From a straightforward Hawaiian to a deep-filled stuffed-crust pepperoni with three extra toppings, most of us have a vision of what would make the perfect pizza. It exists in our heads, even if we have never actually tasted it.
Is there such a thing?
Pizza may be Italian but, as with many dishes, it has been Anglicised in many cases to cater to our often not-very-adventurous tastes. Italians would probably say to keep it simple and don’t mess with it. The original Margherita, named after the creator’s wife in the late 19th century, remains the classic and now has EU protected status. This must have a claim to be the perfect pizza!
Few celebrity chefs are good at keeping things simple, however, and any book with a pizza recipe is likely to involved lots of toppings, some of which you might not even have heard of! What chefs will do, however, is get the basics right.
Back to basics
The dough is arguably the most important part – if you get this wrong, the toppings you load on will have no chance of saving the pizza. Plenty of yeast to make it nice and springy is a good start, and allow enough time – even overnight – for the dough to rise. Be sparing with your sauce to avoid making the base too soggy. It will never crisp up if it is too wet; however, once you have your sauce, the main topping – whether cheese or something else, will be no problem to melt over the top.
Getting the temperature right is key. This can be difficult for the average chef, as a standard oven’s maximum temperature is about 250°C. A wood-burning oven traditionally used to cook pizza reaches double this temperature, which creates the lovely crispy, smoky flavour. Ours are often guilty of soggy bottoms!
There are now lots of great pizza ovens on the market designed specifically to hit the higher temperatures. If you are looking for one for your business or your home, check out specialist retailers such as https://www.247cateringsupplies.co.uk/catering-equipment/heavy-cooking-equipment/pizza-ovens.
The most important step in making the perfect pizza must surely be to give it a go. Experiment by trying some new toppings or by using your old favourites on a new base. Buon appetito!