Three Tips For Great Homemade Pizza

Making pizza at home can be fun for the entire family, but it can also be a lot of work for nothing if it doesn't turn out right. Here are three ways to make sure your pizza is a pie to die for.

The Right Flour for the Right Dough

A perfect pizza starts with a perfect dough, and using all-purpose flour is not going to get you that crispy texture most people love. For a crunchy crust, use bread flour. Bread flour has lots of protein and gluten, so it will make a nice, dense crust. On the other hand, if you like a softer, chewier crust, then all-purpose flour is the way to go, especially if you're making a deep-dish or Chicago-style pizza. In addition to the flour, make sure your dry yeast isn't expired and you use a good quality olive oil and sea salt. If you have the time, make the dough, and then let it slow rise in the refrigerator for a day or two. You'll get a better texture and deeper flavor profile.

Keep the Sauce Simple

Unlike pasta sauces, pizza sauce isn't typically cooked. If you buy it pre-made in a can at the grocery store, though, that's exactly what you'll end up with, a cooked sauce that doesn't taste very fresh.

While fresh tomatoes can be used, they tend to make a watery sauce, so this is one time where canned tomatoes are actually better. The best sauce is the simplest, and like the dough, only has a few ingredients. Use San Marzano tomatoes, which are a little bit sweeter than regular tomatoes. If you like a thicker sauce, drain the tomatoes first.

To make the sauce, throw a large can of tomatoes and six cloves of peeled garlic in a food processor. Add a drizzle of olive oil and a healthy splash of aged balsamic vinegar, and give it a whirl. Season with sea salt and cracked black pepper to taste. That's it. No other seasoning is needed, and your sauce will actually taste garden fresh because it's not getting cooked.

Turn Up the Heat

Make sure your oven thermostat is as high as it will go, usually 550 degrees on residential ovens. Let your oven preheat for about 30 minutes so it is good and hot. The best pizza cooks fast, only about 7-8 minutes, in a really hot oven. If you have a pizza stone, preheat that as well.

If you don't have the time to try your hand at pizza from scratch, don't worry, your favorite pizza restaurant in Calgary will always be there.