Pizza – Everything you need to know about making the best crust – Part I
Pizza is my favorite food, but pizza is not just pizza. It is a complicated combination of few essential things…the crust, the sauce, the cheese and the topping, number one being the crust!
I even went on a trip to Napoli for few days just to eat pizza (and little bit of pasta).
For the perfect pizza. Let´s break it down
In this post let´s talk about crust…It´s gonna be way too long post talking about all 4 topics in one post…
But I recommend you watch Heston and his episode about the search for the perfect pizza. There you can see what I am talking about, it´s a great episode for pizza lovers.
- Making the dough
- Rolling it out
Making the dough. A good flour is what you need, usually pizza enthusiasts talk about 00 flour. I bought a good flour, called Marino, organic from Italy, not 00 though but it´s really good. It´s a “Burrato”, that is it´s soft and Ideal for bread and pizza. Put all ingredients in a mixer, like a KitchenAid and use the hook. Let the machine run for at least 5 minutes on a medium speed. It is important to kneed the dough in the machine for 5 or 10 minutes. (By hand I would either do a lot or kneed it for very short time, half a minute or so).
Rolling it out. In stead of rolling, pinch it. Heston talked about pinching the dough with your finger tips until you have a round large enough crust. You could do both, roll and pinch, and see if you find any difference.
Thin or thick? For me it´s thin. The thinner the better. If you like it thicker and more like bread, roll it out for about 1/2 cm thick and bake it at lower temp, 200°c for 10-15 minutes.
Baking. The key is to bake the thin crust pizza for as short time as possible. There for, you need to have the oven as hot as possible. Most ovens go up to 250°c. Mine goes to 300°c. Heat your oven on as high as possible. Heat it for at least 30 minutes.
Get a pan, cast iron or steal. ( I used an Icelandic pancake pan). Put the pan on a hot stove for 20 minutes before you put the pizza on it and in the oven. If the pan has a handle that doesn´t fit in the oven just keep the door open a bit.
After 30 minutes (or more) turn your oven on top grill, the heat as high as possible. (my oven has 3 settings for grill temperature . Put the “rolled” (or pinched out instead of rolled out, as seen on Heston´s episode) out pizza dough on the bottom of the pan, (you turn the pan up side down) then sauce, toppings and cheese. Put it back in the oven for as long as it takes to bake it. Watch it carefully so you don´t burn it, it´s probably about 3-5 minutes.
I´ve done pizza so often I usually don´t measure, I just throw in a teaspoon of sugar, salt and 2 teaspoons of yeast and then what ever looks like enough of flour and water until I get the consistency I like.
Heston uses pre fermented dough. I also find the dough be good after keeping it in the fridge for few days.
Here is a good recipe, very basic and ready in an hour or so.
- 500 g flour
- 270 ml lukewarm water
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons yeast
Mix all ingredients in a mixer with the hook for 5 – 10 minutes, you want the dough to be on the stickier side. Add more water if needed (or less). Let rise for an hour in a warm place, the bowl covered with a plastic wrap.
This is a well risen dough, probably from about a 1 kg of flour.
Take the dough and add more flour, couple of tablespoons, to kneed it a bit more by hand just until you have a good stick free dough. Roll or pinch it out as thick or thin as you like.
Here is a link to Heston´s recipe. I haven´t tried it yet, but this weekend I will, I ´ll let you know how it goes.
THE KEY TO THE PERFECT CRUST:
- Oven on high temperature when heating it, then on grill when baking the pizza
- Roll or pinch out the dough very thin, the thinner the less baking time
- Keep the pizza as close to the grilling element as possible
- Put the pizza on a bottom of a hot pan before going in the oven
- Don´t put too much topping on each pizza to prevent soggy crust
Next time, let´s talk about the sauce.
My drops in the internet ocean can be found here…