We are getting close to the first hard frost (we had a few mild frosts the past week) here in the Northeast and that will mostly put an end to my home garden. While the basil is mostly past peak, I’ve done a pretty good job at keeping it trimmed. It hasn’t all gone to flowers and there are still plenty of leaves that will need to be cut and used.
It’s actually not that hard to make good pizza at home. It takes a little time, a little patience, and a little practice. But how do you make great pizza? That takes more practice and experience plus good quality ingredients. No matter what type of pizza is your favorite, all great pizza starts at the bottom with the crust.
I’m going to assume you’re already doing the basics like starting with good ingredients and measuring by weight, not volume. Here are three often overlooked details that can take your pizza crust from merely good to great.
If my text messages or website traffic are any indication, people are rediscovering, or at least trying, the joys (and some frustrations!) of baking homemade bread and pizza during the quarantine. Nothing could make me happier. I’m filling up my freezer with lots of anxiety baking. It might not help my waistline but it is helping my mental health during these strange times.
If you’ve heard of Wisconsin Brick cheese and live outside of the Midwest, you’ve probably heard of it in relation to Detroit-style pizza. It’s a high-fat aged cheese with a uniquely tangy, salty, buttery flavor that lends the deep-pan Detroit pizza its buttery taste and more important its crispy, lacy, blackened edges. The edges will look black and burned beyond edible but don’t be fooled that’s black gold.
With just a little effort, the home cook can really up their pizza game. Ten years ago, I moved to the suburbs and immediately realized all the pizza was mediocre at best and if I wanted to once again have pizza anywhere near as good as a place in the city (even a city like Boston with an Ok but not stellar pizza rep) I was going to have to make it myself.
Since then, I’ve tried many different flours, recipes, toppings, and dough. Top it with whatever you want, what will really elevate a pizza is a great dough.
It can be the most intimidating, and sometimes demoralizing, part of the pizza-making process. You’ve made the dough, prepped the ingredients, stretched it out perfectly then go to launch it into the oven and … it sticks. There is no worse feeling for the home pizziaolo than standing over a blazing hot oven trying to wrestle some stuck dough into the oven.
Don’t despair. It happens to everyone at some point and calzones still taste good! With a little practice and following these 6 practical tips you’ll be launching your pizzas into the Ooni with pizzazz.
Plain, all-purpose white flour is a great place to start when making your own pizza dough. It has plenty of protein, strength and flexibility, making it very easy and forgiving to work with when trying to stretch it out. The downside is that all-purpose, white dough tends to lack any flavor as it’s been processed to remove the bran and germ. So if you want to take your dough to the next level and really add a dynamic shot of flavor, try adding some whole grain, which includes all three parts of the grain – bran, germ, and endosperm.