7 tips and tricks on how to make the perfect pizza at home
Baking pizza at home is easier than many think. A few tricks help with this. Some ingredients are better fried beforehand, while others are added to the pizza later.
Puff pastry, quark-oil dough – the base of a pizza can be prepared in different ways. However, anyone who works as a pizza baker and likes it very classic kneads a yeast dough. Here you can find out how this works perfectly and which tips and tricks make the pizza perfect.
The basic recipe for the pizza dough
For the dough, the Amsterdam cookbook author Inga Pfannebecker dissolves a packet of dry yeast (7 grams) or half a cube of fresh yeast (21 grams) in 300 milliliters of lukewarm water while stirring. The mixture is now under 500 grams of flour (pizza flour type 00 or wheat flour 550), a tablespoon of olive oil and a slightly heaped teaspoon of salt. Knead the dough and let it rest in a warm place for an hour or two.
The amount of dough is sufficient for four round pizzas, each 28 centimeters in diameter, or two baking trays, each 36 by 39 centimetres. “By the way, the longer the dough is kneaded, the better,” says Pfannebecker. She recommends planning 15 minutes for kneading.
7 tips and tricks for the perfect pizza
Leave the dough to rest for one night
If you have the time, you can let the dough rise slowly in the fridge overnight. “It gets the typical hearty taste.” With this variant, only use 5 grams of fresh yeast or only 3 grams of dry yeast for the dough – “otherwise it will rise too much.” All other ingredients remain the same in terms of quantity. Let the dough rise at room temperature for 30 minutes and then – covered with a cloth – in the fridge for 24 hours. After the 24 hours, let the dough stand at room temperature for 45 to 60 minutes and process it further.
You can freeze part of the dough if you want. “It is ideal to freeze the intended portion when the dough has not yet fully risen,” explains Hamburg cookbook author Anne-Katrin Weber. If the frozen dough is to be used later, be sure to give it enough time to thaw slowly at room temperature.
Never use tomato paste for the sauce
The classic pizza cannot do without tomato sauce as the first topping. “It’s best to use canned chunky tomatoes for this,” suggests Pfannebecker. They are more aromatic than fresh tomatoes. Under no circumstances should you use tomato paste for the sauce, as the food journalist finds it far too concentrated. Salt, pepper, a pinch of sugar and, if necessary, some oregano are enough to season the sauce made from chunky tomatoes. “If you like, you can season the sauce with a little fresh garlic,” says Anne-Katrin Weber.
Not too much topping on the pizza
Next, roll out the dough to the desired size. Spread the sauce on top and top as you like. But: “Don’t overload the pizza with too many ingredients,” advises Inga Pfannebecker. Otherwise neither the dough nor the topping would really come into its own. Anne-Katrin Weber agrees: “It’s better to have a few, but very good ingredients.”
Anyone who has chosen fresh mushrooms for the pizza, for example, should first fry them and place them on the dough – “otherwise they will water and make the dough soggy.” Many types of vegetables go well with the dough, both raw and fried. “For example, you can use thinly sliced fennel as a topping,” says Weber. Aubergines or zucchini that have been cut into thin slices can be fried first – but you don’t have to. And of course well-drained canned tuna or finely sliced salami also taste good as a topping – or whatever else you feel like eating.
Choosing the right spices
A few spices should not be missing on a pizza. “Oregano is the classic and ideally comes on the topping before baking,” says Anne-Katrin Weber. Fresh basil leaves, on the other hand, only come on the finished baked pizza, otherwise they would dry out during baking. If you like, you can also season the pizza with chili, rosemary or thyme before baking. Or with garlic – “it develops a nice aroma when baking,” says Pfannebecker.
Don’t use too much cheese
And last but not least: the cheese, which protects the other ingredients from drying out. The same applies here: “Don’t sprinkle too much cheese on the pizza, otherwise it will cover up all the other flavors and make the flatbread too heavy,” says Inga Pfannebecker.
The classic cheese variant for pizza: Mozzarella. “You can also mix it with varieties like Cheddar and Emmental, which makes the taste stronger.” Or: At the end, add a few spicy Parmesan shavings to the pizza. There are also ready-made cheese mixes on the market especially for pizzas.
Preheat the oven really well
Now it’s time to start baking. It is important to preheat the oven to the highest possible temperature – and the baking tray or pizza molds at the same time. “This means that the dough also gets the necessary heat from below and becomes crispy when baking,” says Pfannebecker. Before the flatbread goes into the oven: “Grease the tray or the baking tin well, with oil,” says Weber.
For professionals: pizza stone or pizza oven
Inga Pfannebecker recommends that anyone who bakes pizza more often should get a fireclay pizza stone. It is preheated in the oven. “The stone pulls moisture out of the pizza base, which makes it nice and crispy.” There are also special pizza ovens for the home. The flatbreads are baked in it at around 400 degrees – the high temperatures shorten the baking time and baking is just as quick as in a pizzeria.