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For those who live their life on social media, it won’t have escaped them that today is, of course, #NationalPizzaDay – that’s National Pizza Day for those of us who don’t speak in hash tags.

As a thoroughly Italian kitchen company, we are the only ones with De Blasio in our name after all, we are more than aware of the joys of a good pizza. Stefano and his family hail from Naples, the home of the pizza but over the years, he, like many, many Italians have had to endure a not so authentic pizza. (The irony in many not enjoying not authentic Italian things is also notable…)

Yes, for years the UK has got it completely wrong about pizza but, it is getting better. Food writer, Nicki Girerson has written about the transformation of pizza culture in the UK and says that things are changing. “You only have to look to cities like London, Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh to see what is happening. Famous pizza chains are struggling with the Neapolitan sourdough variety. People have seen more of the world and low cost flights to Italy in the last decade has made all the difference.”

It does seem like things are taking a turn for the better in the UK and for National Pizza Day we wanted to celebrate the homemade pizza, the ones which families in southern Italy in particular are very accustomed to eating together.

“The idea of the whole family at the table and eating together is a very Italian thing. It’s not that it doesn’t happen in the UK it’s just that in Italy, every meal is an event. The homemade pizzas are still a family favourite even though many have access to great pizza from the pizzeria and for only 3 – 5 euros per pizza, it’s about preserving traditions that the Italians hold dear.”

Homemade pizza can of course, be very hard to get right. It’s not so much complicated, just a process of getting everything ready and using the right kind of equipment.

homemade pizza

The dough
Selecting the right kind of dough is going to affect the cooking process; a dough that is made with fresh yeast will react differently to one made with dry yeast and yes, also one made with sourdough starter if you want the Neapolitan variety.

“Whether it is a dough that is made with fresh yeast or dried, you need to take into account the amount of time required for raising. Sourdough starter varieties have a much longer fermentation so you may not have a sourdough pizza tonight, but one in 48 hours is more likely.”

The Brother partnership behind Pizza Pilgrims in London make the Neapolitan variety and do a really good job it as well. They have however shown us how it is possible to make a great dough at home as well, as making pizza in a frying pan! Don’t believe us? Check out this link.

The toppings
It is not uncommon to fully load your pizza but for a homemade variety, have you considered simplifying things? “Moisture is a killer for the homemade variety, your oven genuinely isn’t hot enough to evaporate it. The other thing is cooking time, you could get a very crispy base before your vegetables are ready. Be sure to pre cook some ingredients before loading them on top of a good tomato base – or if you’re keeping white, be sure to have a very good olive oil to bring out strong flavours.”

One great tip we were shown in Italy was to lightly coat your toppings and, just before you take out the pizza from the oven, grate some parmesan to add that level of sweet and salty to the topping; this works particularly well for those pizzas that are kept rather simple and with a tomato base.

Pizza in the home

The oven
We are of course, big fans of NEFF. We are exclusive partners to the company and we champion their products in our showroom and with our clients. They have great functions etc. The reality is for a great pizza, you want your oven as hot as possible, and 220c is just not hot enough which is why you need to do a bit of oven hacking – tricks – to give you the best chance for a crispy yet, soft and unctuous pizza base; like the Neapolitan variety.

A pizza stone is a great idea, they don’t cost a lot and we would recommend anyone to buy a good sized version, even two to help with cooking. (Make sure you know how big your internal oven measurements are before purchase.) The second thing is choosing the right cooking setting. Oven is perfect, but some ovens like the NEFF hide and slide ovens have a grill and fan option that would be ideal to finish off the pizza after a few minutes of pre-cooking.

The earlier solution, of using a frying pan to cook your pizza is great and the idea of grilling at the end, under the grill function is perfect. Have you ever thought of a cast iron pan? They are expensive but over time develop their own unique flavour and that, for a lot of home cooks is a feature that is most welcomed. Cast iron pans are also the best way to re-heat your pizza on the stove the morning after; avoid the microwave if you want a crispy base.

We hope that these tips are helpful and if you’re looking for the kitchen solution to give you more space to prepare these Italian style feasts, why not give us a call or visit us at our showroom in Waverton!

Buon Appetito!

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