Are you craving authentic Italian pizza? You may have tasted one while traveling abroad or at your favorite Italian restaurant, and the aroma and flavor have you hooked. And why wouldn’t they?
An Italian pizza is a holy union of delicious ingredients, lovingly combined to create a delectable dish. It’s made with a thin, soft crust lightly charred on the edges and topped with fresh, flavorful ingredients and lots of melted cheese. Besides, the smell of fresh-baked bread, the tartness of the tomato sauce, the savory combination of herbs and spices, and the stringy, gooey goodness of melted cheese are so heavenly, making the pizza irresistible.
Italian pizza comes in wide varieties, from traditional Marinara and Margherita with just tomatoes, basil, garlic, and extra-virgin olive oil to all sorts of inventive creations, including calzones, quattro formaggi (four cheese), and vegetable-topped. Each type has unique toppings that are sure to tantalize your taste buds.
Although a delicious Italian pizza is all about the ingredients, the technique also plays a vital role in its preparation. If you’re trying to make Italian pizza at home, here are some tips for nailing the signature crispiness and smokiness.
Use the Right Type of Oven
Baking the perfect Italian pizza requires a hot, dry oven. Wood-fired ovens are ideal, as they can reach temperatures of 400 to 900 degrees Fahrenheit, and the intense heat helps to create a crisp, cracker-like crust.
The best option is an outdoor oven like the Gozney Dome that retains heat and maintains a consistent temperature throughout baking. The intense heat gives your pizza a crisp crust, while the insulated shell helps to keep moisture in the dough. The result is a delicious pizza with perfect sauce and cheese flavors. You can check out the Gozney Dome pizza oven review and bake the perfect pizza at home.
Use the Right Type of Flour
Italian pizza dough is typically made using “00” flour, a finely milled Italian flour made from wheat. The high gluten content of this type of flour gives the dough its stretchiness and elasticity, resulting in the classic thin, crispy pizza crust.
However, if you cannot purchase to 00 flour or would like to experiment with different types of flour, all-purpose flour is a suitable substitute. Besides, some specialty pizza-makers use a mixture of flour, such as whole wheat flour and semolina flour, to create unique flavors.
Use Fresh Ingredients
The texture, flavor, and overall taste of pizza made with fresh ingredients are incomparable. Whether tomatoes, peppers, onions, mushrooms, or basil – using fresh ingredients will provide a heightened flavor you cannot replicate with canned alternatives.
Additionally, use freshly diced tomatoes for a homemade marinara sauce or make a simple tomato sauce by blending tomatoes, spices, and herbs. If you want something special, consider making a pesto sauce or a garlic and olive oil mixture.
For the cheese, opt for freshly grated rather than pre-shredded varieties. Pre-shredded cheese often has a starch coating, which can prevent the cheese from melting correctly.
Lastly, if you opt for precooked toppings, such as sausage or pepperoni, drain off any excess grease to avoid a soggy pizza.
Knead the Dough Properly
When it comes to kneading the dough, you have two options. You can either get your hands in there and mix it all up with your fingertips or use a stand mixer. The key to getting the perfect texture is to knead it until it’s no longer sticky and elastic.
Use lukewarm water when combining ingredients, as it helps with the smoothness of the dough. Once done, ferment the dough by covering it with a cloth and leaving it at room temperature for up to 24 hours. It’ll give the dough time to rise, creating air bubbles and eventually developing a light, fluffy texture.
If you lack the time for a long fermentation, let the dough rest for at least a few hours. It will still give you a fluffy texture, although it won’t be as light and airy as the results from an overnight fermentation period.
Spread the Toppings Evenly
Imagine eating a pizza with all the toppings piled on one side and the other plain. That would make for a disappointing meal.
To ensure every slice is packed with flavor, it’s essential to spread the toppings evenly over the pizza dough. It allows the toppings to cook evenly and helps keep the pizza from becoming soggy in certain areas.
Consider adding herbs and spices to your toppings for an extra flavorful pizza. A sprinkle of oregano or garlic powder can take your pizza from good to great, and the taste will be well worth the extra effort.
Bonus Tip: Keep your toppings limited, as too many can make the pizza difficult to cook and take away from its taste. A few flavorful ingredients are all you need to create a delicious pizza.
Besides, you can also try some non-traditional pizza toppings from around the world for a unique taste.
Keep An Eye on the Cooking Time
A minute more or less can be the difference between a delicious pizza and an overcooked or undercooked one. So, keep an eye on the pizza and use an oven thermometer to double-check its temperature.
Make sure to pre-heat the oven before baking the pizza and take it out when the cheese has melted, the crust is golden brown, and any meat toppings have cooked through. However, you can always pop it back in and give it a few more minutes if your pizza doesn’t seem done enough.
Finally, once it’s out of the oven, let it rest for a few minutes to set the cheese and other toppings, and enjoy your delicious homemade Italian pizza.
Italian pizza is a classic favorite of many around the world. It’s made with a thin, soft crust lightly charred on the edges and topped with various ingredients such as tomatoes, cheese, olives, mushrooms, and herbs.
If you want to bake the perfect Italian pizza at home, use fresh ingredients, use the best flour, knead the dough for a few minutes, and let it ferment to ensure a nice texture and maximum flavor. Scatter the toppings evenly and avoid overloading the pizza to get the perfect balance of flavors and textures.
Lastly, use a suitable oven and remember to pre-heat it before baking the pizza. It will ensure you get a golden, crispy pizza ready to be devoured.