Can you make real pizza at home?

Irish Independent - Weekend Magazine - - Table Talk -

Au­then­tic Neapoli­tan pizza is cooked in an oak wood-fired stone oven that can hit tem­per­a­tures in ex­cess of 500 de­grees. No do­mes­tic oven can pro­duce tem­per­a­tures like that, so is it pos­si­ble to pro­duce au­then­tic pizza at home?

Ro­nan Gre­aney ( be­low) of the Dough Bros thinks it is, but the se­cret is a pizza stone — a stone slab that you place in the oven in ad­vance. “The se­cret is in the way heat is trans­ferred into the base of the pizza in your oven. You need a pizza stone — Jamie Oliver sells some good ones, but a heat-re­sis­tant stone slab is all that’s re­ally needed and you can get good re­sults with one of those,” he says. “You need to whack the oven up to the hottest tem­per­a­ture and pre­heat the stone as hot as it will go. Other than that, it’s about the time and ef­fort in mak­ing and rest­ing a good dough.”

Al­ter­na­tively, you can pick up par­tially baked bases in many su­per­mar­kets around the coun­try, such as those made by the Artisan Pizza Com­pany, which is run by Ital­ian baker Gian­piero De Val­lier and his Ir­ish wife Cliona. These bases have won many awards and are made with just five in­gre­di­ents — flour, wa­ter, sea salt, ex­tra vir­gin olive oil and yeast.

“The se­cret to why they work so well is that we bake them on a stone at a high tem­per­a­ture for a cou­ple of min­utes, then cool and pack­age them,” says Cliona De Val­lier ( left). “So when you get them in the shops, they’re pre-baked. All you have to do is top them with sauce and cheese and you’re away.”

Stocked in Avoca, Dunnes, Su­per Valu and Tesco around the coun­try, the bases have be­come hugely pop­u­lar over the past few years. “It took a long time to get peo­ple on­side, but the rea­son peo­ple buy them is be­cause they work,” says Cliona. “They pro­duce a pizza that’s as good as one made from scratch with none of the has­sle of knead­ing and prov­ing dough the tra­di­tional way.”

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