Pizza is an essential dish in a large number of countries around the world, where it is a fundamental part of the gastronomic offer, however, its preparation sometimes seems like a mystery, especially when we try to make it at home. For this reason, the Argentine pizza master Javier Labaké has revealed some tricks to achieve the perfect pizza without having to go to a restaurant.
Labaké is director of the professional school for pizza makers in the Association of Owners of Pizzerias and Empanada Houses (APPYCE) of the South American country; In addition, he was one of those responsible for achieving the Guinness record for the largest number of pizzas made in a period of 12 hours by a team, therefore, he is an authority on the subject and his advice is of great value.
The importance of dough for a perfect pizza
The preparation of the dough is one of the most common inconveniences when preparing pizza at home. Many buy and use ready-made flour mixes, which promise to save time and give results within an hour. This is one of the main reasons why the pizza does not turn out the same as the one at the restaurant. According to Javier Labaké, the dough needs a longer fermentation and maturation time, in addition to respecting the exact measurements of the ingredients.
Wheat flour is produced and sold with one or more zeros and each one has a different use in the kitchen, however, the most suitable for the preparation of this dough is 000 and 0000, since they are the finest or pulverized., in order to obtain a soft and fluffy pizza. However, Labaké explains that you also have to take care of the temperature of the environment, the water and the flour itself.
If the kneading is manual, the temperature is different than if a mechanical process is used, this is very important if we want a lighter dough that allows better digestion. Likewise, it is not recommended to use excess yeast and short fermentation times, since this makes it continue working in our body after consuming it, causing intestinal discomfort.
How does the type of oven used affect the final result?
According to the master pizza maker, it is possible to make high-quality pizzas, whether in an electric oven, a clay oven or a common gas oven, but it will depend on the desired flavor. A vault-type clay oven can give you the characteristic flavor of Italian pizza, but this can also be gas or wood-fired, so the taste may vary.
Some of the best electric ovens of 2022 (here are some options to choose from) have a special function for pizza, which does the job at around 250 ° C in around 10 minutes. This greatly influences the final result, so there are two types of preparation, the first is by placing the dough with all the ingredients and baking the full time, the other is to bake just the dough for a few minutes, then add the ingredients and cook again. bake another period of time. In this case, it is good to try both options to discover the best way, since each oven is different.
Discovering the origins of pizza
Javier Labaké assures that pizza, as we know it today, was created in the city of Naples, Italy, during the 18th century, but has been imposed throughout the world with different variants, depending on the gastronomic culture of the place. However, some historians have claimed that a kind of primitive pizza was already consumed before Christ, consisting of a piece of bread with cheese and spices.
As for the name, the word pizza may come from the Italian verb pinsar, which means to crush or crush, precisely the method used to flatten the dough and transform it into a flat bread before covering it with cheese and putting it in the oven. Although today the pizza is baked on a mold, in the past it was cooked on the stone.
Labaké, who has tried a wide variety of pizzas around the world, says that the cities with the most distinctive pizza today are Naples, Buenos Aires, São Paulo and New York. According to the pizza master, the Neapolitan pizza has a thinner dough and has 100 grams of cheese, while in Buenos Aires it has 300 grams of mozzarella, so it is more substantial.
The secrets of the sauce for a good pizza
The fundamental rule to obtain the best pizza sauce is to use only natural ingredients. In this sense, the tomato must be as fresh as possible, so that it provides its characteristic flavor and avoids acidity. In addition, it is advisable to sift the tomato pulp instead of crushing or blending it.
To add other flavors, it is possible to include olive oil, garlic, basil and oregano. However, some use onion, despite the fact that the original recipe does not have this ingredient, it can give an intense flavor to the pizza that is interesting.
Classic Neapolitan pizza recipe (4 units)
There are many recipes to make different types of pizzas, however, most of them have as main ingredients 1 kg of 0000 wheat flour, 600 ml of cold or hot water, 30 g of salt and 10 g of fresh yeast. It is important to clarify at this point that if you do not have 24 hours for the fermentation of the dough, then you can use 40 g of yeast and reduce the maturation time to 3 hours, however, the quality of the pizza will not be the same.
The first thing is to combine the ingredients until obtaining a homogeneous mass and leave a first period of fermentation at room temperature for 8 hours, then you can divide it into portions of approximately 420 g, wrapping the pieces in plastic wrap, to let it mature in the cold of the refrigerator. for 24 hours. Once this time has elapsed, it will be ready to make the pizzas, but it can still be kept in good condition for two or three more days.
When preparing pizzas, it is necessary to remove the dough from the refrigerator 2 hours before baking, so that it is easier to stretch with your fingers in the molds. While you prepare the other ingredients, you can let the dough rest on the molds for another 30 minutes, to make it more fluffy. Next, it is time to put the sifted tomato sauce with spices to taste and the mozzarella cheese, to take to the oven for about 10 to 12 minutes or until golden brown.