So you’ve taken the plunge, tackled the basics and found that you just might like this homemade pizza making thing. If you are looking to take your home pizza game up a notch, here are a few more tools you might consider. None of them are essential to making good pizza at home, but each one can potentially take your homemade pizza from good to great.
You might notice a trend with the tools on this list: they all help with consistency. You might make a great pie once in a while with the essential tools. And a blind squirrel might find a nut. But if you really want to have consistent, predictable results, say, you want to invite people over for pizza and know that you will produce something worthwhile, you need to be confident that your processes and recipes will produce results. These tools, along with some high heat, can help.
This list assumes you like making your own dough, now look down your nose at the local pizza joint’s efforts and have some budget to burn on your new hobby.
The Baking Steel is an initial Kickstarter-backed project that has blossomed into a full-time endeavor. The core product (the company has since diversified into griddles and different sizes) is a 1/4-inch, 15-pound plate of food-grade steel designed to be used in your oven as a replacement to a traditional pizza stone.
The science backs it up (as does Serious Eats) Metal conducts heat better than a porous baking stone and it also stores more heat than a traditional pizza stone—both key features for baking a pie that is light, crisp and charred like any good Neopolitan or NY pie. You’ll notice the difference most in the crust.
If you are making your own dough, you need to weigh your ingredients to get consistent, predictable results. There is just too much variation in scooping ingredients into measuring cups or measuring spoons. Any good cookbook is going to give you ingredients by weight or baker’s percentages. Do yourself a favor and get a decent digital scale with a wide base.
Digital thermometer & Temperature gun
Another key to getting consistent results is knowing what temperature both your ingredients are and your oven is.
A digital thermometer is a must in bread or dough making. If the water you mix with the flour, salt and yeast is the wrong temperature, it can drastically impact the proofing time and, in the worst case, if it’s way too hot, it may kill the yeast and your pizza dough right along with it.
By the time you make it to the oven, it’s unlikely the temperature will destroy your meal, but it’s still good to know just how hot the oven is when the pizza goes in. An infrared temperature gun is an easy way to figure this out without singeing your eyebrows.
This becomes even more important when you’re working outside a traditional oven with temperature controls. See the Uuni below.
Pizza toppings need to cook fast, especially if they are raw. The best way to ensure that they all cook consistently is to have them all cut, chopped or sliced to the same thickness.
And when we are talking pizza that usually means either small or thin to be ready in concert with the cooking dough. The mandolin makes this super easy. You don’t need a super-expensive one and you don’t need to be limited by pizza making. It’s a great all around kitchen tool.
Uuni Pizza Oven
If you want to get outside your oven and experiment with a wood-fired oven but don’t have the time, expertise or budget to purchase or build you own, this little oven (uuni literally means oven) might be the perfect place to start.
It’s small, portable, well-designed and gets blazingly hot. It can rip off a Neopolitan pizza in less than two minutes. It takes some practice and a little finesse but it can produce great pizza.
Five tools, nothing totally essentially to making good pizza at home, but each one can help you dial in your new obsession with consistency and take that good pizza and make it great, every time. And way, way better than any takeout.