The perfect homemade pizza in five steps

The perfect homemade pizza in five steps

When you master the basics, homemade pizza is easy, delicious, and much healthier than frozen or takeout varieties. Here's how to make fresh, locally sourced pizza from scratch.

The perfect homemade pizza in five steps

1. Make the dough

Pizza dough is actually pretty forgiving, as long as you know your ingredients. Use all-purpose flour for a softer crust, or buy bread flour for a crispy crust. Remember to add active dry yeast. The real trick, though, is in the kneading. Pizza dough should be elastic, which means it needs a lot of kneading to get it consistently stretchy. Keep it in the mixer or under your hands for at least 10 minutes.

2. Create the sauce

Good sauce comes from fresh ingredients. Make your pizza sauce from fresh, locally sourced tomatoes. You can peel them with ease by dropping them in boiling water for 30 seconds to loosen the skin. Then, opt for fresh oregano, basil, and other herbs instead of dried versions. Chop plenty of garlic (if desired), and add salt, pepper, and white sugar to taste as you simmer for at least 30 minutes. Pro tip: a little baking soda will give the sauce extra body.

3. Add fresh toppings

As always, choose fresh, local ingredients when available, but be careful about the liquids. Grease and fruit juice (think pineapple) makes for a sloppy pizza. Be conservative about fatty meats, and make sure to thoroughly drain any fruits you use. Try interesting cheese combinations as well. Mozzarella is a must, but other cheeses like chevre (goat cheese) and asiago add texture and flavourful dimensions.

4. Remember the stone

Good, evenly baked pizza needs a baking stone, although the stone will make your oven take longer to preheat. Remember to sprinkle cornmeal over the stone before heating so your pizza won't stick. Also, invest in a good baking peel or flat sheet for easy retrieval from the oven.

5. Use smart baking

Pizza wants a hot oven, as much as 230 degrees C. Brush your dough with olive oil before baking to prevent wet ingredients from soaking in. This also gives the crust a golden brown surface in such high heat. Pizza-making pros also know that adding a little extra cheese in the last five minutes of the 15-minute baking time will improve the texture and give the pizza some tooth.

Once you get over the challenges of homemade dough, every pizza is a chance to experiment. Keep practising to perfect the crust, sauce, and topping combinations. You'll never grab a frozen pizza again.

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