How to Make Artisan Pizza
Want to learn how to make authentic artisan pizza at home?
On our honeymoon 11 years ago, Alex and I went to Italy and fell in love–for a second time. This time, it was with Italian artisan pizza: its supple, blackened crust, sweet tomatoes, and gooey mozzarella cheese. Our first experience was at what Rick Steve’s claimed was “the best pizza in Rome”. To our surprise, it had minimal toppings and an egg on top, whose yolk spilled over the entire pizza. Genius! On the plane ride back to the States, we vowed to each other we would learn to make real artisan pizza: Italian style.
It started with making pizza dough at home. After a while, we began to experiment and start to create our own recipe. While there were quite a few epic failures, our goal remained the same: enjoying high quality, delicious artisan pizza together with people we love. As we went, we started to learn the best type of Italian flour, how to use a pizza peel, and what San Marzano tomatoes were. We found the best types of pizzas were those with just a few real food ingredients, and that compared to typical American pizza, artisan pizza could even be healthy (or healthyish). We read dozens of recipes, and talked to experts at pizzerias. Over time, we started to get the hang of it.
Years later, we decided to go back to Italy for more research! This time it was to Naples, the birthplace of pizza. It was in Naples that we had the best best pizza of our lives at a pizzeria called Da Michele. At this ages old pizzeria, they served two flavors of artisan pizza baked perfectly for 1 minute in a hot wood fired oven. It was transcendent. It was at that moment we knew: this is not just an obsession. Artisan pizza is a lifestyle.
After 11 years of research, you could also call us unabashed homemade pizza experts! We may not be from Italy, but we’ve talked to top experts in pizzerias nationwide and spent lots of time in the trenches to uncover the secrets to making artisan pizza at home. And we want to tell you how to do it too! Here’s our list of the best gear, pizza oven, flour, tomatoes, and pizza recipes to use for making your own artisan pizza. Are you ready?
Related: Like to see things on paper? We have lots of pizza resources and our best pizza dough recipe in our cookbook, Pretty Simple Cooking.
What flour should I use for pizza dough?
Over the years, we’ve found that if you want to make really great pizza dough, you’ll have to use the flour that professional pizzerias use! It’s called Tipo 00 and it’s a special Italian brand. We order ours online and use it only for our pizza dough.
What pizza sauce recipe should I use?
Our very best pizza sauce is incredibly simple, with just 5 ingredients and it takes 5 minutes to make. We also have a video to help convince you :)
What is your best pizza dough recipe?
Here are our two favorite pizza dough recipes with appliances. One dough recipe uses a stand mixer, and one uses a food processor.
You actually don’t need either of them, and can knead your own at home! Our best recipe for dough and the hand kneading process is in our cookbook, Pretty Simple Cooking.
Related: Want a quick pizza dough without yeast? Rye Pizza Dough Cracker Crust
What pizza gear do I need?
To make killer artisan pizza at home, you’ll need a few things. Here is the pizza gear we recommend (affiliate links included):
To transfer the pizza in and out of the oven, you’ll need a pizza peel. So the dough doesn’t stick, layer it with a thin layer of cornmeal or semolina before baking. Here’s are the pizza peels we use.
Pizza peel (standard) — for pizza in the oven.
Pizza peel (conveyor) — for pizza in the oven.
We love this one because it’s very easy to slide the pizza dough onto the pizza stone using a conveyor. You won’t believe it until you see it in action!
First off: you do not need a pizza oven to cook artisan pizza at home! However, if you’re at all interested in really, really good artisan pizza with those lovely black char marks on the crust, consider a pizza oven! The key to great pizza is cooking at very high heat. Your standard oven can get only to 550 degrees F, but a pizza oven can get up to almost 1000 degrees F!
Until recently, we did not own a pizza oven. But we discovered a pizza oven called the Ooni. The Ooni is small, transportable, and heats up to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit in just 10 minutes, powered by wood pellets. The Ooni takes a bit of practice, but it’s revolutionized our homemade pizza. Here’s the Ooni pizza oven that we use.
If you’re using your standard oven for baking pizza, you’ll need a pizza stone instead! The pizza stone heats up while your oven preheats and makes for a crispy underside to your artisan pizza crust. We do not recommend baking pizza without it! Note that a pizza stone can break (we’ve had quite a few crack in the oven) — but you can still use the pieces next to each other in the oven.
When our artisan pizza is done, we slide it out onto a round pizza tray and let it cool for a few minutes. You could use a baking sheet instead, but the round shape is perfect for sliding the pizza onto and serving at the table.