Making pizza is a lot easier than most people think. Not only can you make a pizzeria-quality pizza at home with just a little practice, but you can also satiate your cravings for a lot less money. Estimates reveal that an average delicious pizza costs around $25 or more at restaurants; there is also an added cost for home deliveries. By baking pizza at home, you can cut the added costs and customize it based on your tastes and preferences.
Whether you’re going to bake, cook, barbecue, or go cook it in a wood-fired oven – you do not require fancy or expensive kitchen accessories to make a pizzeria-quality pie. However, to ensure a seamless pizza-baking experience, some essential accessories and tools will come in handy. Let’s look at the essential accessories for homemade pizza lovers below.
Pizza Dough Roller
The dough is hard to handle, and it sometimes springs back to its original shape when you stretch it. Even worse, sometimes it rips! A dough roller can help you spread pizza dough into your desired shape and make the surface even and smooth. And it’s not just handy for pizza dough – it’s also perfect for making cookie dough, pie crust, pasta dough, and more.
Large Mixing Bowl
A large mixing bowl will help you prepare the perfectly balanced pizza dough. While there is no restriction to using a mixing bowl of any kind, culinary experts recommend using metal or glass mixing bowls for pizza dough. It is because both glass and metal retain heat better than plastic, ensuring your dough proves even if your kitchen is drafty.
As the dough expands, your bowl should be spacious enough to allow this increase in size. It should also be lightweight to make it easier to handle.
Pizza peels – plural – are the tools you use for loading and removing pizzas from your pizza oven. They are flat paddles that chefs insert into the oven to evenly support the raw pizza dough and the cooked pizza crust. Some have long handles that protect your hands and forearms from the oven’s very high temperatures. Some have short handles, which are handy when cooking in an indoor oven, especially when space is limited.
The head of the pizza peel is wide to accommodate the whole size of the pizza you are baking. Given that, pizza peels are also available in different sizes. What you would buy is according to your preference. Don’t buy a pizza peel that is too small because you may not be able to use it if you want to make a larger pizza. But don’t buy one that is too wide and won’t fit inside the oven.
And you will need more than one pizza peel when you’re making pizza. Many first-time pizza makers use a single, metal-bladed pizza peel to launch and retrieve pizza from the oven. But this is not advisable because raw pizza dough is much more likely to stick to metal than wood. Unless you’re an expert and you can get your pizza topped and launched in an oven in under a minute, chances are you will experience sticking problems. Here are the different pizza peels you need:
1. Wooden pizza peels
Wooden peels absorb excess moisture and stick less to the dough. To further prevent sticking to the wooden peels, rub some fine cornmeal on the wooden peel before putting the pizza dough on it for the best results. If it still doesn’t work, then your dough is probably too wet, and you need to add more flour to it after it is stretched out.
2. Metal pizza peels
Then, you will need a metal pizza peel to retrieve the pizza from the oven. Wooden pizza peels can be too thick to slide under a pizza once it has hit the oven so that a thin-bladed metal pizza peel would be an easier choice. Perforated models are also preferred over solid ones because it allows flour and cornmeal to fall through the holes, so you’ll have less of a mess. Also, perforated pizza peels allow the pizza to stick a little less from the heat and moisture that causes a suction effect to a non-perforated piece of metal.
3. Turning the pizza peel
Another necessary peel is the turning pizza peel. At this point, you might be thinking, “Do I really need a third peel?” It may not be truly essential if you’re baking pizzas once in a blue moon, but if you want to be committed to pizza baking or if you will be cooking multiple pizzas – a turner peel is necessary. It’s smaller than a standard retrieving metal peel, and its head is round and is meant to slide easily under the crust of your pizza. It is designed to turn pizzas without removing them from the oven. Some people put it in with the handle on the right side and then turn it to the left-hand side, like turning a wrench.
A pizza pan is a surface where you place your pizza dough while it cooks and serves as the serving dish for your pizza. It can be made of cast iron, aluminum, or stainless steel. It’s available in many different styles, and its surface can either be perforated, non-perforated, or nibbed. Generally, pizza pans are ideal for making chewy and doughy pizza. Here are the most common types of pizza pans in the market:
- Regular pizza pans – It has a flat, smooth surface with a slightly raised side.
- Deep dish pizza pans – It has high side walls for supporting deep dish pizzas.
- Wide-rim pizza pans – These pans are similar to regular pizza pans but have wider rims for easier pizza slicing.
Pizza Stone and Baking Steel
Pizza stones can help you create restaurant-quality pizzas with crispy crusts, making them ideal to use when cooking thin-crust pizzas. This heats up quickly, so your pizza cooks in less time compared to using pizza pans. Pizza stones are made out of different materials: cordierite, ceramic, clay, and cast iron. Among these, cordierite is the most popular pizza stone material because it can handle high temperatures, resist thermal shock, and is very durable.
However, some pros skip the stone entirely and go straight to the baking steel. Pizza stones work great when it comes to retaining heat, but baking steel does it better. Since it heats evenly across the surface, you’ll get more consistency with baking. It’s also more durable than most pizza stones, which are fragile and can break.
These are round or rectangular-shaped screens made of mesh metal, allowing easy heat transfer and faster cooking time. Like pizza stones, it’s best to use for making crispy thin-crust pizzas.
Food processors are very helpful in making pizza dough at home. Its rapid blade movement allows less flour oxidation, resulting in better flavor. With the help of a food processor, your dough can come out smooth and easy to stretch, even if you make it the same day you plan to bake it.
Besides dough, a food processor is also handy for making sauces and dressings to add to your pizza. If you need to make a pesto base, that’s easier to make using a food processor.
After you have kneaded your dough and are ready to portion it out, you will need dough scrapers to scrape it and ensure there is no wasted dough. It helps you pick out random bits of dough stuck to your counter and clean it up easily. Besides scraping dough, you can also use it to chop fruit, apply it to frost, or pick up chopped herbs or garlic and transfer them to a pot or pan.
Once your pizza is cooked, served, and ready to eat, the fun part is slicing them up to make triangle-shaped slices. Nothing beats using pizza wheels to cut pizza neatly and precisely. While you can use a knife on a hot pizza, it will drag cheese and toppings all over the place – something you don’t like to see after making your yummy creation from scratch. If you want to achieve a neat and professional pizzeria finish, pizza wheels can help you cut through pizza easily.
A perfect pizza wheel is sharp enough to cut through deep pan pizzas and easy to clean and use. You can find pizza wheels that come with a rotating wheel-shaped blade with a handle. But there’s also a rocker pizza cutter with a rolled metal handle across the rocking blade.
Pizza Oven Brush
Once you’re finished cooking, you will need to clean up your oven to ensure its longevity. Cleaning your pizza oven will become easier with the help of a pizza oven brush. This is a wire brush similar to the one you would use to scrape the grates on the grill. Use it to clean up the flour, baked-on cheese, and other toppings and ingredients that may have stuck onto the oven’s surface during cooking.
Cast Iron Skillet
Cast iron skillets can also be used as a pizza pan, but they can also be handy for reheating leftovers. You didn’t create a pizza masterpiece just to reheat them in the microwave – use a cast iron skillet to heat your next-day pizza to make it taste fresh from the pizza oven. It’s also great for reheating a frozen pizza.
Plastic Squeeze Bottles
A drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of ketchup, and a dash of hot sauce – these things can add a great boost of flavor to the pizza. Store them in plastic squeeze bottles for the easiest and most inexpensive storage solution for these condiments and easy dispensing whenever you need it.
Digital Kitchen Scales
Having a kitchen scale is a must when making pizza dough from scratch. It is one of the most important accessories required for accurately weighing out your ingredients. Measuring cups and spoons are inaccurate, and without accurate measurements, you can’t get consistency every time you bake pizza.
With so many options for digital scales in the market, it’s best to go for ones that display whole number measurements. Getting one with an easy-to-read backlit display allows you to take measurements seamlessly when using big bowls.
Removing hot pans and dishes from the pizza oven can put you at risk of burning yourself. And since pizza ovens operate at a much higher temperature than the usual baking temperatures, regular oven mitts won’t cut it. A trusty pair of oven-safe, heat-resistant gloves would be necessary to protect your hands from heat while removing a freshly-baked pizza from the oven.