Updated notes on my attempts to make the perfect home-made Pizza.
I’ve been making a lot of Pizza and things have moved on massively since my original article documenting the process.
Again the aim isn’t for the best pizza ever but rather something that’s good that I can make using easily available ingredients that I can grab from the local grocery store.
After lots of experimentation this is my current method that seems to work well for us.
Ooni Pizza Oven
The single biggest level-up for my pizza making abilities was upgrading to a wood-fired Ooni Karu 12 — Multi-Fuel Pizza Oven.
The big advantage the Ooni has is that its able to get up to much, much higher temperatures and cooks the pizza evenly. Being wood-fired also helps with South Africa’s dreaded loadshedding as well. Another bonus is that its “portable” or at least semi-portable which means that I could take it with to make pizza at friends etc.
It was an expensive purchase but well worth it, I got mine from Yuppiechef although I have noticed the price has gone up by about R2000 since I purchased mine.
For a long time I used a “New York” style pizza dough recipe, however I found with the Ooni I didn’t get as good results. I tried using the dough calculator in the Ooni app for a while, tweaking various parameters and that worked pretty well and if I’m using expensive flour that still gives the best results.
My goto recipe though is from Pizza Dough Calculator - Make Authentic Neapolitan Pizza Recipes Easy!
Most weekends I use the following parameters in the calculator:
- 759g White bread flour
- 17g salt
- 1 packet instant yeast. (Found Anchor Yeast, purple sachet works best)
- 440g lukewarm water
I start off by mixing the water and the yeast together. I let this sit for 10-15min, you should see little bubbles etc as the yeast wakes up and starts doing its thing.
Next add the flour and the salt and mix. I tend to mix with a spatula or wooden spoon until I can’t stir anymore.
Next I’ll start working the dough in the bowl, this gets messy, and then move to doing it on a counter top adding some flour when necessary (add the four slowly though). I try do a stretchy like motion to the dough and then folding it back on its self.
Once you have a big ball and its all mixed together, I cover the bowl and leave it out for a few hours then come back later to divide the bigger ball into 6-8 smaller balls of dough. These I’ll leave for another hour or so until I’m ready to use it.
If I’m making the night before I’ll put the big ball in the fridge overnight and then take it out in the morning to warm to room temperature and then I’ll divide it into balls.
This video has some great info on how to shape a good dough ball for your Pizza.
In my previous write-up I mentioned how I make my tomato sauce for the pizza, but I’ve gotten lazy and now just buy ready made Passata. A family favourite is Passata Rustica Basil or Crushed Tomato with Basil 340 ml | Woolworths.co.za otherwise this one is pretty good and we’ll just add some loose basil Tomato Purée 660 ml | Woolworths.co.za Other stores sell similar ones as well.
Making the Pizza
Ensure that your dough is at room temperature before making your base.
I tend to use a variation of the ones explained in this video
Once I have the base done I put it on a Bamboo cutting board with a little flour under it so that it slides off easily.
I’ve found that the pizza slides off wood better than other surfaces and don’t yet own a wooden Pizza peel.
Cooking the Pizza
With the Ooni I’ve found the best temperatures to cook at is around 450-500deg C and you want rolling flames across the top. An IR thermometer is a game changer as it allows you to easily tell what the current temp is and if its ready.
Cooking times vary, but normally its about 20-30s and then I turn it round and put it back for 20-30s. This depends a lot on the current temp of the base as well as if you’ve got decent flames or not. I suggest leaving 5-10 minutes between pizzas so that it can heat up again.