Pizza is a dish that originated in Italy and has become one of the most popular foods worldwide. It is a flatbread topped with tomato sauce, cheese, and other ingredients, such as meats, vegetables, and herbs. Pizza is often baked in an oven and served sliced into individual portions.
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You can usually find a pizza restaurant in every town, it’s hugely popular, and we can understand why. Quick and easy to make and mouthwateringly delicious, it’s a go-to meal for many people.
A remarkably simple dish, flatbread (pizza crust), topped usually with a tomato-based sauce, different varieties of cheese, and then toppings including (traditionally) meat, vegetables, and herbs.
But you can make quality, delicious pizza at home, in an outdoor pizza oven, or in your kitchen oven.
Making the Pizza Dough
See our pizza dough recipe for a full guide, including measurements.
This pizza dough recipe is made from 5-store cupboard ingredients;
- Flour – 00 pizza flour, bread flour, or all-purpose flour
- Active dry yeast
- Extra virgin olive oil
Step-by-step instructions on how to make pizza dough
Using a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook or a mixing bowl and a rubber spatula, add yeast to a bowl of warm water and whisk.
Then add olive oil, flour, and salt and beat slowly for approximately 2 minutes.
Tip your pizza dough onto a lightly floured work surface, lightly flour your hands, and knead the dough for 4 minutes.
To knead the pizza dough, use the heel of your hand to press it away from you and then fold the dough back over itself.
Rotate the dough 90 degrees and repeat the process. This will help to stretch the gluten strands in the dough, making it more elastic and easier to work with.
Continue kneading the dough for about 5 – 10 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. If the dough feels too sticky, add a little more flour. If it feels too dry, add a little more water.
Use a pizza dough scraper to divide your dough and clean up your work surface.
Once your dough is kneaded, form it into a ball and place it in a lightly oiled bowl.
Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel or plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place for at least an hour or until it has doubled in size.
After the dough has risen, it is ready to be rolled out and topped with your favorite ingredients, then into an Ooni pizza oven to make a delicious pizza!
How to Store Pizza Dough
You can store your homemade pizza dough in the fridge for up to 3 days, we recommend wrapping it tightly in plastic wrap as it can burst out and the dough becomes stale.
You can also freeze the dough for up to 3 months. We recommend storing it in portion size so you can grab the right amount of pizza dough whenever you need it without having to use it all.
How To Make Pizza Sauce
The best homemade pizza has a great pizza sauce, and these are amongst the most popular sauces;
- Tomato-based sauce
- White sauce
- Pesto sauce
- Barbecue sauce
How to Make a Tomato-Based Pizza Sauce
See our delicious homemade pizza sauce recipe for ingredient measurements.
You’ll need these ingredients to make the sauce:
- Crushed tomatoes – we recommend San Marzano Italian tomatoes, as they are sweeter
- Chopped onion
- Fresh garlic
- Italian seasoning
- Red pepper flakes
- Salt & pepper
Add olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper to a pan over medium heat, bring to a simmer, then simmer for 45 minutes.
Remove the tomato mixture from the heat and let it cool. Once cool, add to a food processor or blender and blitz until the sauce is smooth.
Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Pizza Toppings Ideas
There are many popular pizza toppings, including;
- Pepperoni – we use veggie pepperoni
Choose your favorite pizza toppings, the foods you love.
Tips for Creating Your Own Pizza Toppings
Tips on choosing ingredients that complement each other.
For example, in a Margherita pizza, the sweetness of the tomatoes complements the creaminess of the cheese, and the basil adds a fresh herbal note.
Layering Pizza Toppings
Start with the sauce: Begin by spreading a thin layer of pizza sauce on the crust. This will help the toppings stick to the pizza and keep them from sliding off.
Use cheese as a base: Add a layer of cheese on top of the pizza sauce. This will help hold the other toppings in place; as it melts, it creates a gooey, melty layer.
Layer the vegetables: Add your vegetables on top of the cheese layer. This prevents them from burning and allows them to cook evenly.
Add (veggie) meats or proteins: If you’re using (veggie) meat or protein, add it to the vegetables. This will help prevent the meat from burning and allow it to cook evenly.
Add more cheese: Add another layer of cheese on top of the toppings. This will help to hold the toppings in place and create a delicious, gooey, cheesy layer.
Use small pieces: Chop toppings into small pieces to ensure they cook quickly and evenly and stay in place.
Spread toppings evenly: Be sure to spread them out evenly to ensure they cook evenly and don’t burn in one spot. It’ll also be much tastier when it’s sliced up.
Don’t overload: Be careful not to overload the pizza with too many toppings. Your pizza will be difficult to cook and may have a soggy crust.
Top with fresh herbs: After your pizza is cooked, add a sprinkle of fresh herbs, like fresh basil or oregano, on top. This will give an extra burst of flavor and freshness to your pizza.
The Best Pizza Cheese
- Mozzarella cheese
- Provolone – not suitable for vegetarians
- Gouda – be careful to buy the vegetarian version
- Pecorino Romano – choose a vegetarian Italian hard cheese alternative
The Best Cheese to Use for Different Pizza Styles
Thin Crust Pizza: Thin crust pizzas need cheese that melts quickly and evenly. Some of the best cheeses for thin-crust pizza include fresh mozzarella, grated Parmesan cheese, fontina, and provolone.
Deep Dish Pizza: Deep dish pizzas need cheese that can withstand a long cooking time without burning or becoming too oily. Some of the best cheeses for deep-dish pizza include shredded mozzarella, grated Parmesan cheese, and provolone.
Neapolitan Pizza: Neapolitan pizza needs a cheese that is creamy and slightly tangy. The traditional cheese used in Neapolitan pizza is buffalo mozzarella, which is rich and creamy with a tangy flavor. Other good options include provolone, Asiago, and Pecorino Romano.
Sicilian Pizza: Sicilian pizza needs a cheese that can withstand the thick crust and hearty toppings. Some of the best cheeses for Sicilian pizza include grated Parmesan cheese, shredded mozzarella, provolone, and Pecorino Romano.
Overall, the best type of cheese for any pizza complements the other ingredients and will add to the overall flavor profile of your homemade pizza.
We suggest experimenting with different cheeses to find the perfect combination for your favorite pizza recipe.
Baking Your Homemade Pizza
You can either cook your pizza in an outside pizza oven or a kitchen oven.
A pizza oven will cook the pizza very quickly and give you that beautifully charred crust that you see at pizzerias.
How to Bake Pizza in an Ooni Pizza Oven
Ooni pizza ovens can reach very high temperatures and are our ovens of choice; if you’re not using an Ooni, then the timings may vary.
Timings also vary depending on the type of toppings.
If you are baking a pizza Margherita, Neapolitan pizza, or marinara pizza, you only need to bake it in the pizza oven for 2- 3 minutes at 850°F/450°C.
Pizzas such as veggie pizza, tomato pizza, or spinach pizza will take slightly longer.
Use a pizza peel to turn your pizza every 20 seconds to ensure a perfectly even cook.
When the pizza is done, the crust will be charred, the cheese melted, and the toppings perfectly cooked.
How to Bake Homemade Pizza in an Oven
Preheat your oven to 500°F/260°C, and if using, place your pizza stone in the oven.
If baking a pesto pizza, cheese pizza, or white pizza, you’ll only need to cook it for 8 – 10 minutes.
If you’re cooking an olive pizza, vegan pizza, or mushroom pizza, it may take longer.
Watch your pizza closely, and we recommend turning it halfway through to ensure an even cook.
When the pizza is done, the crust will be golden brown, the cheese melted, and the toppings perfectly cooked.
And if you have leftovers, you can reheat pizza in an air fryer.
How to Achieve a Crispy Pizza Crust
The best way to achieve a crispier crust in a kitchen oven is by using a pizza stone. You heat the stone, place the pizza on it, and then the pizza crust will cook evenly.
If you don’t have a pizza stone, then a pizza pan is the next best thing to use. A pizza pan will have holes in its base, allowing some of the oven’s heat to reach the crust directly.
It’s totally possible to cook pizzas using a flat baking sheet or cookie sheet, but you don’t get the best homemade pizza results using them.
Tools and Equipment For Making Homemade Pizza
If you’re cooking a homemade pizza, then here’s a list of equipment that will make your life a whole lot easier.
- Pizza dough scraper – really useful when making your pizza dough and scraping up the sticky bits of dough.
- Pizza oven – the best way to cook a pizza – period.
- Pizza stone – the next best way to cook a pizza.
- Pizza pan – the cost-effective way to cook pizza.
- Pizza peel – transfer our pizzas safely into the pizza oven or onto the pizza stone.
- Pizza cutter – slice up your pizza evenly and easily.
Troubleshooting Pizza Problems
One common cause of sticky dough is using too much water in the recipe. Try reducing the amount of water you add to the dough and see if that helps.
Another cause of sticky dough is not kneading it enough. Be sure to knead the dough for at least 10-15 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic.
If you’re in a humid environment, the extra moisture in the air can make your dough sticky. Try reducing the water in your recipe or adding more flour to help compensate for the humidity.
One cause of burnt crust is cooking the pizza at too high a temperature. Try reducing the temperature of your oven and increasing the cooking time to ensure the pizza is fully cooked without burning the crust.
Another cause of burnt crust is leaving the pizza in the oven too long. Keep a close eye on the pizza while it’s cooking, and remove it from the oven as soon as the crust is golden brown and the toppings are cooked to your liking.A pizza stone can help distribute heat evenly and prevent the crust from burning.
One cause of toppings sliding off the pizza is too much sauce or too many toppings. Be sure to use a light layer of sauce and avoid piling too many toppings on the pizza.
Another cause of toppings sliding off the pizza is not preheating the oven and pizza stone or baking sheet properly. Preheating these items can help the pizza cook more evenly and prevent the toppings from sliding off.
So we’ve shown you how easy pizza making is!
There’s never a better time to make homemade pizza than today! The more you practice, the better your pizzas will become.
Try our pizza recipes or experiment with flavors, and you’ll soon be enjoying the perfect pizza in your own home.
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