Pizza is simple and fun to make at home, although the owner of your local pizza joint would like you to think otherwise. You can shape the crust as thin or thick as you like and top it with Italian San Marzano tomato puree, Mediterranean oregano, true mozzarella di bufala and other high-quality condiments. These ten essential tools are the minimum battery you need to create wonderful pizza right in your own kitchen. If you get hooked, you’ll find plenty more pizza-making toys—from ceramic stones to wood-burning ovens—to tempt you.
Liquid measuring cup
The class liquid measure looks like a small pitcher with a handle on the side and measurement lines painted on the side. It accurately gauges the amount of warm water or other liquid without it running over the top of the cup as it would with dry ingredient measuring cups. These measures are available in silicone, plastic, glass and metal. Newer designs can be read by looking down into the cup instead of bending to look at it sideways. Be sure to choose one with a pour spout.
This handy tool takes the guess work out of determining when the temperature (105°F to 115°F) of the water is just right. If the water is too cold, the yeast won’t activate. If the water is too hot, the yeast will die.
Dry ingredient measuring cups
These usually come nested in a quartet: 1 cup, 1/2 cup, 1/3 cup, and 1/4 cup. The design enables you to achieve a level measure which would be difficult with a liquid measuring cup. To use, place on a work surface. Spoon the all-purpose flour, bleached or unbleached both work fine, into the cup until it overflows. Level the top with a knife.
Two mixing bowls, 3-or-4-quart capacity, can be made of stainless steel, glass, or ceramic. In one bowl, you will mix the dough and in the other you’ll set it to rise. This size is big enough to hold the amount of dough for one standard pizza.
To knead the dough and shape it, you need several square feet of work space, preferably at comfortable counter height where you can extend your arms without leaning over. However, if your kitchen is cramped, you can create some work space with a large silicone or wooden cutting board. Try setting the board on a tabletop, with a skid-proof mat under it to secure, or setting it over the sink if it’s wide enough to straddle both sides.
Sturdy mixing spoon
A flat wooden mixing spoon works well for yeast dough which becomes very stiff as more flour is added. The wood is strong and extends the power in your stirring arm if you haven’t pumping iron. There’s no bowl in the spoon so the sticky dough is easier to scrape off.
Also called a pastry scraper or bench scraper, this device can be made of rigid plastic (inexpensive) or heavy-gauge stainless steel set into a plastic or wooden handle. It fits comfortably in one hand and is handy for manipulating the pizza dough at the start of the kneading process when it’s most sticky. It also makes a convenient lifter for individual calzone.
The classic round pan measures 14-to-16 inches across with shallow sides. Look for aluminized steel for best heat conduction, a must for crisping the crust.
Your oven is the one tool that you can’t change on a whim just to bake a better pizza but you can maximize its effectiveness. Read your appliance manual to see how high you can safely set the oven temperature. Obviously you won’t be able to set it at 700°F plus, like a commercial pizza oven, but the more heat you can provide, the crisper the pizza crust will be.
Pizza cutter or kitchen shears
Both of these cutting implements make it easy to slice the pie. Shears are fun because you don’t have to take the pizza out of the pan. When using the pizza cutter, it’s preferable to move the pizza to a cutting surface so the pan surface doesn’t get scratched.