Pizza. Getting that crust right!

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Pizza is probably the most famous food item from Italy. Although its origin is surrounded by some controversy it is very likely that the pizza was born in Naples. Nevertheless, you can buy incredible pizza everywhere in the country, as well as abroad. I’m lucky enough to have lived more than one year in Italy and have eaten good pizza everywhere from Sicily and Campania through Lazio, Umbria, Tuscany, Emilia-Romagna and all the way to the northern regions of Linguria and Lombardy. One thing that all the great pizzas have had in common has been the crust. Whether you like thick or thin crust, it should be crunchy!

So… How do you get the crust just right? Since most of us do not posses a wood fired pizza oven, I have has set out to demystify the concept of crunchy pizzas. I will explain how you can give your pizzas the most delicious crunchy crust, which will take your pizzas to the next level and give you the authentic feel.

My dad has always been crazy about pizza, which was reflected in my upbringing: home-made pizza every Friday. Having eaten pizza every single Friday for 18 years straight, and having lived in Italy for more than one year I am quite skeptic when it comes to pizza. I am pretty hard to please, which is the reason why I had to hack the secret(s) of crunchy pizza. So what makes a pizza crunchy? Three factors are important: the dough, the baking temperature and the surface. You will need to knead the dough for 15 minutes and then refrigerate it for 18-24 hours. This will create an elastic dough which will become very crispy. In order to boost that crunchiness, you’ll additionally need to heat the oven (or BBQ) to the highest temperature and use a baking/pizza stone – these three little tricks are the secrets that will give your pizza that desired crispiness rather than a soggy, doughy crust.

Pizza dough:

2 tablespoons sugar or honey

½ tablespoon salt

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1,85 dl. warm water

5 dl. all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon instant yeast or 25 grams fresh yeast

a little extra olive oil for coating the bowl and the pizza

Pizza sauce:

Half a can of peeled tomatoes

2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil

1-2 cloves of garlic

Salt & pepper to taste

Toppings:

Fresh mozzarella cheese (not the pre-grated kind)

Basil

Whatever you desire!

Equipment needed:
Pizza stone

Add all the ingredients (except for the flour) for the pizza dough in a bowl and mix together. Gradually work the flour into the mix. Once the dough is uniform remove it from the bowl and kneed for minimum 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl coated in olive oil, cover and refrigerate for 18-24 hours. Make sure that the bowl is big as the dough will rise.

For the pizza sauce add all the ingredients in a blender and blend for half a minute. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Once the dough has been in the fridge for minimum 18 hours kneed the dough again and tear off a piece. Using your hands to stretch the dough into a disc, add a little olive oil to the disc and add pizza sauce and the desired toppings.

Now, if you have a BBQ that would be the first choice although a domestic oven will work as well. If using a BBQ place the pizza stone over the BBQ, heat to around 300 degrees Celsius. Roll out the pizza dough, add toppings and transfer to pizza stone and let the pizzas bake for 5-6 minutes or until the crust has turned crunchy and the cheese has melted. Do not use coal as this will affect the flavor. Use a gas or wood fired BBQ.

If using an oven turn it to its highest temperature and place the pizza stone on the lowest rack in the oven. Once the stone is hot transfer the pizza to the stone and bake for 6-8 minutes or until the crust has turned crunchy and the cheese has melted.

Enjoy!

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