Cook Great Pizza All The Time

When it comes to great pizza many people always ask what the secret is. Is it the water is one of the big ones. I don’t truly think it is. I have cooked pizza all over the world and in most of the States as well. If the water is drinkable it’s good for pizza.  I also teach professionals from all over the world how to make great pizza too. So what’s the problem?  First of all Great pizza is subjective. Some people think they make great pizza so therefore they do!  Some people make pizza that’s pretty bad and need some help. I always teach people about the basics. To me, the basics start with the right flour for the pizza style you are making.

Perfect Pizza

High gluten flour is great for most pizza. It has more strength and is usually more crispy then any types of flour.  Now there are a lot of other factors too. (You can google yourself into pizza confusion forever if you’re not careful)  I like to make it simple. High gluten flour 60 percent water to flour, some salt, instant yeast, and some olive oil.

When you make the dough (Good dough) you need to develop the gluten. The gluten content is based on the protein. High gluten flour has 13% to 14%  protein and is a stronger flour than All Purpose or General use flours. The gluten is developed by mixing the flour the correct way. If you mix it too little, the gluten does not develop.  If you mix it too much you break the network. So it needs to be mixed just so. I mix my dough in small batches.  Mixed by hand takes about 7 to 8 minutes and lots of stretching fun. When the dough is smooth and stretchable, that means the gluten is developed,  I know it’s good.

I never use sugar, another myth that people say is needed. The yeast eats carbohydrates and flour is mostly carbs so there is plenty for the yeast to eat.   The sugar can help people who cook at low temperatures and cause some browning But I am always cooking hot at least 700f or more.

The next thing to know is that after you make your dough you have to let it rise! The dough should rise before you put it away about 50% and then be put into a refrigerator for at least 24 hours.  Sorry, you can’t rush a good thing. The dough develops in that time and for me, two days or three is even better.

When your dough is done it should always be warmed up a little, about 60 f and then stretched. Cold dough is tough to stretch and bubbles when you cook it.

Now, this is pretty basic and it takes a little practice but not much.

Your other choices like tomatoes. Not canned pizza sauce but canned Italian plum tomatoes are key.  I do like San Marzano tomato for my home cooking although sometimes they can be watery and not available everywhere.  Buy the best,  taste them out of the can. They should be sweet plump red and have no acid after taste.

No sugar is needed in the sauce. Keep it pure and simple some fresh basil, some fresh garlic, salt and olive oil.

You can combine the ingredients in a food processor or crush the tomatoes by hand and mix well.  The latter is my preferred choice I like the taste of the chunks of tomato that explode with flavor.

Cheeses are also the key; You need some quality cheese either fresh or shredded mozzarella. Fresh mozzarella is great but make sure it’s not too wet. If it too wet it will bleed water all over the pizza. You can break it up first and then let it sit a while at room temperature and the water will come out.                              

How do you put it all together?

Less is more for backyard high heat cooking. Light cheese, light sauce, and light toppings.  The toppings should not be built up because they all need to cook.  So keep it pure and simple

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