The hunt for the perfect pizza seems like a never-ending quest. While stopping by your regular pizza joint and picking up your favorite pie is quick and easy, it’s not too hard to create the best pizza you’ve ever tasted right in your own kitchen. Whether it’s poker night or you’re having guys over for the game, a homemade pizza is something everyone will appreciate. After all, is there anything better than fresh-from-the-oven pizza?
If you’re gearing up to make your own masterpiece of cheese, sauce, and toppings, make sure you’re taking the right approach. Here’s a complete guide for making a delicious pizza the right way—one that’ll have everyone coming back for seconds (and thirds). Grab your preferred ingredients and your favorite brew, and get ready to create a truly remarkable pizza. Here are seven secrets for making it the right way.
1. Making the perfect dough
The perfect pizza starts with the right ingredients. Luckily, you don’t need too many of them to make a great dough—all it takes is water, flour, salt, and yeast to make a dough that won’t burn in the oven. Here’s a breakdown of the ingredients you’ll need to craft an average-sized pizza:
- 2 lb (900g) flour
- 0.4 oz (10g) fresh yeast
- 17 fl oz (0.5l) water
- .8 oz (20g) finely-ground sea salt
If you want to add olive oil or vegetable oil to the dough to help your pizza bake faster, be conservative. As a general rule, add 3% oil to the dough. If you’re making a pizza of average size using the ingredients in the ratios listed above, add about 30 grams of oil to the dough. Any more than that and you’ll end up with a crust that’s way too flakey.
Making a good dough takes time, and there’s usually some trial and error involved before you can get it right. The time and effort are well worth it, though. Dough that’s made from scratch always results in a better-tasting pizza. It’ll brown up nice and crisp to perfection, and make delivery pizza seem like amateur hour!
2. Authentic kneading techniques
When it comes to kneading dough, it’s all about consistency. After mixing your dough ingredients until they’re completely dissolved, add half the total amount of flour to the mixture and stir well to keep it from getting lumpy. Knead in the rest of the flour and salt. As the salt mixes with the dough, it creates the ideal chemical reaction needed to activate the yeast.
Once all the ingredients are together, leave it to rise at room temperature for about an hour. Expect your dough baby to get bigger! After the hour (and a beer or two for you), roll it out by hand as thinly as possible, while leaving the sides a bit thicker to create a nice crust.
3. Getting the perfect crispy crust
Achieving crust with the perfect level of crispiness depends on a few factors. First, you need to start with the right dough—which shouldn’t be a problem if you’ve followed instructions so far. You also need to set your oven at the right temperature and follow the right baking method. No matter what type of pizza you’re making, the secret to crispy pizza is cooking at a high heat. The high temperatures remove water during baking, naturally making the end result light and crispy. Keep this in mind as you check your dough and crust before slathering it full of delicious toppings.
4. Saucing your pie to perfection
Getting your crust crispy also depends on using the right amount of sauce for your pie. You should spread about 3 tablespoons of sauce if you’re making a pizza of average size. If you love the flavor of the sauce and don’t mind sacrificing some crispiness, feel free to add more or, better yet, keep some sauce on the side for dipping.
Pay close attention to the consistency of your sauce. It shouldn’t be totally liquid, or else you risk the dough getting too wet. Heat your sauce before spreading it on the dough, and let it boil for a while to remove excess liquid. Experiment a little to get the results you want, too. A dash of garlic powder or a pinch of onion powder can kick your sauce game up a notch, to improve the entire taste of the pizza.
5. Selecting complimentary toppings
Most guys find that the real flavor of the pizza is in the toppings. While it’s tempting to add as many toppings as possible—especially after a few drinks—the pizza won’t cook right if there’s more than one layer of toppings on top of the cheese. While some people say that less is more when it comes to toppings on a pizza, it’s your pizza—make it the way you like it.
Think about toppings in families of two or three. Sausage and pepperoni. Chicken, bacon, and spinach. Red pepper, black olive, and prosciutto. Don’t get too crazy with your toppings—instead, pick a few complementary flavors and let them get to know each other for amazing flavor combos that put any local pizza delivery to shame.
After you’ve dropped the toppings on the pizza, add a heavy layer of grated cheese. Mozzarella is the standard, but you can throw in a few other kinds of cheese for extra flavor. Add some fresh herbs on top after the pizza’s cooked to really enhance the flavor—oregano, red pepper flakes, and a little paprika will elevate your pizza even further.
6. Watch the cooking time and bake it right
Your oven should be preheated to at least 390 degrees Fahrenheit. Resist the temptation to put the pizza in before the oven’s reached the ideal cooking temperature—you risk burning your pie that way! Before putting your pizza in the oven, grease your baking pan with olive oil and sprinkle it with flour to keep the pizza from sticking.
Generally, at this temperature, your pizza should be cooked to perfection in about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on the pie as it’s in the oven, and feel free to leave it in the oven for an extra minute or two if you like a nearly-burnt crust.
7. Pair the perfect drink
While beer is pretty much the perfect match for pizzas of all types, you’ll want to maintain your buzz and counteract all the cheesy deliciousness you’re about to consume. Here are a few pro pairings to consider when it comes to spirits and mixed drinks, depending on your pizza:
- If you’re making a pie where mozzarella cheese is the star of the show, pair it with a dry vodka martini. This classic cocktail is the perfect way to balance the full taste that mozzarella brings with every bite.
- Making a pepperoni pizza? Pair it with a zesty Negroni to enhance the flavors of both the pizza and the drink. Gin’s characteristic spiciness also cleanses your palate so that you’re ready for the next bite of garlicky, smoky pepperoni.
- Whiskey goes great with pizza, too. For guys who love the pure flavors of herbs and cheese, enjoy a meat-free pizza with a classic Manhattan. The simplest of pizzas pairs well with the simple Manhattan. Always use a solid rye whisky for best results.
Ultimately, the best drink is the one in your hand. Whatever’s on tap or available from your bar cart is probably going to pair perfectly with pizza, since it’s such a universally beloved food.
Enjoy the perfect pizza with a bro!
When it comes to making the perfect pizza, experiment and let your taste buds be your guide. Keep in mind that you might want to do a few test runs on your own to get the crispiness and the flavors of your creation just right. Then, when you’re ready to have your bros over to enjoy a few slices, make sure you have all the ingredients for a great drink on hand to achieve the perfect pairing of food and drink.
Whether you’re hosting a poker night, watching the game, or hanging out, your best buds will appreciate your dedication to crafting an amazing pie. Just remember to grab a slice for yourself before it’s gone!
Digital Marketer from 301 Madison Consulting - loves to eat and talk about food, especially pizza.