Pizza -- a ubiquitous and utterly delicious food that's beloved for a good reason. The hot, melty cheese, the subtle sweetness of a good marinara sauce, and of course the perfectly crispy crust all come together in a simple yet wonderful slice of flavors and textures. But even though pizza is simple, mastering it at home can at times seem like an elusive goal. Luckily, that doesn't mean it's not possible to get close to your favorite wood-fired joint. You don't need a wood-fired oven in the corner of your kitchen to make great pizza at home. Instead, you need a pizza stone.
One of the hardest components of pizza to nail at home is the texture of the crust. And while a lot of this will come from the dough recipe, it's the baking that will ultimately get you to that perfectly crisp texture throughout. The stone will heat up with the oven, meaning it's good and hot when you place the pie on it to bake. This helps the crust cook evenly without burning the edges or leaving you with a soggy middle. It's one of the best ways to replicate the environment of a pizza oven in your home, and you can use it for baking bread, as well.
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Elevate Your Homemade Pizza
If you love making pizza at home but want to take it up a notch, there are some easy ways to do this. First, as with any dish, opt for the best possible ingredients. Use quality, fresh mozzarella for better flavor and texture in the cheese. Always sprinkle fresh herbs, like basil -- they pack far more flavor than their dried counterparts. While store-bought dough can do the trick, homemade dough is going to have a better texture and flavor, plus you get the joy of kneading it yourself.
Consider making your own homemade marinara sauce for your pies, too. It may seem complicated, but most recipes are actually quite simple and just require a little time on the stove. (Just be sure to reduce it enough to avoid a watery result). The resulting flavor of fresh, homemade sauce will make you never want to use jarred sauce again. When it's time to bake, make sure you've got some semolina on hand. Using that to keep your pizza from sticking to the stone will work best and produce a texture that's just like the restaurant.
Read the original article on Tasting Table.