What do I need to prepare Pizza at home? (part 1)
Last Updated on August 22, 2021 by Stefano
When you want to start making pizza at home you immediately have to answer the question “what I need to prepare pizza at home?“. Of course you need the right ingredients and Internet is full of articles, video and more about pizza ingredients. Although not all information are correct and based on reality, you can easily find and buy pizza ingredients. In this article I want to talk about something different. I want to answer to the question “what do I need to prepare Pizza at home” thinking about kitchenware.
In other articles we will go very deep in discussions around pizza ingredients. Indeed I am preparing a series of articles dedicated to every single Pizza ingredient. Before we get there I want to share something more and different.
I am going to share what I think is the kitchenware needed to prepare Pizza. We will explore together what is mandatory to have as well as what is just a nice to have. We will also discuss about what you need for different kind of Pizza. Especially if you want to explore or improve how to cook original italian style pizza we will have to differentiate. And no worries, I am here to share all the proper secrets!
To make it simple I prepared two articles on the kitchenware you need to prepare pizza. We will start with the mandatory equipment and we will go ahead then with a second article where we tlak about the “nice-to-have”.
Are you ready?
Let’s decide what Italian Pizza you would like to prepare
In Italy we have a lot of different kinds of Pizza. To make it simple we will use 2 macro categories: Neapolitan Style Pizza and Pizza in Pan. It is important to decide what kind of italian pizza you want to prepare because some kitchenware required will be different.
Once you identified your favorite Pizza it will be easier to check that you have the right equipment to prepare the pizza dough and to then cook it.
And let’s go directly hands-on Pizza. We need to start from the end, from the cookng part. Why? Because you cannot produce a quality, original Neapolitan Style with a standard oven. But let me explain more in details.
What oven do I need to cook pizza? Can I use the home oven for Neapolitan Pizza?
As I said before, we need to start from the cooking part. Oven makes a huge difference in what Pizza you can prepare and in results you will get out of it. Let me be clear and honest with you: Internet is full of misleading information. So let’s clarify.
If you have a standard oven at home and you live in Europe, you most probably cannot use temperatures that are higher than 250 °C. In other parts of the world may be different and you can reach for example 550 °F. In both scenarios you cannot prepare a proper Neapolitan Style pizza! Yes, you can try as a lot of Youtubers are suggesting, but believe me when I say that the results are not the ones of a Neapolitan Pizza. Why? Simple: you can call Neapolitan Style Pizza the one that takes between 60 and 90 seconds to cook. Believe me when I tell you that without having at minimum 400 °C you will never cook Pizza in such short time.
So, what should you do? Go to your kitchen, check your oven and look at what is the maximum available temperature 🙂 If you have a standard oven we want to concentrate in making Pizza in baking pan or focaccia. This is also typical italian pizza and if you follow me I will explain all secrets to have results like the following:
What do I need to weight ingredients?
I know, you think this can be a stupid question. But no, it is not. It is key answer to question “what do I need to prepare Pizza at home”.
If you look at our Pizza Recipe Calculator and you try to get your Italian Pizza Recipe, you will notice that some ingredients require just a few grams. For example yeast and salt are very often a few grams or even less than a gram (especially in Neapolitan Style Pizza and when you use dry yeast).
So, at the very beginning you can use a standard kitchen scale. You will most probably not be able to be very precise and so you will want to fine tune a bit especially the rising times. Meaning that you will have to test how many hours of rising work for best for you.
If you can, go the extra mile and buy a precision scale. One that can measure with 0.1gr of precision will be perfect. I don’t consider this to really be mandatory but I also do not think it should be mentioned in the “nice-to-have” kitchen tools. It sits in the middle and – considered its low cost – I recommend to have it in your basic pizzaiolo arsenal!
What do I need to mix Pizza ingredients? Get the right bowl!
Once again let’s talk about basics. You do not need a mixer. We will talk about it in the next article. For now let’s focus on mixing ingredients by hand. If you are new to the Pizza world I also recommend you to prepare your Pizza dough by hand even if you have a mixer. I talk about reasons in a dedicated article.
What you really need to mix pizza ingredients by hand is at least one bowl. It has to be big enough to contain all ingredients. I am sure you have some of them already available, but if not this is the time to buy one (or more, better) that will fit the purpose of preparing te pizza!
I tell you what I found the best ones. First of all, I tend to avoid plastic bowls. I don’t like when they get scratched because they can potentially pollute the dough with small plastic parts. So if you have a choice use an aluminum bowl.
Secondly try to get a bowl that is enough heavy. When you will mix Pizza ingredients you want to have as much stability as you can. Morevoer, you will learn a technique that I use to simulate a mixer that requires to turn the bowl continously. Having a light bowl will not help with my method.
Sometimes you find in markets bowls with silicon material on their base. Although silicon helps in getting stability (very useful during the initial phase of mixing), it becomes less confortable during the second phase of the mixing, where we will use my method that requires to continously turn the bowl with one hand. This is really up to you in what phase you prefer to be more effective.
Ideally you want to have a set of bowls of different sizes so that you can confortably prepare the dough depending on how much pizza you are going to have.
This is what I currently use at home:
What do I need to shape and fold Pizza dough?
Shaping and folding Pizza are activities that I consider critical for healthy and tasty Pizza. These actions are happening during different phases of the Pizza preparation and infact they are perfect to serve the question “what do I need to prepare pizza at home”. Right after mixing the ingredients or after the dough rising you are going to shape and fold. And they have something in common: they require a cooktop or a surface where to manipulate the dough!
I am a lucky owner of a stone cooktop that is perfect to fold and also to shape Pizza. But this is not the only option. If you have enough space you can work on any cooktop you already have. The only exception will be if the surface is too rough. For example some ceramic cooktop literally have waves and they are not good.
Another option is to buy a stainless steel cutting/baking board. I love them and I think they are very good if your cooktop is not suitable. My recommendation is to buy one that is big enough also to shape the dough before cooking. So consider to have one wioth one side of at least 60cm.
One more option (the one I also use for shaping the Pizza before transferring it to the baknig pan) is to have a wood baking board. This is a perfect solution for multiple uses with flours. I am using it a lot, for example, when I prepare home made pasta 😉
What do I need for the Pizza dough rising?
Last but not least, after you mixed ingredients then spent time folding the Pizza dough, you have to wait for the rising time. Leavening the Pizza dough is happening in different phases. Yes, even if you want to prepare pizza at home, you really need to pay attention t othe rising phases! I generally do 3 of them. I have an initial rising of the entire dough (in italian is “in massa“), then a second one with the amount of dough that will fit each baking pan or when I create dough balls. Then a third one in case of Pizza in Pan directly into the Pan.
For the first rising “in massa“ – so in a single piece of dough – no matter what is the weight I use a big stainless steel bowl or a big plastic container. In both cases you want to make sure that you have ermetic lids for them and that they can contain two to three times the amount of the used dough. This is because, in case we want to rise at room temperature, we need to make sure the dough will not escape from the container.
Also, for the first rising, if you do not have containers lids you can use cling film or buy online some silicon lids of various shapes that will fit your own container. The latter is my favorite option as we will contribute to the reduction of garbage production.
For the second rising, so the one that is made with the amount of dough you will us in the baking pan or with the dough balls inc ase of Neapolitan Style Pizza, you want smaller containers. Also in this case I recommend plastic containers with ermetic lids. If you have them of the same shape of the baking pan it will be better. Infact you can then shape the Pizza dough for the pan much easier!
Let me share what I am currently using:
So in this dense article I tried to answer the question what do I need to prepare Pizza at home? In the next article of this series we will explore what is “nice-to-have” and not mandatory to start.