When we wanted to learn how to make true authentic Italian pizzas, we knew just who to call... Chef Diana Testa, owner of Italian Cooking Lessons and fabulous cooking instructor. She teamed up with Patio & Pizza Outdoor Furnishings in 2019 to offer her authentic Italian expertise along with pizza oven demonstrations, training videos, and cooking classes to our community.
Today, Diana joined me on my patio to show me how to make the best pizza dough to cook in my wood-fired oven. And, luckily, when making lots of dough, you get to cook lots of scrumptious Italian cuisine to test!
First, we started a fire in my pizza oven so we could bring the cooking space to the correct temperature. The fire was easily started in the oven using starter from Cutting Edge Firewood.
While the oven was warming up, Diana showed me how to make pizza dough with instant yeast. She said she typically would use yeast to make the dough rise but she uses the instant yeast method when she doesn't have time for the dough to rise or when she's cooking with children as they want to make pizzas NOW.
Today's easy pizza dough recipe included the following ingredients:
- 1-1/2 Cups Water
- 1 Teaspoon Sugar
- 1 Packet Instant Dry Yeast
- 3-1/2 cups Caputo Tipo "00" Flour
- 2-3 TableSpoons Bertolli Extra Virgin Oil
- 1 Pinch salt
The next step to making the perfect pizza is rolling out your dough. Chef Diana showed us how to roll out her Italian dough and then added the perfect ingredients for a traditional Margherita pizza. Diana uses a thin crust pizza dough recipe as she shows in the video.
We waited until the temperature in the pizza oven was near 750 degrees. Then, we put the pizza in the oven. It makes it much easier to put your pizza in the oven if you put flour or cornmeal on the peel before putting your dough on the peel. This helps the pizza slide off the peel better.
After putting in the Margherita pizza, we create another masterpiece pie with pesto and artichokes. Diana decided to put this one in the pizza oven herself.
To determine if your pizza is ready, take a look at the crust as explained below.
With a hot fire and extra dough, we continued making and baking. Deciding what to make with pizza dough was easy with the pizza dough recipe we used. What do you do with extra dough? You make focaccia of course! We used Rosemary and Extra Virgin Olive Oil for our focaccia. Focaccia is extremely popular in Italy and apparently the most sold for kids.
The best part of cooking pizza is seeing it come out of the oven bubbling with an aroma that only comes from being baked in an authentic wood burning oven.
Although I'm personally a vegetarian and no longer indulge on the mighty meat pizza, I would be remiss if we didn't make at least one pepperoni pizza. It is well-known that pepperoni is a favorite pizza topping in the USA. However, Diana told me something about pepperoni in Italy that will make you change the way you order when you visit.
Overall, this was such a terrific day. I had such a great time making dough, pizzas, focaccia, and calzones with Diana. The lessons learned are too many to count so I'm looking forward to another day on the patio with Chef Diana at the helm!