It's shocking the number of people who've never tried making pizza in a home oven and will tell you that you're never making pizza in a home oven. Don't believe them...
The reason I'm sharing my answer to a question on Quora is because it's going crazy there, and maybe you need to see it. The question was, "Why does homemade pizza never taste the same as pizza from a restaurant? Am I missing some secret ingredient or method?" I read the answers people had given this person, and I was appalled. It was a parade of negativity and ignorance. Only a couple of voices offered something worthy, and those answers were incomplete. So, I wrote the following...
You can make homemade pizza that tastes fantastic. My homemade pizza tastes better than a lot of pizza restaurants. (That’s one of the reasons why, after 20 years of doing it, I’ve written a book about how to do it.) It also seems most of the answers to this question are from people who apparently never make pizza at home, and know only why they can’t make pizza at home. Even a chef told you it’s not possible. If it’s not possible, explain this photo:
That’s a photo [at the top of the page] of homemade pizza direct from my own crappy consumer oven. I’m also going to get a lot of grief from purists because this is an AMERICAN-style pizza. There’s nothing traditionally Italian about this except for the San Marzano tomatoes, which taste fantastic. Otherwise, homemade dough. Homemade sauce. Low-moisture mozzarella cheese, Romano cheese, pepperoni and mushroom. No, it’s not a Neapolitan-style pizza, which does require a 900-degree oven. But it is good, solid, American-style pizza that you can make yourself and will make you (and your friends and/or family) very happy.
Yes, high heat is key. That’s why you use a baking stone, a cast iron pizza pan (which is not truly a pan), or a baking steel. I generally use a 16-inch square steel, 3/8 of an inch thick, heated for an hour in a 550-degree oven. It gets to over 615 degrees. When you put in a raw pizza and switch the oven to broil, it mimics the thermodynamics of a pizza oven. The result is a killer pizza.
Homemade dough fermented in the refrigerator for three days is also important. Same-day dough will not yield a very tasty crust. Giving the yeast time to get busy in there is key. (A couple of answers talked about this, and they are dead-on right. This is very important.)
And know that less is more. Do not use too much sauce or too many toppings. Someone’s answer talked about putting a cup of sauce on a 16-inch pizza, and that’s way too much. It’ll depend on your sauce, but 1/3 to 1/2 a cup should be plenty.
It’s a simple craft that you can learn. You can use your skills to amaze and delight people. Everybody is happy when they’re eating pizza. If you seek out the right book, it will teach you how to make great pizza at home. All you need is the desire and a few simple tools. Good luck!
And that was my answer to the Quorans. What I didn't tell them but I can tell you is that if you want to know more about making pizza, there's a very simple and direct guide to doing so right here, at www.FreeThePizzaBook.com.
Blaine Parker is the award-winning author of the bestselling, unusual and amusing how-to pizza book, Free The Pizza. Also known as The Pizza Geek and "Hey, Pizza Man!", Blaine is fanatical about the idea that true, pro-quality pizza can be made at home. His home. Your home. Anyone's home. After 20 years of honing his craft and making pizza in standard consumer ovens across the nation, he's sharing what he's learned with home cooks like you. Are you ready to pizza?
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