What have you been making the most during quarantine? I see many people have been baking sourdough, which to be honest I can’t wait to start as soon as my starter is strong. But in the meantime, what I’ve been baking at least twice a week is pizza. I’ve simply become smitten with it. And after trying different methods, I finally came across the best pizza recipe. It come es via Roberta’s Pizza in Brooklyn, and it’s simply fantastic. The dough itself, is thin and pliant, tender and chewy. Most of all, it’s extraordinarily flavourful, and will last in the refrigerator for up to a week. So before we get started, there’s a few elements that need to be in place in order to set you for pizza success.
What you’ll need to make the best pizza recipe
There are a few tools that will ensure the pizza making process is an easy one, and like with anything you bake, the measurements need to be accurate. These are the tools I have at home and all of them are affordable.
Digital Kitchen Scale:
I couldn’t stress enough how important a scale is. When it comes to baking pizza, you want to measure your flour in grams. Using a measuring cup will more than likely, end up by having more flour in your recipe than what its called for. If you don’t have one yet, I would seriously consider ordering one online. They range in price, but go as low as $10.00. If you want to try this recipe and don’t have one at home, spoon the flour into the measuring cup and level it with a knife.
When I first started baking pizzas, I bought a pizza stone. Within a few years, I had to keep replacing them. You see, to make sure your pizza dough cooks evenly and fast, the oven hast be heating for an hour at its highest temperature (usually 500 F or 550 F) before baking the pizza. The problem with a pizza stone is that it can’t simply withstand that amount of heat, and after a few uses it will break. So I decided to invest in a durable baking steel instead. Not only it will last you a lifetime, but it has a much greater thermal conductivity as well. Meaning that it retains heat more evenly and for longer than a baking stone does, and cooks the pizza faster and more effectively. On top of that, you can also use the baking steel to bake rustic breads. Mine is from Baking Steel and you can find the one I have here.
A must to transfer your pizza to and from the oven. Again, they range in price. I have a wooden one that has lasted for years and was not expensive.
These tools will make the process of baking the best pizza recipe, simple and stress free. And believe me when I tell you, it’s worth it.
Flour and Water. Making the dough.
To make the best pizza recipe, you only need a handful of ingredients. Let’s start with the flour. Roberta’s recipe calls for all-purpose flour, as well as 00 flour. Dopio zero or 00 flour is available in many supermarkets or can be ordered online. It is finely ground and has a lower gluten content than most flours. Using both flours mixed together will give your dough that desired pliancy that’s key on pizza. I love using the 00 flour from Flourist. It’s handcrafted, made from organically grown durum wheat from Alberta, and has a wonderful aroma. Flourist ships within Canada and the U.S.
The rest of the ingredients are water, salt, yeast and olive oil. The water must be lukewarm to help the yeast do its work. As for the salt, Kosher or sea salt are the way to go. For yeast, The recipe calls for just a bit of active dry yeast, and finally, you want to use a good quality olive oil which will give your pizza dough a rich taste and depth of flavour.
Pre- heating the Baking Steel and oven heat
You’ve probably gone to your favourite pizza place and seen that they have a beautiful wood- fired oven. These ovens heat up to 900 degrees and usually cook pizzas in 90 seconds. As home ovens get up to 500 F to 550F, heat yours to its highest temperature with the baking steel already in it. And let it heat for an hour. I like placing mine on its lower rack. Having the steel heated guarantees your pizzas will cook evenly and only take about four to five minutes to bake.
Pizza Sauce 101
This pizza sauce is my absolute go-to. It’s simple, super flavourful, and has only a few ingredients. I like using half a can of san Marzano tomatoes, or a small can of Mutti finely chopped tomatoes. If you use the San Marzano tomatoes, just blend them a bit before making the sauce.
See my recipe for the pizza sauce below
3 tbsp extra- virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 can (398 mL) finely chopped tomatoes
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Pinch of sugar
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
In a small pot, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir constantly for 30 seconds. Then pour the chopped tomatoes, oregano, salt, sugar and cook over medium heat for heat for 3 minutes. And finally, add the basil and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Remove form the heat and set aside. The sauce can be made a day ahead of baking your pizzas and you can also freeze it up to a month. I top my pizzas with mo more than 3 tablespoons of sauce.
I like to keep my ingredients very simple. And that’s one of the reasons why I love a good Margherita (fresh mozzarella, the pizza sauce I’ve added above and a few basil leaves) My family also loves fresh mushrooms, so we usually bake a Mushroom pizza too. All you need to do is to cook about 2 1/2 cups of mixed mushrooms (shiitake, cremini and oyster, to name a few) in 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add 1 clove of finely minced garlic as well as salt and pepper to taste. Cook until the mushrooms are golden. Once the pizza is baked, you can even add a few dollops of fresh pesto to it.
You can use a variety of cheeses on your pizzas but I’m partial to Fresh mozzarella. As fresh mozzarella is high in water content, and it comes packed in water or whey, I like to take it out of its container and wrap it in a thick dish cloth for at least 30 minutes to take some of its moisture out. That way when the pizza is baking, the cheese melts without leaving a little pool of liquid.
Once you top the pizza with the sauce, add pieces of fresh mozzarella or any other toppings you’re using. I personally like to brush the crust with a bit of olive oil. It’s not absolutely necessary, but I find that it gives it such a nice colour and flavour.
The Best Pizza Recipe step- by- step
One thing I’ve heard from friends that haven’t made pizza before, is that they feel intimidated by the process. Let me ease your apprehension once and for all. It only takes ONE easy to follow recipe and see how well it works, to throw all that fear away. Like I mentioned at the beginning, the recipe I’m using comes from Roberta’s Pizza and you can find it below. After baking pizza at home for so many years and not really being happy with the results, I now stick by this recipe as well as Baking Steel’s 72 hour pizza dough
The Best Pizza Recipe
4 hours and 20 minutes
- 153 grams 00 flour (1 cup plus 1 tablespoon)
- 153 grams all-purpose flour (1 cup and 2 teaspoons)
- 8 grams (1 teaspoon) sea salt
- 2 grams (3/4 teaspoon) active dry yeast
- 4 grams extra-virgin olive oil
- In a large mixing bowl, combine flours and salt.
- In a small mixing bowl, stir together 200 grams ( a little less than a cup) lukewarm tap water, the yeast and the olive oil, then pour it into the flour mixture. knead with your hands until combined, approximately 3 minutes. Let the mixture rest in the bowl (covered by a tea towel) for 15 minutes.
- Knead the rested dough for 3 minutes, cut into 2 equal pieces and shape each into a ball. Place on a heavily floured surface, cover with a dampened cloth and let rest for 3 to 4 hours at room temperature, or 8 to 24 hours in the refrigerator. If you refrigerate the dough, remove it 30 to 45 minutes before begin to shape it for pizza.
- To make pizza, place each dough ball on a heavily floured surface and use for fingers to stretch it, then your hands to shape it into rounds. Top with sauce and toppings. Transfer to the pre heated oven and bake for 4 to 5 minutes. Remember to pre-heat the oven to its highest temperature, with the baking steel on the lowest rack for an hour before baking the pizzas.
See this video of Anthony Falco, from Roberta’s pizza, giving a step-by step of his pizza making process