Food brings us comfort during stress and problems, a perfect combination of ingredients on food makes people feel rewarded and happy, and pizza ranks top as the world's favorite comfort food. It tops the list because of its unique ingredient combos, the texture that compliments the taste, and its appealing color that makes us crave more.
It can be served easily on any occasion or when you want it. Pizzas trigger our brain's happy chemicals whether the pie is bought from a store or made at home. This article will help you achieve a great homemade pizza so you can make it when you crave a pie.
A Brief History of Pizza: How It Started
We all know that pizza started in Italy. Its earliest form of pizza is bread baked underneath a fire during the Stone Age, which has been included in the Italian diet since then. It was topped with different ingredients, and I believed that this idea of eating bread as a plate was thrifty and convenient. In general, it is thought that pizza was invented by people who learned to mix flour with water and bake it on fire or hot stones.
During the 19th Century, it became a staple food and was sold in the streets of Naples. It was served as a meal fresh from a baker's oven and topped with simple ingredients. As pizza became popular, large toppings were added to the recipe, and pizza parlors were developed.
It became a well-liked meal among the Italians and the Americans in modern days. Several kinds were made, different toppings were used, and even an opposite of pizza was created – topped with cheese first, toppings, the sauce comes last.
Different Types of Pizza
As time went by and different taste preferences of people have developed, many pizza restaurants have created their recipes with numerous transformations. It was then introduced internationally as flavors have adapted to people's tastes in particular places.
Here is a list of most favorite types of pizza since then until now:
1. Neapolitan Pizza
This traditional pizza originated from Naples and is usually called Pizza Marinara and Pizza Margherita. This type of pizza uses few toppings and is traditionally topped with olive oil. The Marinara only has sauce, garlic, olive oil, basil, and oregano. While the Margherita specifically uses San Marzano tomato sauce, olive oil, Mozzarella di bufala Campana or a buffalo Mozzarella cheese.
If you want to make this at home, you will need to use a 00-flour type and authentic and freshest ingredients available.
2. New York-Style Pizza
The most popular variety of pizza in the USA is the New York Style Pizza. It uses more cheese than the Neapolitan pizza and is baked slightly longer on low fire. Its traditional toppings are only mozzarella cheese and tomatoes.
It is easy to make this recipe at home. Just make your dough right to your preference and use a tomato-based pizza sauce.
3. Chicago Pizza
It is also called deep-dish pizza since it is baked in a pan and has a high crust, and toppings are placed in reverse where you start with cheese, toppings, then the tomato sauce. The traditional toppings include meat, mushrooms, onions, and bell peppers for better flavor.
To make it at home, you need to make the dough rise well and prepare ahead of time since you need to bake it at 35 minutes.
4. Sicilian Pizza
It is quite different from the other pizzas since it is served rectangular and comes on a thick crust. It originated in Sicily with tomato sauce, strong cheeses, anchovies, and herbs.
A well-risen par-baked dough is needed before adding the toppings, which will be baked again to achieve its soft and chewy crust.
5. California Pizza
These pizzas are influenced by Californian cuisine, have more toppings than the other type of pizzas and is served with local and seasonal toppings. Most of its traditional toppings are produced meat and vegetables.
6. Detroit Pizza
Almost similar to the Sicilian pizza, it only differs on the toppings used: cheese, tomato-based pizza sauce, and pepperoni. It is served with a crust with crunchy bottom and edges.
7. St. Louis Pizza
The crust of this pizza is different from the others since brittle, extremely thin, and made without yeast. The cheese used in this kind of pizza is a blended cheese made from Swiss, provolone, and white cheddar.
8. Greek pizza
Greek pizza is usually topped with a thick layer of toppings and a thicker crust compared to Italian pizzas. Greek ingredients are used as toppings such as feta cheese instead of mozzarella, olives, and Greek herbs.
Tips for Making Homemade Pizza
The secret to a perfect homemade pizza is to get the freshest ingredients and prepare ahead of time. A perfectly thawed dough allows you to stretch it perfectly without kneading it too much. Avoid using the rolling pin to stretch. Otherwise, your dough will stick to the surface and a flat crust when cooked. You may brush the outer crust with olive oil to get the perfect crunch and color.
It is also important to pre-heat your oven before baking pizzas.
How do you make homemade pizza?
Homemade pizzas are a lot better than delivered or frozen ones. These are easily made, and you can choose which toppings on your pizza. Also, you can cook it depending on your preference.
You need to identify which ingredients to prepare by deciding what kind of pizza you will be making. A well-heated oven is required for baking pizzas.
A pizza dough recipe requires yeast, flour, water, and olive oil. Some prefer adding salt to their dough for taste. Proper consistency and kneading are the secrets to good pizza dough. Some pizza requires a well-risen dough, which means you need to prepare more time in making a pizza.
What cheese is best for homemade pizza?
The most commonly used is mozzarella cheese since it melts easily without making your pizza oily. It also blends to the flavor of the pizza sauce and toppings. If you want a tastier pizza, you may combine mozzarella with shredded cheddar cheese or parmesan.
For other kinds of pizza such as Greek and St. Louis, feta cheese and prove respectively.
How to Roll Out Pizza Dough
Let your pizza dough sit first a room temperature. It lessens the gluten, which will make your pizza crust tough to chew. A dough made from scratch can be used after it rises, usually 2 hours.
To flatten your dough, press the dough downwards and stretch it outwards until it reaches your preferred diameter. Make sure to stretch it evenly to make the perfect crust shape. Should the dough have thick areas, stretch it more, and for those with holes, pinch the area to cover it.
What are good toppings for homemade pizza?
In general, you need to choose fresh toppings. But for a variety of flavors, choosing toppings for pizza may vary.
If you choose a meaty pizza, you can use pepperoni, sausage, bacon, ham, salami, beef, or chicken. Some people put more mushrooms, onions, peppers, olives, spinach, tomatoes, and other herbs for a healthier option. For Hawaiian pizzas, a pineapple is added as a topping.
You may also make a meat-free pizza using these toppings. It will still be as flavorful as the meaty ones.
What Temperature Do You Cook Homemade Pizza?
Pizzas are often cooked on a standard oven, and for a more special taste, some bake on traditional wood-fired ovens.
Standard temperatures depend on which oven you will use. A brick wood-fired oven sometimes reaches 800°F and cooks pizza in a short time. On a domestic oven, the recommended temperature for baking pizza is 500°F.
Pre-heating the oven is also required for at least 30 minutes. Baking pizza at a higher temperature will make your pizza crust crunchy, improve the taste of the dough, and toppings will be cooked thoroughly and evenly.
How to Par Bake Pizza Crust
Par-baked pizza dough is essential to make your crust crunchy on the outside but soft and chewy on the inside.
To par-bake a crust, brush the dough thinly with olive oil and let it rest for a while, then bake for 5-10 minutes, or until the dough becomes lightly brown. Make sure to pop the air bubbles in the dough while in the oven with a fork to keep the shape of the crust.
Par baked crusts can be stored in a freezer for future pizza baking.
Frequently Asked Questions About Homemade Pizza
When should I cut a pizza?
To cut a pizza perfectly, transfer it to a cutting board and slice it before transferring it to the serving pan. If you use a non-stick pan, cutting pizza on it may pierce the coating and make your pans prone to rusting.
Why isn't my pizza cooked thoroughly?
The usual cause is that the oven is not hot enough to bake a pizza. Have your oven pre-heated at the highest temperature before baking. The hotter the oven, the better the pizza outcome. Please leave it in the oven until the edges and bottom are golden browns.