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The Secret to Making the Perfect Pizza

By Julie Fink
Posted On May 31, 2016
The Secret to Making the Perfect Pizza

We have all tried this a time or two – attempting to turn our kitchens into an authentic Sicilian parlor with fresh herbs, heavenly homemade sauce, gooey mozzarella, and a warm, crispy crust. But what we get is a melted mess with a soggy crust in a tasteless heap of toppings – at least for some of us (wink, wink).

Suffice it to say, the pizza struggle is real.

Turns out, there are a few tricks of the trade that guide you through the pizza making experience to ensure a Pinterest-worthy homemade pie!

Here’s some advice from Nina Clemente, a standout cook, who trained under  Nancy Silverton at Osteria Mozza, a stunning Italian hot spot in Los Angeles, CA. The pizza pro shares her expert tips to making a stellar pizza at home:

The Ultimate Pizza Secrets

  • A good pizza stone is crucial. It will increase and equally distribute the heat in the oven.
  • Invest in a pro scale to accurately measure ingredients. Depending on how you pack and level it, a cup of flour can vary widely and impact your dough quite a bit. Weighing is much more precise.
  • The best tomatoes for pizza, hands down, are canned San Marzano whole peeled tomatoes, crushed, with seeds removed (preferably).
  • You’ll want to heat your oven to its highest temperature to ensure the crust gets perfectly crispy.
  • Let your dough rest three times. Yes—this is an overnight process. And yes, it is worth the time.
  • Stretch dough by hand—never use a rolling pin or you will lose a beautiful crust.
  • Make sure your pizza is floured on the base and no oil or toppings are within a half inch of the crust or it won’t slide easily to and from your pizza stone.
  • Distribute your toppings evenly and lightly; don’t overload the dough.

Nina shares also shares some bonus info that includes healthy ingredients and a superb recipe for the ultimate pizza crust. Disclaimer: It’s a bit tedious and isn’t for the faint-hearted pizza pie extraordinaire. However, it beats the heck out of Boboli.

Nina's signature pizza.
Nina’s signature pizza.

Pizza Crust Recipe

Yields 10 12-inch pizzas
700 grams Sir Galahad flour
300 grams Caputo flour (which is the best flour for making pizza according to google)
150 grams olive oil
300 grams leaven (sourdough starter yeast)
610 grams water
20 grams salt
10 grams dry yeast


Combine Sir Galahad flour, Caputo flour, olive oil, leaven, and water. Mix until incorporated. Let sit for 20 minutes. Add salt and dry yeast, then combine until incorporated. Allow the dough to sit for 45 minutes—it should double in size—then fold it in on itself and allow it to sit and ferment overnight in the refrigerator.

The next day, cut it into 10 7-ounce portions. Use a touch of all-purpose flour to tuck the corners in, like a dumpling. Gently roll each into a smooth ball, keeping the seam on the bottom. Cover balls with plastic wrap and let them sit on a flat baking tray in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

While the dough is resting, prepare your toppings and preheat oven to the highest possible temperature (at least 500 degrees Fahrenheit), with the pizza stone in it.

Pull one ball out at a time and cover thoroughly with flour. Press down on the perimeter, keeping the crust intact. Slap the ball between your hands to begin to stretch the dough. Stretch the dough further into a 12-inch disc and place on a lightly floured pizza paddle. Lightly distribute your toppings. Gently slide the pizza onto your baking stone. Let cook until the crust is golden and the toppings are bubbling, approximately 12 to 18 minutes.



See the full interview with Nina Clemente and her recipe at Vogue.com.