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Secret to good pizza?

 
pollinator
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Location: Massachusetts, 6b, suburban, nearish coast, 50x50, full sun, 40" year-round even distribution
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https://www.quora.com/Why-does-homemade-pizza-never-taste-the-same-as-pizza-from-a-restaurant-Am-I-missing-some-secret-ingredient-or-method

found this on quora, some interesting tips, like using terra cotta tiles instead of an expensive pizza stone.  

Other opinions?
 
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Location: Montpellier, France
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i'm an italian chef and worked in pizzerias... so I can say to have modestly knowledge on how to make pizza taste (almost) as in pizzeria.
the first point is dough, you must get it right and with correct ingredients.
Yeast solved in water and some sugar, the Water temperature must be at 35°C , then a mix of classic 00 flour and manitoba flour (in 70/30 relation, i use CAPUTO flour), salt in the rest of water.
For proper recipe hit me on and i'll pass you the detailed ingredients. Then dough must rise, aprox. to 100% of its raw volume, in a warm not too hot area of your home, sheltered from air, once that volume is reached you make the traditional "balls" and let it rise once more, then place in fridge overnight, ideally between 24-36 hours of cold-storage rising/fermenting.
Place pizza bread out of fridge and allow to reach room temperature (between 3-4 hours) before cooking!
When it comes to cooking most home-oven won't go above 250°C , so there's a few tricks you can learn

1) allow the tray to heat up as you heat up the oven to Maximum
2) once the oven heat is 250°C and the tray hot , make your pizza thin and use a bit of tomato sauce as topping , no cheese , don't add that yet nor other toppings. make sure also no excess of flour is on bottom or top of the dough. it will make pizza crunchy and burn
3) throw pizza on hot tray and in oven and allow about 10-12 minutes of baking.
4) when you notice that the pizza is about 3/4 trough , get it out and finish topping with fresh mozzarella (not the shredded one, use fiordilatte pizza and use not too much of it), add some parmesan cheese (grated) olive oil and whatever topping you want.
5) allow for another 4-5 minutes to bake

this are the principles for cooking great pizza at home.
traditionally a pizza can only bake for about 90-120 seconds in a professional oven, due to the high temperature it is possible, but at home with 250° impossible.
So you don't want to put all toppings straight away as they will burn while your dough is still raw. Tomato sauce has no issues, first cook with tomato sauce and 3/4 in its way finish the topping.
 
pollinator
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2 things:
Fresh ingredients
Sticky dough
 
author & gardener
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Ivan Bonafe wrote:Then dough must rise, aprox. to 100% of its raw volume, in a warm not too hot area of your home, sheltered from air, once that volume is reached you make the traditional "balls" and let it rise once more, then place in fridge overnight, ideally between 24-36 hours of cold-storage rising/fermenting.


Ivan, very interesting post! You've got me curious though about the refrigeration of the dough. Is there a particular reason for this step? I mean, how does cold-storage affect the dough?
 
Ivan Bonafe
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Leigh Tate wrote:

Ivan Bonafe wrote:Then dough must rise, aprox. to 100% of its raw volume, in a warm not too hot area of your home, sheltered from air, once that volume is reached you make the traditional "balls" and let it rise once more, then place in fridge overnight, ideally between 24-36 hours of cold-storage rising/fermenting.


Ivan, very interesting post! You've got me curious though about the refrigeration of the dough. Is there a particular reason for this step? I mean, how does cold-storage affect the dough?



Hi Leigh! Your welcome.
The dough would ferment too much left at room temperature for more than 12 hours.
Generally light flours like 00 and Tapioca need little time to be raised.
I apply the:

wait until it reaches "double volume" in its bowl (aprox 3-4 hours)
than form "balls" and place them on a trail.
Cover them with a cloth or plastic film but without getting touched.

Let that second process also go for about 3-4 hours.
This means the dough was raised for 8 hours totally at warm temperature.

If you would keep them all night and another day out it will simply over-ferment and create too much live bacteria.
By storing it cold , in the fridge and allowing it to continue the fermentation process you get the best of both things:

a dough that has fermented in a slow way and created a unique bacteria, hence very easy to digest.
No issues with bad bacteria due to over fermentation.

Napoleatan Pizza is said to MUST ferment for at least 36 HOURS COLD before being served , hence 36 HOURS + 8 to prepare it first hand ...
I usually make pizza dough night before, then cook one batch the day after (24 hours cold raised) and one batch the 2nd day (usually i make bread/focaccia).
So the 2nd Batch is 48-72 hours COLD STORED and is always very elastic , light , airy and easy to DIGEST !!

For any questions feel free to shoot ! Cheers
 
Leigh Tate
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Ivan, thank you! I don't have access to all the wonderful flours you mention, but I will still give this a try.
 
pollinator
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We've been making pizza for years because as it turns out Japan doesn't make very good pizza. We have pizza every single Friday night for our entire 16 year marriage. I've made a lot of different doughs. We've perfected the whole process I think. We have a nice pizza stone. We heat the oven to 525 degrees with the stone in it. It's a sourdough pizza dough that we do refrigerate for a day before using. I flour the counter with semolina flour when I'm stretching into shape for toppings and that adds such deliciousness. Then we stick it in the oven for 10 minutes just with the oven on. Then I turn the broiler on for 2. Perfect pizza every single time.
 
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When I built my outdoor rocket oven, I decided to experiment until I could really make good (to me) pizza. One of the best things about making things yourself is you can make it exactly as you like it. Ironically, I like thick crust pizza at restaurants, but the best to me after making my own is thin crust. Maybe that means my crust recipe/making is not as good, but I like it better than restaurant pizza so I'm not concerned. (I have been using a simple crust recipe from Emeril.) I use the dough mixing feature of a bread machine to make the dough. It is the easiest way, and I believe thorough kneading is important to develop the gluten to make a stretchy crust. One batch of dough (a three cup of flour recipe) will give me four pizzas. I make one right away and refrigerate the rest. I can concur with what Ivan says about refrigeration changing the dough. It becomes smoother and more like sourdough in my experience. I have kept it as long as a week in the refrigerator and I like it anywhere from fresh until then, it just has a slightly different taste. I roll it out on a board rather than any fancy stuff. I roll it out to about 3/16" to 1/8" and have found it is easier if the dough is not too stiff, and just the right amount of flour is on the board. Too much and the dough will just stretch with the pin and shrink right back (this is also a symptom of too little water in the dough), too little and the dough will stick too much to the board when you try to remove it and might tear.

After I transfer the crust to the pan, I go start the rocket oven and it will be the right temp when I finish making the pizza. I put on the sauce very thinly and mix in a little sriracha sauce. I put on the toppings and then the cheese, usually. It affects the taste where the toppings are. Some toppings are better getting toasted a little, some are better protected under the cheese. Experiment for your own taste.

I have found the oven to be paramount in how good the pizza is. My outdoor rocket oven makes perfect pizzas in my opinion. It is what they call a "black" oven--one where the gasses from burning flow over the food. This has two actions: it helps add flavor, and it acts like a convection oven. This oven properly cooks a pizza at 350-400 degrees. Most ovens will not, in my experience. I recently made an oven that sits atop my rocket mass heater, and it is not as well suited to making pizza (but it beats going outside in winter!). I have found the best way to make a bland, unpleasant pizza is to cook it at too low a temperature. In a still-air oven, I've never had any luck below 400 degrees. It is difficult getting too hot for a thin crust pizza, it just takes less time to cook. It shouldn't take more than 5-7 minutes. If I have trouble getting the cooking source hot enough, I try to get the crust as close to the heat source as possible to make sure it gets crispy. I like a pan with holes in the bottom to help with this. A little cornmeal sprinkled on the pan can also help prevent the crust from sticking if necessary.
 
elle sagenev
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Today's pizza.
IMG_20210212_170803.jpg
Dough ready for stretching
Dough ready for stretching
IMG_20210212_171104.jpg
Stretching
Stretching
IMG_20210212_175215.jpg
Delicious. We like tons of cheese and pepperoni
Delicious. We like tons of cheese and pepperoni
 
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Pizza at 730°... 90 seconds.
20210227_183215.jpg
[Thumbnail for 20210227_183215.jpg]
 
This. Exactly this. This is what my therapist has been talking about. And now with a tiny ad:
Rocket Mass Heater Plans - now free for a while
https://permies.com/goodies/7/rmhplans
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