I am new to Pizza, where should I start? A practical guide to start making pizza at home (part 2)
Last Updated on June 3, 2021 by Stefano
In the first part of the guide to start making Pizza I told you that I wanted to have a different approach. I still think that a practical and easy homemade pizza guide cannot start without some basics. I am now going to share with you some of them. All are concepts that you want to know even before you take a pizza recipe.
The concepts that I want top share in this practical easy homemade pizza guide are the following:
- folding the pizza dough
- rising the pizza dough
- shaping the dough before cooking
- topping for your homemade pizza
- learn your oven timings
Don’t worry, we are not going to spend too much time on them. If you want to go deeper and improve dramatically your knowledge around the dough just keep following this website. I will be sharing my secrets over the time. For now, for a proper easy homemade pizza guide, will be important to have the fundamentals.
Learn what dough folding means
If you want to have a fluffy pizza or if you like to have big air bubbles in your cornicione, you want to fold the dough. Be suspicious of pizza recipes and guides that are not telling you to fold the dough before rising (at least). I think that a practical and easy homemade pizza guide needs to be clear on that: folding is your key to succeed.
There are several dough folding techniques. Before going there, let me share that you want to do dough folding before putting the dough in a container for fermentation. Also, you want to repeat folding during the dough balls creation. Moreover you want to use folding techniques in case you will start using high hydration pizza recipes.
No matter what folding technique you use, remember that folding the dough will change completely your final result.
In my next articles and Italian Pizza recipes I will be much more specific on how to do pizza dough folding and when. For now just keep in mind that you always do folding before the fermentation at least one time! This is even more important if you are not using a professional mixer.
Maturation of dough and Pizza dough rise: the rule of 3.
One more step that I need to include in my practical and easy homemade pizza guida is about rising and maturing the Pizza dough. I am reading a lot on forums and groups about Pizza and I realized there is often confusion. Let alone not everybody gets the concepts of dough maturation.
Let’s start with pizza dough rising, even if this is actually the process that comes generally after maturation.
Firstly I suggest you to follow what I call “the rule of 3“. What I mean by that is to have the dough rising in 3 different moments. The first dough rising process happens immediately after mixing ingredients and folding. This first rising is very often happening at the same time of maturation. If done with help of controlled temperatures (fridge) the dough it’s not necessarily rising much.
The second dough rise is happening after the maturation, when you prepare the dough balls. In such case You want to dough balls to rise from two to three times their initial shape.
The third and last pizza dough rising is happening when you put the Pizza dough in the baking pan (of course in case of Pizza in Baking pan). Also in this last part you want to have the dough to rise again in the pan before cooking it. We will see that this part has some challenges (Pizza can stick to the pan), but we will learn how to fix them.
Before or contextually to the the dough rising, we have to mature the dough. This process requires at least for 24 hours. Reason is linked to chemical processes involved when mixing ingredients. I am not going to explain them now, just please keep this information in mind: do 24 hours of dough maturation every time you can, taking advantage of the fridge to slow down or stop the rising process.
Shaping the dough for the pan
In my previous article I recommended to start with Pizza in baking pan if you are new to the Pizza world. A decent practical easy homemade pizza guide needs also to introduce you to dough shaping. In this specific case I am referring to prepare the dough for the Pizza Pan.
I will be not talking about making the dough balls for Neapolitan pizza. However I will be telling you small secrets to make sure the dough will fit the baking pan perfectly. Remember that shaping the Pizza for the baking pan is one more critical aspect of a perfect Pizza.
So, first: buy some Semola rimacinata or rice flour. These are the best to have a crunchy and not sticky pizza! You will use them only to shape the dough before putting it the baking pan.
Second secret: try to put the dough for the second rise in a rectangular or round container according to what is the shape of your baking pan. This will make incredibly easier to put create the shape of pizza for cooking it!
Topping for your Pizza
If you are just starting making pizza, go for a simple topping. My recommendation is to use a very simple one: only peeled tomatoes. You can prepare them in advance crushing them by hands and adding some salt.
Then a bit of oregan and you will have a fantastic Italian Pizza in baking pan! But I want to share the secret for the topping: don’t exaggerate with quantity! Just cover the entire surface of Pizza with a thin layer. Then some extra virgin olive oil and you are ready to go to oven!
Once again, to be practical and have easy homemade pizza guide, I want to give you keys to start. Step by step you will become a great homemade pizzaiolo but you want to start small.
Learn your oven, measure times and temperatures
There is nothing to do: each oven is different. Cooking a pizza is not only about selecting the temperatures. You want to learn how fast and strong your oven is in real life scenario. What I understood after years of experience, failures and success, is that you have to be clever.
My secret to cook the pizza perfectly is to take a timer (you can use an application on your smartphone or a kitchen timer) and start measuring the time pizza is cooking. Once you take it out, check if it’s the way you want it and take note of the time. If the result is not ideal, for the next time try to add or remove a minute to the cooking time, for example. So, you want to experiment with your oven.
Also remember that the cooking time changes a lot according go the topping you have. The more ingredients you add, the more will be complicated to find the right cooking times. That is why I said before to start with a simple topping 🙂
With this article I tried to share with you all the secrets that will drive your experience towards the right direction. Actually these are all small tips that I always dreamed to have in a practical easy homemade pizza guide