The Best Accessories For Making Homemade Pizza
To make delicious homemade pizza, you’ll need a few essential pieces of equipment. A pizza oven is obviously an excellent start (read our blog about how to choose a pizza oven). Here are our top tips for the other best tools to use.
1. Digital Scales
Making good pizza dough requires precision to get the right ratios of water, yeast, salt and flour and consistently perfect your dough every time. Digital scales are the only way of getting absolute accurate measurements.
Look for scales that allow you to measure very small quantities of salt and yeast (to an accuracy of 0.1g), up to heavier weights of flour and water (1kg or more). Dual platform scales like our set of Ooni Dual Platform Digital Scales are ideal for measuring very small and large weights of ingredients.
2. Large Mixing Bowl
A mixing bowl is an obvious one to include on our list, and all we really need to say here is make sure your bowl is big enough for the amount of pizza dough you plan to make.
A decent sized bowl is important for mixing your ingredients together before kneading the dough. It also needs to be big enough for the first bulk fermentation, where you should expect your dough to double in size.
After you’ve made your dough, and allowed it to bulk prove, the next step is to portion the dough (weighing accurately on your digital scales of course), form nice, tight dough balls and allow these to proof. The question is, what is the best container for proofing those dough balls?
What you don’t want is your dough balls rising nicely, but sticking together in a large proofing box. As you try to tickle a proofed ball out, easing it from the other dough balls and from the side of the tray, you’ll inevitably lose the tight plump shape and end up with more of a sorry looking pancake. This is a tragic moment for your pizza, as you need all the air trapped inside the plump ball to create a light and airy pizza crust.
Babadohs fix all of that heartache (well obviously we’re biased…but it’s true). Before Babadoh, we tried every dough proofing container you can think of to maintain the perfect, tight round dough ball. Read all about our struggle here .
Benefits of Babadoh:
- Holds (or we like to say 'hugs') each dough ball in the right shape.
- Made from lovely, flexible silicone so you can effortlessly ‘plop’ the dough ball out.
- Has a loose fitting lid to prevent the dough from drying out while letting excess gas from fermentation escape.
- Stackable to save space while your dough balls are proving.
- Easy to clean, fine to put in the fridge or freezer to save leftover dough.
- So much more, but you can read all about that here.
4. Dough Cutter
Sometimes called a dough cutter or dough scraper, this handy little tool is really versatile and has a few jobs:
- Use it to scrape dough off the work surface, or if you’re working with a particularly high hydration sticky dough, scrape dough off the mixing bowl and your hands too!
- It’s also useful to cut bulk proofed dough when portioning your dough balls for a second rise.
- It helps you handle high hydration dough. Use the scraper to gather the dough as you knead it.
- Another use is when you’re cleaning up – a dough scraper is ideal for scraping up all the flour and dried up bits of dough on the worktop after that pizza making session.
5. Infrared Thermometer
A high temperature in your pizza oven is important for the dough to quickly puff – water in the dough turns to steam in the heat which inflates the dough - and then crispen. Ideally, you want it to be 450-500°C to get that crispy base, chewy, puffy crust and melty bubbly cheese in less than a minute.
For this reason, it’s important to check your pizza oven temperature before launching each pizza to make sure the heat has hit that sweet spot for cooking. If the temperature is just a little bit too low, your pizza will still cook, but may not be quite as crispy and puffy. If it’s way too low, you’ll end up with raw dough on the inside.
An infrared thermometer allows you to point the laser on the oven surface and measure the temperature without getting close enough to singe your eyebrows.
6. Pizza Peel
A pizza peel is essential for transferring pizzas in and out of the oven. Typically a peel has a long handle with a flat wooden or metal board at the end.
We recommend you have two peels:
- One for launching your pizza into the oven and removing it again once cooked.
- Another for turning your pizza in the oven.
For launching, our preference is to use a perforated aluminium pizza peel, with a wide rectangular head and tapered end. Aluminium is lightweight, and the tapered end makes it easy to slide straight under the pizza base. The perforations serve a few purposes:
- Less metal so lighter weight than solid peels.
- Your pizza dough is in contact with a smaller surface area of metal so it’s less likely to stick.
- They allow excess flour to shake off the dough before launching (too much flour on the base can burn in the oven and leave a bad taste on your pizza).
- And they let hot air escape as you remove the cooked pizza from the oven, avoiding condensation and a soggy base.
Once you’ve got your pizza cooking in the oven, a turning peel is super handy for rotating the pizza to make sure it doesn’t burn. It’s also good for moving your pizza to a hotter or cooler part of the oven, and lifting the base to check if it is cooked.
Look for a turning peel with a small diameter to make it easy to turn your pizza, and a long handle so you can reach your pizza in the oven without getting too close to the heat and singeing those eyebrows you’ve already saved by using an infrared thermometer.
7. Serving Boards
There’s something about sliding your cooked pizza off the peel on to a nice pizza board. Obviously a plate will serve the same purpose (although it’s much easier to slice a pizza on a board) but if you’re looking for the authentic pizza presentation, get some boards.
8. Pizza Cutter
A decent, sharp pizza cutter is the best way to slice your perfectly cooked pizza. You could use a knife, but the slicing action tends to drag all your cheese and toppings off.
If you go for a wheel cutter, make sure it’s sturdy, sharp and the blade doesn’t wobble. A blunt, wobbly blade will just mash up your pizza rather than nicely slice it. Rocker style pizza cutters are good for getting that professional slice in one go, and particularly good for deeper pizzas e.g. Detroit style.
9. Pizza Sauce Ladle
A flat bottom pizza sauce ladle is perhaps a nice to have rather than an essential, but will definitely make you look like a pro. Very handy for portioning your pizza sauce and spreading it evenly across the base.
10. Cheese Grater
Finishing off your pizza with a sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan, pecorino or any other delicious hard cheese is a nice touch and adds a little extra flavour. Make sure your grater is sharp enough to give a quick and generous dusting of cheese.
11. Rolling Pin
While Neapolitan and New York style pizza dough should be stretched by hand, rolling pizza dough gives you a nice thin crust by squeezing out all of the gas filled bubbles. We prefer to use a long wooden rolling pin when aiming for thin pizzas and some of our favourite Turkish dishes like Lahmacun and pide.
12. Docking Tool
After stretching or rolling out your pizza base, a docking tool crimps the surface to avoid bubbles forming when cooking. This is particularly useful when you want to cook an untopped pizza base blind, and then add cold pizza toppings after cooking. We use ours a lot for sweet dessert pizzas – dock and cook a pizza base, then allow to cool before piling on melted chocolate and fruit.
Remember, while having the right equipment is important, it's also essential to use quality ingredients and follow a good recipe to make the perfect homemade pizza. Enjoy your pizza-making adventures!