5 Tips for Cooking the Perfect Pizza

5 Tips for Cooking the Perfect Pizza - Premium Pizza Ovens

Cooking pizza is an exciting challenge but not as tricky as many suppose. With the fitting instructions and techniques, you can cook a perfect pizza in the comfort of your home, using your standard indoor oven. An outdoor wood-fired brick oven and fresh ingredients will bring out the authentic flavors, crispy crusts and toppings akin to Italian pizzerias. Make sure you pay attention to all of the details, pick the right ingredients and use the best pizza recipes. Below is a look at five tips for cooking the perfect pizza:

1.     Measure Your Ingredients

Preparing pizza is a delicate process as everything must be precise to achieve an authentic result. One of the common mistakes people make when cooking a pizza is forgetting to measure their ingredients, as stated in the recipe. Unless you have experience preparing pizza, you need to measure everything with a scale. If you mess up the dough, you can forget about a perfect pizza, so make sure you get the right scale, measuring cups, and spoons. Pizza recipes have special measurement instructions, so you should take time to learn how to read baker's recipes and percentages.

For instance, a recipe may call for 60% water, 2% salt, and 0.5% yeast. This measurement translates into 600 grams of water, 20 grams of salt, and 5 grams of yeast for every 1,000 grams of flour. Other recipes are more straightforward, so you can directly apply the measurements using your measuring cups and table/teaspoons. Perfect pizzas require precise measurement for all ingredients. Otherwise, you'll mess up the dough or flavor. Once you have the scale-out, measure all ingredients and set them aside to achieve an even temperature for better mixing and kneading.

2.     Knead/Spread with Your Hand

The dough is everything in a pizza and must be handled delicately to achieve the best results. Kneading too much will result in hard, chewy crusts, so make sure you don’t over handle the dough. Using a kneading machine may offer convenience and take effort, but you run the risk of over-kneading. It's advisable to use your hands when kneading the dough to tuck in as much gas as possible for those light-airy crusts. The same goes for rolling. Instead of using rolling pins, spread the dough using your hands.

Spreading the pizza dough with a rolling pin will release the gas you just spent several minutes trying to tuck in. Use some olive oil on the surface and your hands to spread the dough. It prevents the dough from sticking and makes it easier to manipulate. Next, use your hands to press the dough into a flat shape and stretch the edges with your fingers. Pick the dough by its corners and let the rest hang/pull to the desired thickness without being too thin in the middle. You should evenly stretch to make the perfect pizza dough.

3.     Limit the Sauce and Paste

Tomatoes are a crucial ingredient in pizzas and make a big difference in the taste. Some people use tomato paste and sauce instead, but as many chefs reiterate, nothing beats fresh tomatoes. Moreover, store-bought tomato pastes lack the natural flavor of fresh tomatoes and tend to feature additives and preservatives. If you must use tomato paste, make one from scratch using fresh tomatoes. This method allows you to incorporate more onions and garlic to bring out the best flavor. Still, you should limit the tomato paste to a minimum, and the same goes for sauces.

Using too much sauce on your pizza is a recipe for disastrous outcomes. The dough will take longer to cook properly, which means other ingredients may get overcooked. Too much sauce also makes loading and unloading the dough from the oven difficult, and your pizza slices will spill the ingredients everywhere. Many chefs experienced in cooking pizza say the sauce should "kiss the dough," so a spoonful is enough. If you can finger paint with the sauce, you've used too much and might be in for disappointing results if you don't cut back.

4.     Don’t Overload the Toppings

The dough gets all the praise, but your pizza toppings are just as essential. All ingredients should work well together, and none should overwhelm the others. It's common for first-time pizza makers to add every ingredient they love for a giant topping, but the experts know less is more. To avoid creating a soggy mess, the general rule of thumb is four to five toppings per pizza. You can use standard recipes to identify popular toppings added by experienced chefs and work in your favorite flavors without overloading the pizza. Start simple and layer up your toppings to reveal the meat, vegetables, and sauce instead of piling everything together.

5.     Cook at High Temperatures

One advantage of wood-fired brick pizza ovens used in traditional pizza cooking is the high temperatures they can achieve and maintain. They can cook pizzas for 2-3 minutes under high temperatures up to 900 degrees Fahrenheit! You can still achieve decent outcome cooking with a standard oven but you need to set the temperature to at least 400 degrees Fahrenheit. The recommended temperature is 400 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit for a standard oven, but if you can achieve higher, go for it. Make sure you preheat the oven until it's hot enough before placing the pizza, and avoid opening the door as it allows heat to escape. If your oven is fan-assisted, reduce the temperature by 20 degrees Celsius.

The temperature should also be higher if you have a thinner crust to crisp faster and lock in the soft dough inside. Standard home ovens will rarely result in the perfect pizza because most max at 500 degrees Fahrenheit. To make up for the low temperatures, you can use a pizza stone/steel. It is a thick piece of stone or steel you place inside the oven when preheating. The stone will absorb more heat and result in higher temperatures required to cook the perfect pizza. Simply place your prepared pizza dough on the hot pizza stone to remove the moisture and form a crispy crust. You can even convert your barbecue into an affordable backyard pizza oven with Cuisinart's Grill Top Pizza Oven Conversion Kit!


Cooking a pizza requires keenness and going easy on the ingredients. Even with the perfect measurements, flavors, and equipment, it's still possible to get things wrong. You can use a pizza recipe and start small to avoid wasting your ingredients if it's your first time. Ultimately, you'll get better with the more pizzas you cook. Simply try this recipe to begin!

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