09 Feb 2023

Pizza Hacks And Tips You’ll Love - National Pizza Day Special

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Pizza is seriously amazing! It’s like a little slice of heaven in every bite. The gooey cheese, the zesty sauce, and all those delicious toppings – it’s just unbeatable. Whether you’re chowing down on a classic pepperoni or getting a little wild with some pineapple and ham, pizza is always there to make your day better. It’s the ultimate comfort food, perfect for sharing with friends or devouring all by yourself. So yeah, to put it simply, pizza is freaking awesome!

Well, It’s National Pizza Day & now would be the most appropriate time to talk a bit about pizza and a few hacks that will help you alot in making your own epic pizza at home with ease. Let’s begin!

The Origin

Pizza’s origin story dates back to ancient civilizations in the Mediterranean region. The earliest form of pizza can be traced back to the ancient Greeks who baked flatbreads topped with herbs, onions, and garlic. The ancient Egyptians and Romans also had similar dishes that consisted of flatbreads with toppings.

However, the modern pizza that we know and love today originated in Naples, Italy. It is said that in the late 18th century, a baker named Raffaele Esposito created a pizza for the visiting King and Queen of Italy. The pizza was topped with mozzarella, tomato sauce, and basil, representing the colors of the Italian flag. The dish was a hit and soon became popular among the locals.

In the late 19th and early 20th century, Italian immigrants brought pizza to the United States, where it became a popular fast food item. Today, pizza has become one of the most beloved foods worldwide, with countless variations of toppings and styles. From the classic Margherita to the deep-dish Chicago style, pizza has truly become a global phenomenon.

Pizza, Then & Now!

What started as a staple food item, has now become one of the most popular fast foods in the world. The original pizza from Naples, Italy, which was created in the late 18th century, was a simple dish consisting of a flatbread crust topped with tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil leaves. This type of pizza is still popular today and is known as Margherita pizza.

However, over time, the pizza has evolved and taken on many different forms and styles, depending on the region and culture in which it is consumed. 

Today’s pizza can come in a wide variety of styles, with different toppings, crusts, and sauces. Some popular variations of pizza include:

Neapolitan Pizza: A traditional pizza from Naples that is made with San Marzano tomatoes, buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil, and olive oil.

New York-style Pizza: A large, thin-crust pizza with a crispy crust that can be folded in half.

Chicago-style Pizza: A deep-dish pizza with a thick, buttery crust that is baked in a deep dish and topped with tomato sauce, cheese, and various other ingredients.

California-style Pizza: A pizza that is made with non-traditional toppings such as goat cheese, arugula, sun-dried tomatoes, and barbecue chicken.

So, the main difference between the original pizza and today’s pizza is the variety of toppings, crusts, and sauces that are available. While the original pizza was a simple, classic dish, modern pizza has evolved to become a more complex and diverse food that can be enjoyed in many different ways.

Pizza Hacks You’ll Love!

Homemade Mozzarella Cheese

Mozzarella is one of the most important ingredients in a good pizza. The same cheese that stretches when you pick up a slice of pizza and enjoy its rich and chewy texture. Mozzarella is surely an expensive cheese to buy from the market. However, with a few simple ingredients, it’s very easy to make at home. Let’s learn!

Ingredients:

  • 3 litre full cream milk (unhomogenised)
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • 1 tbsp salt

Instructions:

  1. To begin with, start with 3 liters of full cream milk, ensuring that it is either unhomogenized or raw. 
  2. Continuously stir the milk and heat it until it becomes lukewarm, at a temperature of approximately 45 degrees Celsius. Once the desired temperature is reached, turn off the heat and add half a cup of vinegar. 
  3. Gently stir the mixture for exactly 25 seconds, taking care not to over-stir as this could cause the curd to break. Cover the mixture and let it rest for about 20 minutes, or until the curd has formed and the whey separates completely. 
  4. Drain the curds using a colander and gently squeeze out any excess liquid. Take the whey water and mix in 1 tablespoon of salt, stirring well. 
  5. Heat the water until it is hot, but not boiling, at around 80°C. Turn off the heat and add the squeezed curds, stirring and dipping them in the hot water for 5 rounds. 
  6. Gently squeeze out any excess water and repeat this process until the curds turn into a smooth, cheesy texture. Avoid overstretching the cheese, as this can cause it to become rubbery. 
  7. Once the curds have reached the desired texture, dip them in ice-cold water and let them rest for 2 minutes to set completely. Wrap the cheese in cling wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours. 
  8. Finally, the homemade mozzarella cheese is ready to use and can be kept refrigerated for up to 1 week.

Use A Pizza Stone Or Steel In The Oven

Using a pizza stone or a baking steel can help distribute heat evenly and create a crispy crust. While surely you can bake a pizza in your regular oven tray, using a pizza stone and pre-heating it with the oven will definitely give you better baking results due to the heat that the pizza stone tends to retain.

Use A Combination Of Cheeses

Using a combination of cheeses in pizza is a great way to create a delicious and unique flavor. Cheese is an essential ingredient in pizza and can make a huge difference in taste and texture. Here are some popular cheese combinations that are commonly used in pizzas:

  1. Mozzarella and Parmesan: This classic combination is a favorite for many pizza lovers. Mozzarella provides the gooey, stretchy texture, while Parmesan adds a salty, nutty flavor.
  1. Four Cheese: This combination typically includes mozzarella, Parmesan, ricotta, and Gorgonzola or another blue cheese. The combination of the creamy ricotta and the sharp, tangy Gorgonzola creates a delicious balance of flavors.
  1. Cheddar and Gouda: This combination of cheddar and gouda cheese is perfect for a smoky, savory pizza. Gouda has a slightly sweet and nutty flavor that pairs well with the sharpness of cheddar.

Reheating Pizza In A Microwave

Reheating pizza in the microwave can result in a soggy crust and unevenly melted cheese, but there are a few hacks that can help improve the texture:

  1. Place a damp paper towel over the pizza before microwaving. This will help keep the crust from becoming too dry and hard.
  2. Microwave on high for 30 seconds to 1 minute, depending on the power of your microwave. Check the pizza frequently to prevent it from overheating.
  3. If the cheese is not fully melted, microwave for an additional 10-15 seconds.
  4. Remove the pizza from the microwave and let it rest for a minute or two to allow the cheese to settle.

Another hack that really works is that you can try is, to place a small glass of water in the microwave next to the pizza. The water will create steam, which can help prevent the pizza from becoming too dry. However, be careful when handling the hot plate and pizza, as they can be very hot.

Freeze Your Cheese

Freeze your cheese for about 30 minutes before grating it. This will make it easier to grate and will help it to melt evenly on your pizza. Trust us, the difference between trying to grate a frozen block of cheese versus the one at room temperature is huge!

Also, frozen cheese takes a bit more time to melt, thus leaving time for the pizza and the toppings to fully cook without letting the cheese melt quickly & burn.

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