neapolitan pizza to the Roman pizza alla pala, each has its own unique and valued characteristics.

The ingredients for homemade pizza

To make a delicious pizza, it is essential to use the right ingredients. Here is a list of the basic ingredients you will need:

  • To make pizza, different types of flour can be used, each with different characteristics that affect the final result of the dough. Type 00 flour is the most commonly used; it is a very fine, sifted wheat flour with a low gluten content, producing a dough that is elastic and easy to work with a soft, light texture to the pizza. Durum wheat flour is made by grinding durum wheat, has a higher gluten content, and is ideal for making traditional Neapolitan pizza, which requires an elastic and strong dough to support the toppings.

  • Yeast is what makes pizza rise and gives it that light, fluffy texture. You can use fresh brewer's yeast or active dry yeast. If you prefer to give your pizza an even more special flavor and texture, you can use sourdough obtained from the natural fermentation of water and flour. This requires a longer preparation process, but it gives the pizza a distinctive flavor and honeycombed texture. Pizza made with sourdough will have a more complex flavor and a more elastic texture.
  • Water is a key ingredient in pizza dough. Use warm water to activate the yeast and gradually mix it with the flour to achieve the desired consistency.
  • Salt adds flavor to pizza dough. Be sure to use high quality sea salt or table salt.

How to make homemade pizza

Dough preparation is a key part of making a perfect pizza. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. In a large bowl, mix the flour, yeast, and salt.
  2. Gradually add the warm water and knead with your hands until the dough is smooth and soft.
  3. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead vigorously for about 10 minutes, until it becomes elastic and not sticky.
  4. Form a ball with the dough and place it in a bowl lightly greased with oil.
  5. Cover the bowl with a damp tea towel and let the dough rise in a warm place for about 6 hours, or until it doubles in volume.

One of the wonderful things about pizza is its versatility. You can choose from a wide range of toppings to customize your pizza to your taste. Here are some common toppings:

  • Tomato sauce is a classic pizza base. You can use ready-made tomato sauce or make it fresh using ripe tomatoes and flavorings such as garlic and oregano.
  • Buffalo mozzarella is the traditional cheese used for pizza. You can opt for fresh or stringy mozzarella, depending on the desired texture and flavor
  • Cold cuts such as prosciutto, salami, bacon, and sausage are just some of the charcuterie options you can add to your pizza for a more robust flavor.
  • Bell peppers, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, olives, and onions are just some of the vegetables you can use to enrich your pizza with fresh, colorful flavors.

Secrets of pizza rising: tips and tricks for soft, honeycomb dough

Leavening is a crucial step in pizza making, as it helps to achieve a soft, honeycombed texture in the dough. Here are some secrets to good pizza leavening:

  • Rising time: Rising takes time and patience. It is advisable to let the dough rise for at least 6-8 hours at room temperature. This allows the yeast to act slowly and develop the flavor of the dough. Alternatively, you can leave the dough in the fridge for a slower, more controlled rise, even for 24-48 hours. This method will give the pizza an even deeper flavor.
  • Room temperature: The room temperature in which the dough rises is important. The ideal temperature for optimal rising is around 24-26°C. Be sure to choose a warm, draft-free area so that the dough can rise evenly.
  • Amount and type of yeast: Use the amount of yeast recommended in the recipe. Excessive use of yeast can speed up rising, but compromise the flavor of the dough. If you are using brewer's yeast, be sure to activate it properly by following the instructions on the package. If you are using sourdough instead, keep it active and nourished through regular refreshment.
  • Kneading and resting the dough: When kneading the dough, avoid overloading it with flour. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky. After kneading the dough, let it rest for about 10 to 15 minutes covered with a damp cloth or plastic wrap. This resting allows the gluten to relax and makes the dough more manageable during subsequent rolling out.
  • Final Leavening: After shaping the pizza, let it rise for a short time before baking it. This process, called "final rising," gives the dough an opportunity to swell further and develop the classic honeycombed texture. Leave the pizza covered with a damp cloth for about 30 to 60 minutes, depending on room conditions.
  • Checking the rising: During the rising process, periodically check the dough for swelling. The dough should increase in volume and become soft to the touch. If you notice that the dough is rising too fast or too slowly, you can adjust the temperature or amount of yeast accordingly.

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