National Pizza Day 2021: Take your homemade pizza to the next level
In the infinite wisdom of Community’s Britta Perry: “Pizza. Pizza. In my tummy. Me so hungy. Me so hungy.” Most people like pizza, or some variation of it – we’re looking at you and your calzones, Ben Wyatt. So much so that there’s a U.S. holiday dedicated to it, and it’s today. Happy National Pizza Day!
While many local pizza restaurants and national chains have deals today on piping hot pies, making your own can be just as delicious. Call us Eric Andre, but instead of pizza balls, it’s time to deliver pizza making tips.
Make your own dough or dough not
If you’re one of the few people who didn’t get bitten by the bread bug during quarantine, making fresh dough for any baked-good can be intimidating. Using the right amounts of flour, yeast, water, salt, and maybe olive oil can make a huge difference in your pizza’s quality. Put it in the fridge for a slower rise and you can make it the next day. The longer the rise, the stronger the flavor.
If all that seems intimidating to you, you still don’t have to rely on premade hard Boli crust. Many supermarkets sell their own dough. Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Safeway, and many regional grocery stores all make and sell their own dough for you to enjoy even if it’s not National Pizza Day.
Heat your sauce
Whether you make your own sauce or have a favorite store-bought variety, one way to up your pizza game is to heat your sauce before you spread it on your pie. Warming it up awakens the sauce’s flavor before it interacts with your other ingredients. Since it’s already cooked down, the sauce will be less moist, leaving you with tomato-y goodness. Let it cool a bit before adding your favorite cheese & toppings.
Topping it off
Speaking of toppings, keep in mind which ones and how much you are adding to your pizza. Adding lots & lots of vegetables may be what your stomach thinks it wants. In reality, many toppings give up moisture when baked and can leave your dough soggy. As anyone who watches the Great British Bake-Off will tell you, a soggy bottom is no bueno. Blot wetter ingredients before you bake.
One way to solve the above problem and to amp up your pizza game for National Pizza Day is to add small ingredients with intense flavor. Rip, don’t cut, fresh basil. Chopping up fresh garlic packs a serious punch and amplifies any cooked garlic in the sauce. Used pickled peppers or pickled onions can add sweet heat or acidity to your masterpiece.
Like most dishes, using fresh vegetables tastes best. Unless you have a hankering for a specific type of pie, try to go with vegetables that are in season. A lighter arugula, basil, and herby pie is best for summer. A green vegetable pizza packed with asparagus, broccoli, and sugar snap peas is perfect for late spring. A thanksgiving themed pie is great for fall & winter. Play around with our toppings – just don’t add pineapple!
Finishing it off
Can you smell it? You just pulled your pizza out of the oven. Its scent is wafting through the air. The dough bubbled up on the edges while cooking. The cheese has melted to an almost liquid layer. You may want to start your National Pizza Day celebration by diving right in but don’t. Shave or shred parm over that sea of mozzarella. Drizzle a bit of your best extra virgin olive oil to add additional depth of flavor to your pizza.
Bon appetit! What’s your favorite pizza topping? What’s your go-to pizza-making tip? Should pineapple-pizza eaters repent for their sins? Let us know in the comments below.