This post comes to us courtesy of food blogger Margie Tsai.
A few years ago, my husband and I toured through Italy. Our two-week trip took us from Rome, Florence and Venice to the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Italy. After the race, we waited for the crowds to subside in a small pizzeria near the train station. It was the best pizza we have ever had — the crust was thin with the perfect balance of a crispy and doughy texture. The toppings were fresh from the garden. Ever since that trip, we make pizza from scratch every September when we watch the Formula 1 Grand Prix of Italy.
After a few soggy crusts, we decided to buy a pizza stone. Made of a ceramic material that retains oven heat well, the stone helps to ensure a crispy crust. To use it, place the pizza stone in the oven and preheat to 450 degrees; after the oven reaches temperature, wait at least 45 minutes before putting your first pizza in to bake. Making sure the stone is heated to the correct temperature is one of the most important steps to preparing a great pizza.
On our first attempt, we assembled a beautiful pizza on a cutting board and then realized we had no way of getting the pizza onto the stone. Oops. Needless to say, when we finally got the pizza off the cutting board onto the stone, it wasn’t very attractive.
The next day, I bought a pizza peel. Crafted from laminated blonde alder wood, this tool is extremely handy when moving the pizza from a work surface to the oven and back. Dust the pizza peel with cornmeal before you put the dough on it — the cornmeal will prevent the dough from sticking to the peel and assist with sliding the pizza off. Jiggle the peel to make sure the pizza will slide right off. With a little bit of practice, you’ll become adept at sliding the pizza onto the pizza stone.
It’s time to remove your pizza from the oven when the crust is golden brown and the cheese is bubbly. Lift the edge with a pair of tongs and slide the peel underneath. Remove the pizza, slice and enjoy!
Some pizza combinations I like:
- Italian sausage and peppers
- Tomato, fresh mozzarella and basil
- Portobello mushroom and sage
- Caramelized onions and gorgonzola
About the author: Being an engineer at heart, Margie Tsai has developed a passion for kitchen gadgets. Over the years, she has amassed quite a collection and is always on the lookout for new kitchen Tools, Electrics, Cookware or “kitchenTECH”. Margie hopes that someday she will have a gourmet kitchen large enough to house all of her kitchenTECH.