There truly is nothing more classic than pizza. Nowadays it has become so popular that it’s being mass-produced on a large scale. Sure, inexpensive pizza is still delicious, but sometimes an authentic pizza that is made with fresh, homemade ingredients sounds much more appealing. This is where the Artisan pizza comes into the picture.
What is Artisan Pizza?
The word artisan describes a craftsman who has honed his craft and is very apt at working with their hands. When the word artisan is added to pizza it simply means that it's traditionally handmade. This method of making pizza requires more time and effort, but the end product is extraordinary.
What’s the Hype?
There comes a point when we all get tired of the processed food and added preservatives. We crave something real and better. Artisan pizza is made with healthy, high-quality ingredients. It’s easy to see why it’s a world favorite when you’ve tried a slice.
The thin crust is baked to perfection, covered with a rich tomato sauce, and topped with fresh blobs of mozzarella, herbs, and hearty toppings. One bite of hand-made pizza will make you forget about the $5 pizza you normally order.
What can I expect at a restaurant?
Once your order has been placed, a knowledgeable chef takes the time to hand knead the pizza dough and roll a perfectly thin pizza crust. He then adds your choice of cheese and toppings. If given the reigns, your artisan chef can take creative liberties with your pizza and create an entirely unique pizza.
Your chef will also consider which ingredients are in season as well and be able to offer suggestions. The pizza will then be baked in a wood-fired oven until the cheese is nice and bubbling and voila, your pizza is done!
Toppings, Toppings, Toppings
The sky is the limit for you and your toppings. Many choices include fresh vegetables like sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, peppers, olives, spinach, eggplant, and more. Sprinkle some fresh basil or parsley on top with dabs of tasty mozzarella, feta, or Romano cheese.
If you are looking to go out on a limb, try either the delicious prosciutto and fig pizza or the blackberry ricotta pizza. These are just some of the many different combos out there.
Is it possible to make artisan pizza at home?
Yes, it is! I can assure you that it’s super easy. If you have an electric oven and the necessary ingredients, you are good to go. Before you start, make sure that you have Italian flour, yeast, a stand mixer or food processor, a cookie sheet, tomato sauce, toppings, and your cheese of choice.
Which Flour is Best?
The best artisan pizza requires a very specific type of flour, Italian flour Cooksinfo.com explains how Italian flour is divided into different grades based on how much wheat kernel is left in the flour.
For your artisan crust, you will want to purchase Grade 00. This is a high-quality grade of flour and looks very fine and white. This will get you the best-tasting pizza dough.
Thankfully we have food processors that can do the kneading for us. Start by filling your food processor with the correct amounts of flour and slowly start adding water. The stickier the dough, the more bubbles and holes you’ll have in the crust so make sure your dough is more on the dry side.
Feel free to use either a food processor or stand mixer as both will work just fine. If you want to feel like an artisan chef yourself then go ahead and knead that dough to truly experience the artisan craft.
Once kneaded, place the dough in a bowl to let it rise for 30 minutes to an hour. After rising, the dough should be nice and springy to the touch. Continue to roll out the dough to your desired thickness on the pizza peel or directly onto a cookie sheet.
Here is a great video by Jordan Vineyard and Winery that explains the proper technique while making pizza dough. She chooses to use a mixture of bread flour, all-purpose flour, and yeast for her dough, instead of the Italian flour.
Get Saucy With it
Now is the time to give your creative side full reign. First, spread your desired sauce evenly on the dough. The sauce can be your typical marinara or you can be adventurous with a white sauce, pesto, or even barbecue sauce.
Then top with your favorite cheese or cheeses. The obvious choice is mozzarella but don’t be quick to dismiss other cheeses like feta, provolone, gorgonzola, fontina, or even goat cheese. I say that you can never have too much cheese!
Create a Masterpiece!
Next are the delicious toppings. Feel free to go wild with toppings and make your own vibrant, tasty creation. Some popular recipes out there are the sausage and caramelized onion pizza, fennel and sausage, and many more.
One of my favorite recipes by Karen at 2teaspoons is her pear, walnut and blue cheese pizza. It is to die for!
Now your pizza is ready for the oven. Now, bake time will vary depending on the thickness of your crust and how many toppings you included. The best rule of thumb to tell if your pizza is done is a well-browned crust and melted cheese.
Cut and Enjoy!
Your pizza is ready to be cut into slices and enjoyed. Feel free to share with friends and family members…or eat it all yourself! You can now call yourself an artisan chef and feel good about yourself eating a fresh and handmade pizza, without all those preservatives.
If you decide that making artisan pizza will become a future hobby, do yourself a favor and invest in a brick oven. These ovens maintain a higher temperature than your normal kitchen oven and give the pizza a nice hint of smoky flavor. The brick ovens will cook your pizza faster which means you can make even more pizza in a shorter amount of time, so enjoy!