Pizza Party is a mobile pizza catering service that provides stone based Italian pizzas for parties and corporate functions. We recently caught up with the company's founder Simone Franchi and asked him how to create the perfect pizza. Here are his tips.
Simone Franchi has been in the professional pizza making business for ten years. His company Pizza Party follows the Tuscan Artisan approach to bread making, which involves taking time to prepare a slow rising dough. His pizzas are cooked directly onto the stone of a mobile wood fired pizza oven while clients mill around salivating at the aromas (we speak from experience.)
Below are Franchi's best pizza-making tips, along with the company's recipe for a traditional pizza base.
Rule #1: Keep it simple!
“Less is more! The tomato sauce and mozzarella should be the most prominent ingredients. Some people like to use lots of toppings but this causes the dough [in the middle] to take longer to rise which makes the crust dry out too much.
"Pizza Party never puts more than three ingredients on top of a pizza, apart from the tomato and mozzarella. I prefer Margherita [tomato, sliced mozzarella, basi] which is the original and in my opinion, the best.”
Rule #2: Use 'Grade A' ingredients
"Using top quality ingredients really makes a difference to how the pizza tastes: it might cost a little more but it is worth it. For the sauce, Italian San Marzano tomatoes are traditional, but you can also use whole peeled tomato in a can -- just don't get the cheapest ones you can find!"
Rule #3: Thick base < Thin base
“Thick, deep pan-style pizzas are too doughy. Keep your base thin in the middle and a little thicker around the edges to form a crust for enhanced flavour."
Rule #4: Making good pizzas takes time
"Many pizzas are full of yeast which gives a very short time of rising. The dough needs to rest for at least eight hours with 24 hours being ideal."
Rule #5 Share the love!
"We came up with the idea for Pizza Party when we were making pizzas for old and new friends, cooking and teaching them the alchemy of dough rising. We noticed how much fun the experience was; it become an interactive tasting party. Pizza making is always more fun when you are doing it with friends!"
Traditional pizza base recipe
Ingredients: (The ingredients are proportioned to 1 lt of water, if you do more or less dough work in this proportion.)
- Water: 1 lt
- Sea Salt: 50-55 g
- Fresh yeast: 3 g or Dry yeast: 7 g
- 00 Flour: 1,700/1,800g
- In a deep bowl, combine the yeast with the water at the temperature of 25 C. Leave it for 5 minutes, add the salt then stir through.
- Add half of the total ﬂour to the water and stir with a wooden spoon. When it is mixed together keep adding half of the ﬂour remaining, stir trough then add the rest of the ﬂour and keep stirring.
- At this stage you will have to empty the mix onto a bench or board and start kneading the dough by hand. Use all the reaming ﬂour in the bowl and mix it through.
- Using both your hands, ﬂip the dough folding inwards. Keep kneading for 10 minutes until your ﬁngers donʼt stick to the dough anymore. If you need to add little bit more ﬂour you can, but you donʼt want your dough to be too dry. At this stage the dough should be elastic and soft.
- Cover the dough with a damp cloth so that there is no air passing through (you can also put the dough in a clean plastic bag) but leave enough space for the rising, as it will rise!
- Leave it to rest for at least 2 hours.
- The next step is to make the dough balls. They can be between 180-250 g. You have to do them by hand. You should be able to make from 12 to 16 balls.
- Put the balls in an air tight container and leave them to rest for 6 hours.
- Put a dough ball on the bench, ﬂour it then ﬂatten it with your ﬁnger tips, starting from the edge using a round motion, towards the center, so that you get a little disk. Now you can use your rolling pin or you can ﬂatten it by hand, which is preferred.
- Once you make a disk of about 30 cm, put it in a greased tray and push the dough to the edge of the tray, giving it a nice roundness and without letting it ﬂip over the edge.
- With a spoon place the tomato sauce leaving a little edge for the crust to happen. put the tomato in the middle of the disc and spread it outwards making a spiral design..3-4 table spoon should do.
- Place some mozzarella (sliced mozzarella block is preferred than grated but do what you can) on top of the tomato. Put the oven on full strength. minimum 250 C, max 420 C.
Pizza Party offers a range of services ranging from kid's 'Bambini" parties to corporate events and weddings. For more information, head to their website.
Do you have a signature pizza recipe of your own? Share your culinary creations in the comments section below!