When you’re in the business of making lots of pizzas you must have the right tools to do it properly and efficiently. But even if you’re a casual pizza chef at home there are a few basic items that will make pizza cooking a lot easier.
If you’re prepared to set yourself up with a wood-fired oven, good for you! You’re obviously serious about getting really great results with your pizzas and just about anything else that cooks in an oven. However, wood fired ovens are a specialty that will be dealt with alone in a separate article. For now we’ll assume you have an electric or gas oven, in which case it would be a good idea to purchase a…..
In a conventional oven you don’t have the advantage of fire bricks, so a pizza stone will give better results than just placing a pizza on a metal tray on a shelf in the oven. It’ll cost up to $25 for a good pizza stone, but it will be well worth it to get a better level of crispness in the pizza crust. A pizza stone is usually made from ceramic or terra cotta, a porous material that will absorb away extra moisture from the crust. This will result in a crispy, but not tooth-breaking crust that will hold the toppings on without sagging. Although a wood-fired oven reaches very high temperatures depending on the type of wood used (300oC / 570oF and upwards), a pizza stone in a regular oven should be pre-heated to around 260oC / 500oF before cooking the pizza. Using a pizza stone this way can decrease the cooking time significantly.
Note: Never put a cold pizza stone into a hot oven – it might crack or shatter. Also, never wash with soap or detergent. Just rinse under warm water while scraping with a spatula
Pizza Peel (or Paddle)
Avoid burnt fingers and buy a cheap pizza peel for inserting and removing the pizza from the oven. Spreading a little flour or cornmeal on the surface will help the pizza to slide off easily.
A wooden cutting board is ideal for cutting pizzas, but must be washed thoroughly after use. Prices vary widely but you don’t have to be too extravagant. You may even choose a pizza peel that also serves as a cutting board, as long as it has a diameter larger than your largest pizza,
If you prefer the roller pizza cutter, they are available with either stainless steel or plastic wheels. Although not as robust as the steel one, the cheese is less inclined to stick to the plastic wheeled cutter. The wide cutter of course cuts the pizza in one simple motion
The best $20 you’ve never spent
I don’t think we at Roam’In Pizza have ever had a complaint about a pizza not being cut perfectly straight, but if you’re nervous about cutting your pizza in a straight line and in exactly even slices, this gadget could be the solution for you, especially if you’ve had a few too many reds while cooking!
Yep, it’s a laser-guided pizza cutter.* You’ll wonder how you ever survived without it (joking).
This ingenious device is sure to collect lots of dust in the bottom drawer under the kitchen bench, but it still won’t win the award for the most useless invention of the decade; that award still belongs to the “rapid” wine chiller to which you must add ice, presumably from your freezer or your Esky or Chilly Bin (NZ) which you could have used to chill the wine in the first place. Then you must plug it in to a “convenient” power socket (not sure how that works on a picnic). You’ll then hear a little motor purring, giving the illusion of chilling. And in about 20 minutes your wine will be almost as cool as putting it in the fridge earlier.