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Blog // Travel
September 24, 2006

The Perfect Pizza

Confession time – I love pizza. I love cooking pizza, I love eating pizza, heck I even love reading about pizza. So, it was interesting to follow the link from Lifehacker to Jeff Varasano’s page on making the perfect pizza. It’s a fascinating read, though phrases like “wet mozzarella management” are a bit off-putting (I […]

Confession time – I love pizza. I love cooking pizza, I love eating pizza, heck I even love reading about pizza.

So, it was interesting to follow the link from Lifehacker to Jeff Varasano’s page on making the perfect pizza. It’s a fascinating read, though phrases like “wet mozzarella management” are a bit off-putting (I was wondering for a little while if this was little more than cork-sniffing applied to pizza). However, the principles are sound and the experiments with dough really interesting.

The writing reminds me of another Jeff on pizza, Jeffrey Steingarten in It Must’ve Been Something I Ate. Steingarten is one of my favourite food writers and his chapter on making the perfect pizza is a must read.

Both Jeffs identify that three things are essential to any good pizza. You need good tomato sauce, good yeast-dough and a high cooking heat. In fact, I would say from my many years searching for the ideal pizza, that high cooking heat is the most important. Fact is, you can use a premium bottled pasta sauce (or sugo) on a really good base cooked at high heat and it will surpass most homemade, and many delivered pizzas.

Steingarten comfirms this with the use of heat measuring gun. Domestic ovens (even expensive ones) are seldom hot enough to cook a really good pizza. This, more than dough, sauce or toppings is the biggest difference between a home made pizza and a commercial one.

It’s also the reason why homemade pizzas usally need some oil in the dough, in contrast to Varasano’s recipie, in order to achieve optimal crispness.

That said, if you’ve never made a pizza at home, why not give it try. Dough is actually much easier to make than most people imagine and topping the pizzas can be a fun social or family activity.

[tags] Pizza [/tags]

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Responses
Damian 16 years ago

Funny you post this now. I just made and ate some pizza.
I agree on the oven temp, my oven doesn’t cook the dough properly before some of the topings get sogggy. They still taste good though 🙂

I make my own dough, I have a bread making machine that handles all the kneeding and rising for me. Very simple.

Toni 16 years ago

Like Damian, I find this post funny, having just returned from Italy.

From experience, Tuscan pizza is ‘OK’ but doesn’t set our world alight. Toppings tend to the minimal: a smear of tomato, a little ham and a few slivers of mushroom, maybe instead some olives, or maybe some cheese. It isn’t luxury food, and although the bases are quite nice, once they cool then it all gets a little chewy.

We have pizza we’ve made for years now. Pizza base dough freshly mixed and around 3/16″ thick, tomato puree in a thin coating only, tuna (with as much oil as I can get away with) peppers, cheese (at least 100g on a 15″ pizza) and herbs. Bake around 12 min at 200’C.

Sure it’s not a classic, but it does satisfy a family apetite.

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