Do you love the idea of making pizza for yourself or your family, but you’re not sure about the best way to put it together – when to add the cheese, the sauce, and the toppings? Whether it’s better to start with sauce or the cheese, or whether the cheese should be over or under the other toppings? What goes on a pizza first is a hot topic for many chefs and home cooks alike. The right answer can vary by country and by simple preference, but to get the most out of your ingredients in terms of flavor and texture, there are some simple rules that can make your pizza the best it can be.
The order of toppings is critical to avoid under cooked or mushy cheese or other ingredients, which would detract from the flavor, appearance, and texture of your pizza. To avoid this and preserve the flavor and appeal of your ingredients (not to mention cook them properly), it’s best to get them in the right order. In general, the sauce should go on first, then the cheese, then the toppings. This way, the cheese and toppings enjoy the direct heat of the oven, which lets the toppings cook thoroughly while remaining crispy, while the cheese melts, browns, and bubbles. While there are certain parts of the world that shift this order around, there are convincing arguments to support sticking to this standard rule whenever possible.
When cheese is above the sauce, the heat melts and toasts it into a robust flavor and a crispier texture. With your other ingredients above the cheese, they also cook evenly and completely – not to mention, when the toppings are over the cheese, you can see what’s on the pizza! Displaying the colors, shapes, and textures of your ingredients over the cheese makes your pizza not only taste better but look better.
During cooking, the heat of the oven causes water vapor to be released from toppings. When the toppings are hidden under the cheese, that vapor has nowhere to go which essentially puts your toppings in a steam bath and results in mushy ingredients and soggy pizza. To avoid this and keep your pizza tasting and looking better, don’t trap your ingredients under a layer of cheese.
If you cook your pizza with fruit under the cheese, you will get fruit mush. If you bury pepperoni beneath a cheese layer, you will end up with soggy pepperoni. Very few pizza toppings benefit from being steamed – so to prevent ending up with mush keep your toppings on top where they can cook and crisp up as they should.
And of course, the best way to spread the tomato sauce is directly onto the bare dough. This method is much easier than trying to spread it over cheese and toppings, and results in an even distribution of the sauce that would be impossible otherwise. Not to mention, keeping the sauce on the bottom preserves the eye-catching display of toppings that has you eagerly looking forward to that first bite.
Also, you should use steel rather than a pizza stone. The steel will conduct heat much more efficiently, letting your pizza get direct heat from below as well as above. This makes sure your dough cooks to a golden brown without the curse of under cooked dough.
Steel also won’t shatter and is easier to clean than a stone.
Another tip for making great pizza at home is to order pizza topping from Sonoma Farm. Made with spices and herbs that will impart a rich, tangy flavor to your pizza, their pizza topping is 100% vegetarian, trans fat-free, and contains less than 10% fat. This tangy, spreadable topping makes a delicious addition to any pizza, and is made using hand-picked and processed tomatoes, spices, and herbs for an authentic Italian flavor. It’s also a healthy choice, with a good balance of proteins and carbohydrates. To try it out on your next pizza, visit Sonoma Farm at https://www.sonomafarm.com/ and place your order today.