All hail to pizza!

All hail to pizza!

Today is the day to celebrate and pay homage to the doughy disc of infinite variety - pizza. It’s come a long way from its 18th century Italian roots to becoming a worldwide favourite dish.  Five billion pizzas are sold worldwide every year and nearly half of us Brits eat pizza at least once a week. So, it’s no surprise that this national treasure has a day in its honour.  

We’re chuffed that our Mighty White Bread Flour is proving hugely popular in the pizza community with trusted pizza aficionados saying they are making the best dough with it. Just take at look at these stunning creations from @dough_and_behold

How to make the best pizzas

Here are some top tips from our pizza expert fan-base:

Give your dough time.  It makes all the difference putting your dough in the fridge for up to 3 days ahead. The minimum time is 24 hours for a cold ferment. The whole process results in gluten forming, which helps gives the pizza a nice, airy dough and improved flavour.  Pop it in a sealable container and refrigerate it for a few days - the wait is worth it.

Choose the right flour – ours of course!

Flour is the main ingredient in pizza dough, and the type you use can have a big effect on the end result. Whilst you might be thinking you’ve got to get hold of Tipo 00 flour, our white flour has just as much gluten and has been proven to work really well. If you want a chewier crumb and a better hole structure, grab your bag here.

Use high hydration

The best place to start is 60% hydration – that’s 600g of water for 1000g of flour. This level of hydration will be easier to handle, firmer and not so sticky as higher hydration doughs. It will give you an open crumb structure and a crispy base. The more experienced you get, you can try upping this to 65%, even 70%.  Whilst the dough will be harder to handle – it will be stickier and more relaxed – you’ll have a much lighter and softer pizza.

Always shape your dough into a ball

If you don’t and leave it as it is, it will simply spread and have no tension.  When you bake it, the dough will spread even more and have little rise.  Shaping your dough into balls before you ferment it, will help keep the air pockets there, so you won’t get a flat pizza.  Plus, it makes it much easier to make it into a round shape.

Don’t stretch cold dough

If you take dough straight out of the fridge its coldness makes the gluten contract and the dough tighten. This makes it very hard to stretch as it springs back into a ball.  Also, if you put it in the oven cold, the crust tends to spring up too much, creating an overly large one. To avoid this, leave your pizza dough balls covered on the worktop for at least an hour once you’ve taken them out the fridge.

Use a stone or a steel

It might mean forking out initially on a bit of equipment but it will revolutionise the result. A good, heavy baking stone can hold tons of heat energy, releasing it rapidly into a pizza as it bakes, giving you a crisper crust and better oven spring. But a steel conducts heat better so it heats up quicker, and then transfers more heat to the pizza, making it crispier and cooking faster. We recommend these baking steels - @josephdanielsbakeware

Don’t over knead

As a general rule of thumb, knead your dough for 2 – 3 minutes, rather than 5 – 8, as you would for bread.  You want the ingredients thoroughly mixed but not a completely smooth and stretchy dough.  The windowpane test where you stretch out a small part of the dough so thin you can see through it without breaking is not necessarily applicable here.  If you have kneaded so much that you can do this, you might find that you have over kneaded it.  This results in the gluten being too strong and stretching it out will be difficult. Plus, you’ll get a tighter crumb.

Avoid really wet sauces

That might sound crazy as all tomato-based pizza sauces are wet but avoid using one that is too watery.  Pizzas are not in the oven for a long time and if you use an overly wet sauce the oven doesn’t have enough time to dry it out so the top gets soggy. This affects the base and crust too – it won’t get crispy if that is what you are going after. Use good quality tomatoes, dry mozzarella and precook any vegetables.

There’s no better time to master the art of your own pizza making.  It’s an every occasion food that pretty much everybody likes, is endlessly adaptable and doesn’t require the specialist stuff sourdough does. If the pizza crowd reckon our flour gives the best results, then you’d better try some yourself!

And if you don't believe us, check out these accounts on insta: