Are there many meals as delicious as a homemade pepperoni pizza, fresh out of the oven? Not really. Some people like the greasiness of a pizza delivered from the local shop, while others prefer the gourmet delicacy of a pie from an artisan pizzeria; either way, the comforting taste and warm, melting cheese, fluffy dough and zesty tomato sauce is the perfect meal.
But, while pizza may be a very simple dish consisting of just a few ingredients (dough, cheese, sauce, toppings if desired), there’s actually quite a bit of work that goes into creating the perfect pizza – especially if you are making the dough yourself. If pepperoni is on the menu, you’re looking at a few more tricks and necessary steps. Here are some important things you need to know about creating the perfect pepperoni pizza at home.
1. Salt that Dough
Salt is an important part of dough for two reasons; one, it helps it rise and get the proper texture when baking. Two, it adds some flavor. Dough is little more than bread, but it doesn’t have to be boring or the least exciting part of the pizza, as many people think. Adding salt can help bring out the flavor of the dough – and the sauce, too.
2. Crank Up The Heat
Making the perfect pizza requires heat – and a lot of it, which is why you’ll want to crank the temperature in your oven up as high as it will go. A traditional, wood-fired, brick pizza oven can get up to 800F, baking a pizza thoroughly in just a couple minutes.
Your oven likely can’t quite reach a temperature that extreme, ovens will still likely reach around 550F – maybe 600F at the most. Crank it all the way up and let it preheat for a while.
3. Use A Pizza Stone
If you are using your regular oven, you’ll also want to get your hands on the best pizza stone you can find.
A pizza stone will – in conjunction with the hottest temperature your oven can handle – give you the crispy, flavorful crust that so characterizes a delicious pizza. By transferring heat to the crust much faster and more evenly than your oven rack can, a pizza stone imitates the surface and cooking properties of a brick oven, and helps your crust cook perfectly and evenly all throughout.
Be sure to let the pizza stone heat up adequately, too; it can take a full 30-45 minutes in the oven for it to reach the blazing hot, even temperature you need for the perfect crust. So plan ahead and prepare to pre-heat, and you’ll avoid the soggy, half-done crust that often accompanies homemade pizza.
4. Put The Pepperoni On Top Of The Cheese
Some people think putting the cheese over the toppings is better, and if you like it that way, sure. But by putting the pepperoni on top of the cheese, you’ll actually improve the pizza’s taste; the heat of the oven will help release all the oils in the pepperoni, bringing them to the surface and helping accentuate the pepperoni’s flavor against the cheese and crust, resulting in a perfect slice. If you put the slices of pepperoni under the cheese, the melting cheese will prevent this, resulting in very different flavor and a bit more of a goulash texture as the finished product.
5. Don’t go Crazy With The Toppings
This is a pepperoni pizza you’re making, not a Meat Lover’s. Not that there is anything wrong with meat lover’s, but a pizza with just pepperoni done right is a more exquisite experience than one absolutely decked out in toppings. Less toppings means a more evenly cooked, well-done crust – and allows the sauce and cheese to really come through.