Baking pizza at home is easier than many think. A few tricks can help. Some ingredients are better sauteed beforehand, while others are added to the pizza later.
Hamburg – Puff pastry, curd-oil dough – the base of a pizza can be prepared in different ways. However, if you are a pizza maker and like it very classic, knead a yeast dough.
For this, Amsterdam cookbook author Inga Pfannebecker dissolves a packet of dry yeast (7 grams) or half a cube of fresh yeast (21 grams) in 300 milliliters of lukewarm water while stirring. The mixture is now added to 500 grams of flour (pizza flour type 00 or wheat flour 550), a tablespoon of olive oil and a lightly heaped teaspoon of salt. Knead the dough and let it rest in a warm place for about one to two hours.
The amount of dough is enough for four round pizzas with a diameter of 28 centimeters or two baking sheets with a diameter of 36 by 39 centimeters. "By the way, the longer the dough is kneaded, the better," says Pfannebecker. It recommends to allow 15 minutes for kneading.
Heartier through a night’s rest
If you have the time, you can also let the dough rise slowly overnight in the refrigerator. "In the process, it gets the typical hearty taste."Use only 5 grams of fresh yeast or only 3 grams of dry yeast for the dough in this version – "otherwise it will rise too much." All other ingredients remain the same in terms of quantity. Let the dough rise first at room temperature for 30 minutes and then in the refrigerator for 24 hours – covered with a cloth. After the 24 hours, leave the dough to stand at room temperature for 45 to 60 minutes for further processing.
If you want, you can easily freeze part of the dough. "It is ideal to freeze the designated portion when the dough has not yet risen completely," explains the Hamburg cookbook author Anne-Katrin Weber. If the frozen dough is to be used later, be sure to give it enough time to thaw slowly at room temperature.
Do not use tomato paste for the sauce
The classic pizza can’t do without tomato sauce as the first topping. "It’s best to use canned chunky tomatoes for this," Pfannebecker recommends. They are more aromatic than fresh tomatoes. Do not use tomato paste for the sauce, it is too concentrated for the food journalist. To season the sauce of chunky tomatoes, salt, pepper, a pinch of sugar and a little oregano, if needed, are enough. "If you like, you can season the sauce with a little fresh garlic," says Anne-Katrin Weber.
In the next step, roll out the dough to the desired size. Spread the sauce on top – and then top as desired. But: "Don’t overload the pizza with too many ingredients," advises Inga Pfannebecker. Otherwise neither the dough nor the topping would come out right. That’s how Anne-Katrin Weber sees it: "It’s better to use just a few ingredients, but very good ones."
If you have chosen fresh mushrooms for the pizza, you should first saute them and place them on the dough – "otherwise they will water and make the dough soggy."
Saute eggplant beforehand
Many vegetables fit on the dough both raw and sauteed. "For example, you can use fennel thinly planed as a topping," says Weber. Finely sliced eggplant or zucchini can be sauteed first – but you don’t have to. And of course, well-drained canned tuna or finely sliced salami are also good toppings – or whatever you’re hungry for at the moment.
A few spices can not be missing on a pizza. "Oregano is the classic and ideally goes on the topping before baking," says Anne-Katrin Weber. Fresh basil leaves, on the other hand, are first added to the finished pizza; they would otherwise dry out during baking. If you like, you can also season the pizza with chili, rosemary or thyme before baking. Or with garlic – "it develops a nice aroma when baked," says Pfannebecker.
Mix cheese for pizza, but don’t overload it
And last but not least: the cheese that protects the other ingredients from drying out. Here, too, the rule is: "Don’t sprinkle too much cheese on the pizza, because otherwise it will mask all the other flavors and also make the dough patty too heavy," says Inga Pfannebecker.
The classic cheese option for pizza: mozzarella. "You can also mix it with varieties such as Cheddar and Emmental, then the taste will be stronger."Or: Add some spicy Parmesan shavings to the pizza at the end. In the trade there are also ready cheese mixtures especially for pizzas.
Now you can start baking. It is important to preheat the oven to the highest possible temperature – and the baking tray or pizza pans at the same time. "As a result, the dough also gets the necessary heat from below and becomes crispy during baking," says Pfannebecker. Before the dough patty now goes into the oven: "Grease the tray or baking pans well, and with oil," says Weber.
Pizza stone draws moisture from the bottom
If you bake pizza often, you should get a pizza stone made of fireclay, recommends Inga Pfannebecker. It is preheated in the oven. "The stone draws moisture out of the pizza crust, making it nice and crispy." For at home, there are also special pizza ovens. In it, the dough patties are baked at around 400 degrees – the high temperatures shorten the baking time and make baking just as fast as in a pizzeria.
"Pizza tastes best fresh out of the oven," says Anne-Katrin Weber. But of course it is always possible that even the tastiest pizza will have leftovers. "They can be frozen without further ado." Later, after defrosting, the pizza pieces again at about 200 degrees for about ten minutes in the oven – and the meal is ready.
Inga Pfannebecker: "Pizza& Flammkuchen: Hotly Coveted Crispy Pieces," Verlag Grafe und Unzer, 9.99 euros, ISBN-13: 978-3-83385-334-0.
Anne-Katrin Weber: "Hearty vegan", Becker Joest Volk publishing house, 29.95 euros, ISBN-13: 978-3-95453-198-1.