No matter how fresh and perfectly you combine the toppings, any pizza you make is lacking in overall quality if the crust isn't good. Your crust is much more than just the conveyor of sauce, cheese and toppings; in many cases, the crust gives the pizza character and real authentic flavor. All pizza makers have their own individual techniques for making the dough, but olive oil is usually part of the process at more than one stage.
The Master of Your Domain
When you make your own pizza, you can create any type of crust you want. Stretching the dough thin and adding less olive oil to the ingredients list helps make a thin and crispy crust. Substituting some milk for half the water with more olive oil and yeast and not rolling it so thin results in a thicker, chewier crust.
Before the Oven
Add some high-quality olive oil to your pizza to enhance the flavor; using olive oil instead of another type of oil makes your dough distinctly Italian. Drizzle or brush some olive oil around the edges of the dough before it goes into the oven to make that part of the crust bake golden brown and crisp. Some pizza makers also swirl some olive oil over the toppings just before they put the pizza in the oven for added flavor.
After the Oven
When the pizza comes out of the oven, fully cooked, drizzle some high-quality olive oil over the top to enhance all the other flavors on the pizza. Some pizza makers who sell their pizza by the slice add a few drizzles of olive oil before handing the hot slice over to the customer. A light drizzle gives the pizza a hint of the fruitiness of the oil without overpowering it or taking away from the toppings.
Choosing Your Olive Oil
Olive oil, which is made from the fruit of olive trees, is sold in various classifications. The highest one, and the oil used by all serious pizza makers, is extra virgin olive oil. To be considered "extra virgin," the oil must come from the first pressing of the olives, can't be produced using any solvents or chemicals, and the temperature during the mechanical extraction must always be lower than 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil is the highest quality.
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