How to make the best pizzas at home

How to make the best pizzas at home

Getting a pizza oven seems to be the must-have garden accessory alongside the BBQ. Everyone likes pizzas; nowadays, we're baking our own at home. It's a great idea because if you think about it.  When you order a pizza for delivery, it is never as good as one in a restaurant. Pizzas taste best when you eat them straight out of the oven.  

 

There are a couple of key things to consider when making pizza:

1. Do you buy the dough ready-made or make it yourself?
Making pizzas from scratch at home is very economical as well as lots of fun. Yes, you can buy the dough, but it's easy to make. The key to perfect pizza is following a few tips to stop it from sticking, and adding a few simple ingredients will make it taste more as if it came from a pizzeria. We say if you have the time to wait for it to rise, make it; if not, it's ok to use shop-bought.  A good brand we like is The Northern Dough Company
It's easy to make your own. Check out our recipe for making pizza dough.  Also, you can bulk make in advance and freeze for next time.
2. Make sure the oven and the pizza stone are hot enough.
Pizzas need to cook quickly, so ensure the pizza stone and oven are hot. For the Charlie Oven, 350-375°C is perfect. You get indirect heat because it is a closed unit when cooking; there is no need to go hotter. Be patient and wait. It takes 25-30 minutes with Charlie to get to the perfect temperature.
3. Get yourself a pizza peel and a pizza cutter.  
Having a pizza peel - the scoop-like pizza lifter - will make you feel like a professional chef. It's a great piece of kit for bread making as well. You won't need a turning peel if you have a Charlie Oven. You don't need to turn the pizza in the Charlie oven; it cooks evenly.  
A pizza cutter makes short work of creating the perfect slice of pizza. 

4. Get organised before you start making pizzas.

It is tempting to get going, but a little organisation will make it easier for everyone. Set out your topping ingredients in bowls. Make sure everything is sliced and ready to add. The less time a pizza sits around, the better, especially when you add wet ingredients like tomato sauce. You don't want it to get soggy or hard to move off the pizza peel into the oven. Nothing is worse than the toppings falling off into the oven, and the pizza base staying lodged on the peel. Now that's a mess you want to avoid at all costs!!

 

How to make your pizza more authentic

Five tips or methods used by the professionals to take your pizza game to the next level:

  1. Add Parmesan as well as mozzarella. The salty kick balances the taste.
  2. Don't overload the dough; more is not more in this case. If you smother the pizza with toppings, it won't bake properly. 
  3. Don't add too much tomato sauce. Just spread a dessert spoonful of sauce across the pizza base. 
  4. Use semolina to stretch and shape your dough balls. Semolina acts as a barrier and stops the dough from sticking to the surface, creating a great chewy crust.
  5. Add a drizzle of olive oil over all your toppings. It adds flavour and stops the bread from drying out.

Topping suggestions

It's easy to pimp your pizza. Here are some of our favourite combinations. In particular, we love adding more ingredients when the pizza comes out of the oven.

Bresaola, Rocket, Parmesan Shavings and Truffle Oil.
We first had this pizza at a campsite overlooking Lake Garda in Italy. Not only was the setting breath-taking, but a simple pizza was transformed into a delicacy before our eyes. 
Create a Margherita pizza. Once it is out of the oven, top with 3 or 4 generous slices of Bresaola, then some rocket leaves, shave some good quality parmesan on top and drizzle with truffle oil.

 

Another winning combination is Parma ham, rocket, grated parmesan and a little olive oil.

Homemade pizza with parma ham and parmesan

Other toppings to consider are:

Njdua sausage: It's delicious. A little goes a long way. It is spicy and earthy at the same time; it goes well with a little soft creamy goat's cheese.

Nduja sausage for pizza toppings

Chorizo: not Italian, but it works well in place of pepperoni.

With the Charlie Oven you don't need to buy a separate pizza oven. One of the great things about Charlie is that it is an all-in-one outdoor oven for BBQ, smoking as well as restaurant quality pizzas.

All that is left to say is Buon Appetito!

 


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