For a lot of home cooks, excellent homemade pizza is the ultimate achievement. It’s a lot trickier than it seems to actually get it). (There are people around who’ve gone to all kinds of lengths to get the correct taste, from purchasing flour specially from Italy to modifying their electric ovens to cook at the temperatures you expect out of a traditional wood fired oven. To have delicious pizza at home, however, it isn’t necessary to do all that much. Just make sure that you’re using a top quality cooking method, and pay attention to a few things. You would never get a great crust at 300 degrees, in any case.
Try to stick to a high-gluten flour, and allow it to rise properly, to avoid soft, “bready” crusts. Because of how they’re made, quick crusts, mixes that include yeast but no baking powder, and pizza crust in a can are all likely to produce a low quality result. You are going to end up with some fairly lousy pizza if you do not use a fairly strong flour, and give the yeast time to work. If you want a great pie, don’t take shortcuts.
Avoid low quality ingredients generally, too. The taste will be noticable, even if you do get a bargain on inexpensive cheeses and sauces. Low quality sauces may include too many fillers, or taste too sweet, and many cheap cheeses won’t melt quite correctly. You already know how to identify a great pizza, I’m sure. It could be the quality of your ingredients that is the at cause, if things do not seem quite right. After all, no pizza can be better than what you put into it.
Use the right recipe, and think about what you’re trying to make. There are all kinds of pizzas out there, from thin New York style pizza to crispy, cracker-like Neapolitan, heavy Chicago deep-dish, and many more. If you’re using a recipe intended to make one type, but you’re trying to produce another, you’re not going to end up with anything great. Take a look at what you like in a pizza before you start cooking. Time and time again, it’ll help you end up with delicious pies.
Last, but not least – bake the pizza correctly. Never use a low-temperature oven to produce anything but a pre-baked freezer pizza, and do not expect that to be a good one. High baking temperatures give pizza its characteristic flavor and texture. Does that mean you have to rig your oven to bake at 900 degrees? Not at all! Use the highest setting on your oven (ideally a wood or gas oven), or purchase a countertop pizza cooker that’ll produce the ideal temperature and texture each and every time. These devices may take up a bit of space, but they are consistent in making great tasting pizza, and often result in great pizza in much faster time than conventional ovens.
You do not have to go overboard, but it may take a bit of work to make good pizza at home. Just get the right ingredients, a good recipe, and the right baking method. You will never be stuck with lousy homemade pizza again!