The Secret To Perfect Homemade Pizza Is Water

If your homemade pizza dough never seems to taste as good as in a restaurant, there could be a simple explanation. According to one of the world's best pizza chefs, an often overlooked ingredient is H2O. In short, don't use unfiltered tap water.

Photo: Pizza Party

In a recent interview with Smithsonian Magazine, World Pizza Cup champion Tony Gemignani explained why you shouldn't use regular tap water in your pizza dough.

When it comes to producing a great crust, Gemignani stresses that you should not underestimate water. “If you don’t drink your tap water, why would you use it to make your dough?,” says Gemignani.   As Gemignani points out, water is pizza dough’s second largest ingredient behind flour, and it’s what affects how the dough handles, stretches, and holds together.

If you want to get properly gourmet, you could use Italian bottled water when making your dough, although a filter on your tap is obviously more cost effective. You could also try boiling the water first and letting it cool.

Now, it could be argued that psychology plays a pretty big part here — once you've covered your pizza base in toppings and baked it in the oven, the purity level of your water is unlikely to make a huge difference to how the end product tastes. On the other hand, even a subtle improvement is better than none at all.

You can find more of Gemignani's pizza-making tips in the aforementioned article. For a step-by-step guide to making traditional pizzas with Tuscan Artisan bread, click here.

[Via Smithsonian Magazine]


    “If you don’t drink your tap water, why would you use it to make your dough?,”

    Tap water is about all I drink at home.

      Do you live in Adelaide?

      The tap water here is (of course) perfectly safe to drink, but the harsh minerally taste means people tend not to.

      It's enough that we use filter water for cooking and can tell the difference.

      This especially applies for ice-cubes which can ruin the taste of a drink.

        Took me a few months but then I got used to Adelaide water - couldn't taste the difference!

    What about people who drink lots of diet coke? Should they use that in their pizza dough? Is anything that we like to drink suitable?

    I suspect that most people making pizza at home don't make the dough, though. They just get a pizza base or pita bread for it.

      Tried to make pizza dough once, ended up being bread. Sucked for pizza, but on the plus side, I now have a decent bread recipe...

    I thought it sounded like a lot of wank, but then I read the full article. What the pizza man actually says is that if your tap water
    ...comes out of the faucet tasting bad and looking cloudy
    then you don't want to use it.

    Which is useful as a rule of thumb. I mean, you don't want rust, dirt, or legionella bacteria in your dinner.

    However, there are a lot of harmless reasons the water could taste bad or look cloudy. Most commonly, the bad taste could be due to strong chlorination, in which case, boiling (or leaving the water in an open container for several hours) would evaporate off the chlorine. Is that necessary? Maybe if you're using a sourdough starter like Mr. pizza guy; but if you're just throwing in a sachet of baker's yeast, it'll probably handle it fine.

    As for the cloudiness, it's usually caused by tiny air bubbles that dissipate after a few minutes and have no negative effects.

    I make Roti Canai and use them as my pizza bases. Especially when I make a curry chicken pizza.

      Oh man a million thanks for this for reminding me to learn and make this. Thanks x million

    what am I dog... Of course I use bottled water in my pizza ... FIJI water sent to Italy to be lightly carbonated - this then makes the only pizza I will eat

    As long as it has been filtered through your kidneys, it should be fine...

    Water ?
    I use flour and yoghurt to make my pizza bases, take 10 min to do and can have the pizza ready to cook in 15 min total.
    Makes for a sweeter tasting base and you can have several pizzas cooked by the time you would have done a traditional one.

    Because I couldn't resist: All your (pizza) bases are belong to us

      Flour and yoghurt makes a great dough. I've never baked it though, only used it for flat breads cooked in a pan or on the BBQ either plain or stuffed like a gozleme - yum!
      I'll give it a go next time I make pizzas.

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