Making the Best Pizza–Some Hot Tips

making the best pizza

We have shared some pizza history as well as some information about using the right ingredients. At this point, it’s practically impossible to not be craving a hot slice of pizza. But before you get started mixing and chopping, here are a few tried-and-true tips you should know for making the best pizza:

shaping pizza dough

The Top is the Top

When shaping your dough, make sure the top is the top and the bottom is the bottom. That means you transfer the dough from the baking sheet directly to the workspace, keeping the bottom side down. Press around the middle to push out the bubbles. Once you have the rough shape, drape the bottom of the dough over your fist and gently pull it around, being careful not to pinch the “cornicione” or the outer edge of the crust. Once the crust is the size and shape you want, set it back down–bottom still on the bottom. 

shaping the dough

Mind the Cornicione of the Pizza

Always be delicate with the “cornicione” or the outer edge of the crust. Don’t crush it or put sauce or toppings on that part of your pizza. You want that baby to puff up real tall and char from the heat or fire of the oven. That’s the way to get that deliciously spotted leopard crust. 

pizza sauce

Use Some Type of Pizza Sauce

The sauce adds flavor, but also helps hold down the shape in the middle of your crust. The simple tomato sauce should be a staple for every pizza night, but you can also mix things up with a little olive oil, some Japanese mayo, an alfredo sauce, or whipped ricotta. Need to blind-bake your crust and don’t want the middle to puff up too much? Add some kind of barrier with water or even a little bit of oil. 


Assemble Pizzas One at a Time

Once you put the sauce on the dough you have 30-60 seconds to get it in the oven, otherwise, the dough starts to get soggy and sticky. It is so important to work one at a time and work fast. 

all purpose 00 flour

Use 00 Flour or Semolina when Shaping the Pizza Crust

This will help keep it from sticking to the peel and the stone. Don’t use cornmeal, because that can actually prevent the crust from cooking on the bottom. 

turning a pizza

Turn, Turn, Turn Your Pizza

Place your pizza on the stone and wait about 40 seconds, then turn regularly (every 20-30 seconds) for the most even bake. Pizzas cook faster than you think with the high heat of the stone or oven. So keep a close eye on them!

Neapolitan ingredients

Less is More

For a true Neapolitan-style pizza, keep it simple. Put just a few basic toppings on before cooking it. Once it’s done baking, you can add the extra toppings while it is still hot. This not only makes for a more authentic pizza but will also help with cooking and mitigate the mess in your oven. 

oven stone

Water and Hot Stone Don’t Mix

Flatbreads and other doughs are great, but you should never put anything wet on the stone or it might crack (this goes for the pizza stone and the stone in pizza ovens). This is one reason why it’s important to keep toppings to a minimum. It’s also why you shouldn’t cook things like fish or steak directly on the stone. 

We learned most of these tips for making the best pizza through plenty of experience with trial and error. And yes, you will probably burn a few crusts or lose a few toppings–and that’s ok. In fact, it’s perfect. You have to burn to learn. But we want to do everything we can to make sure your first experience with pizza making is a good one. Follow these tips for both your home oven or your pizza oven (we recommend the Gozney pizza oven), and you will be well on your way to the most delicious, homemade pizza night ever.

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