How to make delicious pizza at home: 5 simple steps.
If you’re a pizza fanatic, chances are you that you can spot a good pizza a mile off. You may have your favourite pizza brands and restaurants that you frequent on a regular basis, but do you know how to cook up delicious pizza at home?
To make delicious homemade pizza that tastes better than a takeaway is easier than it looks. You just need the right recipe and the right technique to avoid falling victim to the crispy-outer-edge-but-soggy-centre effect.
If you want to hone your pizza chef skills and create tasty authentic-tasting pizzas in your own kitchen, heed this simple 5-step recipe.
Preheat the oven
Before you do anything else, you should preheat your oven. If you’re making standard size pizzas with a thin crust, you should preheat your oven to around 240 degrees Celsius (440 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit). If you are making pizzas that have a thicker crust, preheat the oven to a slightly lower temperature – around 200 degrees Celsius (390 degrees Fahrenheit) – to ensure that the pizza cooks through evenly and the toppings don’t burn.
Make your own dough
You can buy pizza dough from supermarkets and bakeries, but what’s the fun in that? Plus, you can make your own dough for less money, and it actually tastes better.
This recipe for a basic pizza dough calls for just flour, yeast, water and salt. The dough can be used right away, or after a 2-hour rest time, or even after it’s been chilled in the fridge for a day or two.
Ingredients (enough to make two 10-inch pizzas):
- 2 cups of flour
- ¾ cup of water (lukewarm)
- 1 tsp active dry yeast
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- In a bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water for 5 minutes.
- Mix in the flour and salt until the mixture is shaggy.
- Knead the dough with your hands for 5 minutes. Add a teaspoon of flour if the mixture is not easy to work with.
- Dust your worktop with flour and stretch out your dough into your desired shape, size and thickness. (This recipe will make two 10-inch pizza bases).
Add your toppings
Once your dough is stretched, it’s time to add your sauce and toppings. This is the time when you can get really creative. There are no rules to what toppings you should use, so experiment with your favourite ingredients and take inspiration from different styles of pizza.
You can add a combination of almost anything to the top of your pizza. Vegetables that taste particularly good include spinach, mushroom, tomatoes, capsicum, olives and red onion. Try adding meats and fish, such as chicken, bacon, sausage, tuna and prawns.
You should also experiment with different types of cheeses, such as mozzarella, cheddar, parmesan, provolone, brie and goats cheese.
To make authentic-tasting Italian pizza you should stick to the three toppings that mirror the green, white and red in the Italian flag – basil, mozzarella and tomato sauce.
American-style pizzas typically have a thicker crust and are popularly topped with heavy layers of cheese and ingredients such as pepperoni and garlic.
Or, if you want to create delicious Lebanese-style pizza, you should experiment with za’atar, minced lamb, halloumi, labneh (soft cheese) and sujuk (spicy sausage, similar to salami).
It’s recommended to keep sauce, toppings and seasonings simple. Adding too many toppings to your base will increase the likelihood of a soggy bottom. If you are adding a thick layer of toppings you should preheat your oven to a lower temperature and expect a longer cooking time. This will ensure your entire pizza is cooked evenly, right through to the centre.
Place your pizza in the oven
Now that you have your dough topped with your chosen ingredients, it’s time to bake your pizza in the oven.
For the best results, place your pizza on a preheated pizza stone in the oven. Pizza stones absorb all the heat from the oven and distribute it evenly so that the pizza cooks all the way around.
If you don’t have a pizza stone, position your base on a tray in the middle of the oven and wait. Your pizza will take between 6-12 minutes to cook, depending on your oven and the size/thickness of your pizza.
Once the crusts have turned a golden brown colour, the pizza is ready!
Once the pizza is cooked evenly, the edges are crispy and the toppings are melted together, your pizza is ready to eat. Serve on its own or with a side dish: a simple green salad, coleslaw salad, fries or garlic bread. Pair with a bottle of red wine and you have the ultimate indulgent feast.
Hold a pizza party
If you love to go out for pizza with friends but want to mix things up, why not host a pizza making evening in your kitchen. The good thing about make-your-own pizza nights is that it’s cheaper than eating out, you and your friends can create your food just how you like it, it’s fun, and it’s super quick and easy!
Simply create a pizza station where you spread out all of your dough-making ingredients and a wide selection of toppings to choose from. Put on some music, pour a glass of wine and get to work kneading that dough and sprinkling that cheese. It’s a great way to catch up with friends, and the end result is oh-so-tasty.