What is Artisan Pizza?
Making a Recipe With the Right Dough!
Pizza comes in a variety of forms and styles. There’s Chicago-style, California-style, New York pizza, and Neapolitan to name a few. Moreover, then there’s Artisan Pizza.
So, what is artisan pizza exactly and how does it differ from other popular pizza styles?
By definition, the term ‘artisan’ denotes a skilled craftsman who has gained in-depth knowledge and skills through rigorous apprenticeship.
When applied to culinary, the term itself refers to any food made in a traditional or non-mechanized method using high-quality ingredients.
What is Artisan Pizza?
Initially, pizzas were 100% hand-made, and pizza-making was considered an art made entirely by hand.
From making the dough up to the toppings, everything was done without the help of machines or automatic devices into the baking process.
The name ‘artisan pizza’ wasn’t actually in existence about a century ago because this Italian cuisine was made entirely by hand.
However, the introduction of automatic tools and equipment has revolutionized pizza-making over time.
Nowadays, most pizzerias are deeply relying on machines to do most of the job for them. Well, we can’t blame them.
Pizza-making has become a heavily-commercialized and commoditized industry. Bakers, by themselves, cannot possibly cover the massive demand without the aid of machines.
Mechanized pizzas are indeed the solution to supply the steady demand for this Italian food. However, sad to say, fast pizzas that are mechanically assembled from whatever ingredients are often barely acceptable.
Thankfully, the traditional way of making pizza is not yet entirely dead. Moreover, to distinguish their craft from the mechanized types, traditional pizzaiolos call their creations ‘artisan pizzas’.
Fast pizzas have their conveniences, but most people still prefer their foods to be fresh and hand-made.
Unlike the popular Neapolitan-style, New York-style, Greek-style and Sicilian-style, we seldom hear about artisan pizza.
However, what is artisan pizza and what does it offer on the table? Based on our definition earlier, this name refers mainly to the method of preparation regardless of the types of ingredients used.
This means that artisan pizza is made using the traditional method of baking and using only high-quality ingredients.
If we’re going to describe what this particular style is all about, we can break it down into these categories:
Hands-on quality control
In making artisan pizza, the chef himself makes and kneads the dough to create specific consistency desired by the customers. Automatic machines can’t specifically cater to every individual’s preference of crust.
Also, artisan chefs can assess and pick the best quality of ingredients to use for the sauce and toppings. Moreover, that is something machines can’t do as well.
Since automated equipment are designed to make foods by bulk, they will process all kinds of inputs (ingredients) regardless of the quality.
To make a long story short, opting for an artisan pizza ensures that you’re getting the freshest and highest quality of pizza.
Flexibility and creativity
Machines can only execute what they’re programmed to do. On the contrary, artisan chefs can apply their creativity to their crafts.
Furthermore, artisan chefs can change the ingredients depending on what is in season or what is in high demand. In artisanal crafts, making pizza is considered an art and not just a mere food-cooking activity.
Innovation in moderation
When we say 100% hand-made, it doesn’t necessarily mean that artisan chefs aren’t allowed to utilize slicers or other utensils.
While artisan pizza is traditionally baked in a wood-fired oven, artisan chefs nowadays often use an electric pizza oven.
There’s no escaping technology, but artisan craftsmanship strikes a balance between traditional process and technology.
Things You’ll Need to Make Artisan Pizza
You don’t need to be a professional pizzaiolo to make a delicious artisan pizza. You can make your homemade artisan pizza as long as you have the necessary tools and ingredients.
Before we give you the basic artisan pizza recipe, here are the things you’ll need to make your artisan pizza:
Flour for dough
If you want to make a great-tasting artisan pizza, you need to pay attention to the type of flour. Remember, the consistency of the crust dramatically contributes to the overall quality of the pie.
Professional pizzerias don’t use all-purpose flour or bread flour in making the high-grade dough. Instead, they are using Italian flour, but not just any other Italian flour.
Italians categorize flour by extraction rate or the extent to which the germ and the bran are extracted from the flour.
It is graded 00 to 04 where 00 denotes the most excellent grade of milled flour. Grade 00, also known as Tipo 00 flour, has a white color with a texture similar to baby powder.
Most professional chefs can attest that this type of Italian flour yields the best-tasting dough.
Food processor or stand mixer (optional)
As described earlier, artisan pizza should be made the traditional way and should be mostly made by hand. This means that you have to prepare and knead the dough yourself.
We strongly recommend that you follow the traditional method because that’s the real essence of artisan craftsmanship.
However, it doesn’t mean that you CAN’T use electronic equipment to knead the dough for you.
You can use a food processor to do all the kneading for you. All you have to do is put in the right amount of flour into the processor then slowly add an appropriate portion of water. Then let the food processor knead the dough.
As long as you don’t over-knead the dough, it will turn out with the perfect consistency. You can later add more flour or more water to achieve the desired result.
If you don’t have a food processor, a stand mixer can also be used to knead the dough. A blender may do a better job in whipping and aerating the mixture.
While these kitchen appliances can offer convenience, using them to make artisan pizza defeats its essence.
Again, we recommend that you mix and knead the dough by hand to experience the fundamental nature of the craft.
A peel is a shovel-like tool used to slide pizzas into and out of an oven. This essential tool is designed, so the dough doesn’t stick to the surface, allowing quick and easy transfer.
You can still make artisan pizza at home even without an oven. By using a regular pan and a standard stovetop, you can make any pie you want. However, if you want to make delicious artisan pizza then consider using an oven.
Artisan pizza tastes best when it is wood-fired, so we recommend wood-fired oven. Keep in mind that extreme heat is the key to a great-tasting pie.
The standard oven can only heat up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit while wood-fired oven can get up to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you’re using a wood-fired oven, then there’s no need to use pizza stones. However, you’ll need to use one if you’re using a standard oven.
The Secret is in the Dough
No matter how great and exquisite the toppings are, everything comes to naught if the dough is not complementing.
So, what is the secret to perfect dough?
Let us share with you the secret. The truth is – there’s NO secret recipe in making the dough. Unlike the sauce and the choice of toppings that you can whip up any way you please, dough recipe needs to be as simple as it is.
Flour, water, and salt are the main ingredients in making the dough. There’s no need to enhance the taste because we’ll leave the flavoring to the sauce and the toppings later on.
The most important aspect for the dough is the consistency. To achieve a thin, soft crust with the crispy underside, you only need three things: sourdough starter, fermentation, and temperature.
How to make artisan pizza dough? To make the best possible dough, prepare it 24 hours ahead of time for fermentation to take place.
How to Make Artisan Pizza Dough
Check out this perfect artisan pizza dough recipe that you can easily make at home:
- 3 cups warm water
- 2 1/2 cups Tipo 00 flour
- 1 tbsp yeast
- 1 tbsp and 1 tsp salt
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- Pour the Tipo 00 flour and all-purpose flour in a large bowl. Add salt, yeast and warm water.
- Mix the ingredients until the mixture is moist. The dough should be sticky but firm; it should not remain on the fingers when the dough is pressed down. You can add more flour until desired
- firmness is achieved.
- Allow the dough to rise for 1 hour. Then put it in the fridge and leave it to ferment for 24 hours.
- When it’s ready to use, shape the dough into balls the size of a large orange and let them rise at room temperate for 2 hours.
- Dust the dough ball with flour for easier handling. Stretch the dough ball to desired inches then put it on a pizza peel.
- Use a rolling pin to flatten and shape the pizza base.
- Apply sauce and toppings.
- Note: Dough can last up to 3 days as long as it is kept in the fridge. Keep the unused dough in the fridge until it can be used again. However, remember to let it rise to room temperature for 2 hours before the baking process.
What is Artisan Crust?
An artisan crust has a distinct flavor that ranges from light, delicate flavor to a deep, strong taste.
Nonetheless, the type of flour and the fermentation process are the main factors that make the flavor unique.
When it comes to crust, everyone has their preferences. Some people like their crust thin and crispy while other like their crust thick and chewy.
So, what is artisan crust? Artisan crust differs from other crusts in such a way that it is made, kneaded, fermented, shaped, and baked by hand.
It could be thin or thick, lightly or strongly flavored. However, as long as it is handcrafted using the right ingredients, it can qualify itself as an artisan crust.
What Are the Traditional Ingredients for Artisan Pizza?
The artisanal approach is all about arts and creativity, so the possibility of ingredients is limitless.
In other words, you make your own rule. Of course, a pizza is not complete without cheese.
Moreover, when it comes to cheese, there are exciting varieties that you can use to top your artisan pizza. Parmesan, ricotta, provolone, cheddar, Roquefort, caciocavallo, gruyere, mozzarella, are just a few examples. Moreover, the choice is yours.
Italian pizzerias are known to use only olive oil as a fat, should we also follow suit? You can use other fats such as lard, peanut oil, or duck fat.
However, if you prefer the long-established ingredient, then we recommend cold pressed olive oil of the highest quality. For the sauce, you can use regular tomato sauces, or you can go unorthodox and use pesto instead.
Lastly for the toppings, choose only fresh tomatoes, onions, mushrooms, green peppers, black olives, spinach, pineapples, and more.
There’s a wide variety of meat options to use: pepperoni, sausage, chicken, bacon, anchovies, tuna, shrimp, and many others.
It’s good to experiment and use different combinations of ingredients from time to time. Who knows, you may even come up with your artisan pizza recipe.
Artisan Pizza Recipe
Here’s a basic artisan pizza recipe that can help you start your passion for the craft. Check the simple recipe below:
- One dough ball
- flour (for dusting)
- For the sauce (salsa)
- Two medium tomatoes
- Parmesan, grated
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- One garlic clove, crushed
- 1/2 tbsp mashed onion
- Four basil leaves
- A pinch of dried oregano
- A pinch of marjoram
- parsley, chopped
- 1 tbsp chopped celery
- Make the sauce:
- Bring a pot of water to a boil and remove from the stove.
- Put the tomatoes in hot water and leave for 3 minutes. Wait until the skins start to wrinkle. Peel and seed the tomatoes and finely chop.
- Place the chopped tomatoes in a sieve, add the salt, and leave to drain over a bowl for 20 minutes.
- Transfer the drained tomatoes to a large bowl and mix with the garlic.
- Add all the remaining sauce ingredients and mix thoroughly. Let it marinate for 2 hours before use.
- Divide the sauce into two bowls and keep the other one in the fridge for later use.
- The salsa can last up to 2 days if kept in the refrigerator. Be sure to let it sit under room temperature before use.
Bake the pie:
- Stretch the dough ball with your fingers and place it on a pizza peel. Don’t forget to sprinkle flour on the peel’s surface to prevent the dough from sticking to it. Use a rolling pin to flatten and shape the base.
- Please pick up the base and gently stretch it more, but be careful not to tear it. Drop the base onto the pan and allow it to rise.
- When the dough firms up, spread the sauce (salsa) over the base using the back of a metal spoon.
- Sprinkle a little flour over your hands and on the work surface and open the dough ball by flattening and stretching the dough with your fingers, or by rolling the dough with a rolling pin.
- Pick the base up and gently stretch it a little more over your fists without tearing it. Drop this onto the hot pan, and allow it to start rising.
- As soon as the dough firms up spread a quarter of the tomato salsa over the base with the back of a metal spoon.
- Add desired toppings and distribute ingredients evenly on top of the pie.
- Bake the pie in the wood-fired oven (pre-heated 15 minutes ahead of time) and allow it to be cooked for about 3 minutes.
- When the crust turns brown, and the cheese has fully melted, take the pie out of the oven and transfer it onto a tray.
- You can top it with grated Parmesan and extra basil before serving.
Store-bought pizza is practical, but a homemade pizza is satisfyingly delicious, especially if you did it all by hand. Moreover, that’s what artisan pizza is all about.
What is artisan pizza? Artisan pizza is not your ordinary Italian cuisine. It is a unique art that involves exquisite flavor, craftsmanship, and love for tradition.
Making the best pizza doesn’t only revolve around the types and the number of ingredients used. You can make the best-tasting one with just a few ingredients.
Probably the best secret behind the artisan pizza recipe is the baker’s understanding of proper preparation, fermentation and oven management.
One can put together all the fancy toppings in the world. However, if the crust and the baking process are mediocre at best, the pizza becomes worthless.
The artisan pizza dough recipe should help you make the excellent pizza that has undergone proper fermentation and gentle handling. As opposed to mechanized pizzas that were hastily processed without undergoing these critical phases.