Pizza expert shares tips on how to create the perfect pizza
Pizza is one of the foods that most of us will agree on. Granted there are toppings and base preferences, but the concept of freshly baked pizza is a firm family favourite. And news just in, serving the perfect slice isn’t rocket science and there’s no need for a pizza oven, according to one pizza expert.
Culinary director, and pizza specialist Michael Eyre shares how to quickly, easily, and cheaply convert any conventional oven to create the perfect slice in Britain’s first ever National Pizza Week – 22nd -28th November 2021.
“It’s as simple as having the right tools to do the job. Every pizza-lover should have a pizza peel and pizza stone to hand to create a dish that takes you to Italy and back in a bite.
“Having worked in the world of pizza for over twenty years, I know how to create a good one but early on I realised as with most things it’s about having the right equipment. A peel and stone need to be in your armoury. These can be picked up online from Pro Cook or even Amazon and there are versions to suit all budgets.
“Most stones will come with directions to pre heat them ready for the pizza to go on top. If you forget to preheat it will crack on entering the fire-like oven. The next thing is to turn up the heat. Make sure your oven is on its highest / maximum setting and then it’s a real wait and see game – keep a very close eye on your pizza. It may take a bit of trial and error to get the perfect pizza but when you do it feels like a real victory.”
Michael does say of course he would always turn to his own pizza oven if given the choice, but due to his inquisitive and creative nature he has even conquered how to create a tasty serving from his BBQ.
“I have even created some culinary pizza delights on my BBQ. In the summer I don’t often fancy cooking indoors – so I have now seized the perfect slice from my BBQ. Again, just make sure you have your pizza stone to hand and then I have found kettle BBQ’s or the Kamado type do deliver the best dish.”
Michael likes to keep things thrifty when he creates his own pizzas at home by using his own dough recipe.
“My number one tip for making pizza at home, keep it simple. Here is a really basic but tasty dough recipe that you can make on a domestic mixer with a dough hook. It makes four x 300g dough balls. Make it the day before you need it and put the dough balls in the fridge overnight in takeaway containers (surely everyone has a drawer full of these), take out of the fridge a couple of hours before you want to cook it.”
Michael’s dough recipe:
- 750g good quality pizza flour, preferably “00”.
- 450g cold water.
- 15g sea salt.
- 4g dried yeast.
- Put the flour, yeast and about 375-400g of the water into the machine bowl and mix on a fairly slow speed for a couple of minutes until the ingredients are combined, speed the mixer up and wait until the dough starts to get stretchy, this is when you start adding the rest of the water.
- Add it in in 3-4 stages with the salt, mix until the water has been completely absorbed by the dough. The total mixing time will be around 10 minutes. The dough should stretch easily.
- Allow the dough to relax for a couple of hours in the machine bowl with a cover over it.
- Cut the dough into four equal pieces and roll into balls, put each ball in a takeaway container and put in the fridge overnight.
- When the dough has been out of the fridge for a couple of hours it should be room temperature. Press the dough out with your fingers using fine semolina and put on a pizza peel.
- Top with your favourite tomato sauce, cheese, and tasty toppings.
- Now comes the tricky bit – slide on to your pre heated pizza stone.
- The cooking time will really depend on the temperature of your oven if you have a garden pizza oven (Alfa ONE or similar) it could be as little as 90-120 seconds.
- If you are using a conventional oven, turn it up to max and allow your pizza stone to heat up with the oven, if you put a cold pizza stone in a hot oven it may crack, it will take five-six minutes.
Michael ends: “I really hope in National Pizza Week that pizza-holics across the nation get kitted up and take charge of their conventional ovens, or if they don’t feel like doing the work, they’ll turn to their local pizzeria down the road that will conveniently deliver a piping hot pizza to their door. “