Following the Perfect Pizza Rules is akin to "coloring within the lines." You don't have to, but it's a lot better if you do. These 6 easy, professional tips can help you produce gourmet pizza in your own home.
The great Combo Ideas that follow may get you started in the right direction for thinking outside the pizza box.
Perfect Pizza Rule #1:
There is a specific order of assembly:
Sauce, Cheese, Toppings, Cheese, Garnish.
Oil, Cheese, Toppings, Cheese, Oil, Garnish.
Two or three tablespoons of sauce are all you need for a small
pizza. Spread it on with a large spoon. Or, apply oil to the dough with a
pastry brush and drizzle a little more on the top of the pizza, if
desired. (Watch out for chili oil, it's hot.) Apply half the cheese over
the sauce or oil, and half on top. Apply garnishes, if any, after the
pizza is cooked.
Pizza Rule #2:
Spread sauce, oil and toppings only within the rim of the crust.
Never cover your pizza dough clear to the edge; it's just not done in polite circles.
Pizza Rule #3:
All ingredients on your pizza should finish cooking at the same time.
If need be, pre-cook toppings that take longer to cook, like bell peppers. Likewise, pre-cook foods that tend to get watery, like eggplant and thick-sliced mushrooms, unless you want pizza soup.
Cool all cooked ingredients before applying them to the dough.
Hot toppings on pizza dough will ruin the dough. Again, pizza soup.
Perfect Pizza Rule #5:
Less is more.
Avoid putting 'some of everything' on your pizza. As a rule, use only 2 or 3 well-chosen toppings. There are always exceptions, though.
And Rule #6:
Bake your pizzas in a very hot oven.
A 500° oven is perfect. A lower temperature is OK if your oven doesn't go that high; just cook it a little longer. If you want that crisp, restaurant-quality pizza crust in your own home, cook your pizza on a pizza stone.
A pizza peel is a handy tool, too, for transferring your
pizzas to and from the oven. A Pizza Stone and Peel Set is inexpensive
and adds professional pizazz to the occasion.