Tony GemignaniHow To Make Pizza With
The 13-Time World Pizza Champion

You (yes, you!) can make perfect, pillowy, fresh pizzas at home. All you need is a teacher, and who better than World Pizza Champion Tony Gemignani? Join him as he teaches you everything you need to know!

Glossary & Resources

Ingredients: Flour

Choice of flour makes a big difference in pizza results. In this video, Tony uses Caputo Blue, a type of 00 flour (which is very fine and made from the very centre of wheat grains).

Ingredients: Salt

Salt is essential to good flavour in pizza. Tony recommends you add the salt last to avoid any negative effects it may have on the yeast.

Ingredients: Sugar

Sugar (and also oil) is often cited in pizza recipes, but the reason is mostly to help pizza crusts brown better in low-temperature ovens (domestic ovens). If you’re cooking your pizzas in an Ooni pizza oven, there’s no need to add sugar or oil, your pizza will brown just fine!

Ingredients: Water

In this masterclass, Tony uses two different temperatures of water. He mixes the active dry yeast in warm water, lets it rest for a bit, and then uses ice cold water for the second stage of mixing. Combined with the TIGA starter, this recipe has a hydration rate of about 60%, that’s just how much water is in the dough vs dry ingredients. 

 

Hydration is a concept often debated in pizza-making! You can learn more in the glossary term “Terms: Hydration” below.

Ingredients: Yeast

You have many choices when it comes to leavening/rising agents in pizza. Most commonly, you’ll come across several choices:

 

- Active dry yeast (ADY), which is sold in grocery stores in the baking section. It’s dehydrated and comes to life in contact with warm water. 

 

- Fresh yeast, which is the “living” version of yeast. It’s often said it’s more flavourful, but results are not as controlled as those achieved with ADY.

 

- Sourdough is a mix of flour and water that’s left to ferment until it develops its own yeast. It takes time to make, but it grants pizzas a truly special taste and texture. See how to start your own sourdough culture/starter here. If in doubt, read through our super useful guide.

 

- Poolish, BIGA, TIGA: If you see these terms, they refer to a starter (leavening agent) that is made of a precise mix of water, flour and yeast that’s been left to ferment until ready to use in dough. Much like sourdough, this special leavening agent will give your pizzas enhanced flavour and texture! But they take a long time to prepare and you have to be exact in how and when you mix your ingredients. Learn more about these starters below.
 
For a full easy-to-read guide about yeast, you can’t miss this one signed off by Ooni:  Explainer - All You Knead is Yeast!

Pizza Styles: Neapolitan

In Naples, there is an association called the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN-The True Neapolitan Pizza Association) which sets out the official rules to make Neapolitan Pizza. Moreover, this type of pizza is a Traditional Specialty Guaranteed (TSG) in Europe, meaning that there are specific criteria to fulfil in order to be able to claim the truthfulness of a Neapolitan pizza. An example? San Marzano Tomatoes and Mozzarella di Bufala are a must! For this reason, we usually refer to this pizza as Neapolitan- Style Pizza meaning that we ensure the classic features for its base: dough made with 00 flour, a soft, chewy, pillowy crust and a crisp spotted base.

 

Traditionally, the True Neapolitan Pizza should have light toppings on it, for example the Margherita Pizza or the Marinara Pizza. However, for the Neapolitan-Style Pizza toppings can vary. If you want to see the ingredient list for Tony Geminiani’s Neapolitan dough recipe, check the recipe section below.

Pizza Styles: New York

This style, created by an Italian pizzaiolo in New York, derives from the Neapolitan Pizza. Typical features include large slices, thin base, and a thick and crisp crust. This pizza is topped with low moisture mozzarella and a flavour-packed sauce made with herbs and garlic. Want to try it out? Check out our full New-York - Style Pizza Dough recipe and the New-York - Style Pizza Sauce recipe.

Pizza Styles: Chicago

Did you know Chicago is usually called deep-dish pizza city? Now you know why. This iconic pizza is an actual deep pie filled with cheese, tomato sauce and meat, while the crust remains thin and crisp. You'll need to cook it in a cast iron pan. Read our full recipe or watch this mouthwatering video recipe.

Pizza Styles: Detroit

The story goes that this style was born in Detroit when people began using industrial metal pans to cook pizza. Its rectangular shape is due to the sheet pan or baking tray used and the result is a thick, fluffy, chewy-on-the-inside pizza. Fun fact: the toppings are layered with the cheese below the sauce, the pepperoni goes directly on the crust while other ingredients are placed on the cheese layer. Don’t forget! The sauce is always the final layer. Read our full recipe or watch our super video recipe.

Pizza Styles: Roman

Let’s take an imaginary flight from Detroit to Rome... Can you guess what pizza style you will find there? No need to imagine, just watch our video! It’s the Roman-style Pizza Bianca: boasting a slightly taller crust that’s almost like a flat focaccia, topped with either olive oil and salt or a simple tomato sauce. It’s usually sold by the slice in bakeries across the city. Get the full recipe here!

Recipe: Neapolitan Dough

The ingredients Tony Gemignani uses in this masterclass are:

- 90 grams TIGA starter

- 453 grams Caputo Blue 00 Flour

- 70 grams warm water (between 27°C and 32°C)

- 210 grams ice cold water (4°C)

- 2.3 grams active dry yeast

- 10 grams fine sea salt

 

Mix in the order shown in the masterclass, shape, top and launch!

Terms: BIGA

BIGA is a pre-ferment (or dough starter). When you make a pizza with BIGA, the result is an airy, more digestible 50-60% hydration dough rich in flavor and texture.

 

To make BIGA, you mix a small amount of yeast, flour and water in precise quantities, then leave it to pre-ferment before adding to pizza dough. Check the full recipe or this video!

Terms: Hydration

Dough hydration is the amount of water you put into your pizza dough recipe. Usually it’s referred to as a percentage. The most common % are: 60%, 65% and 70%. The higher the hydration, the stickier and harder to handle your raw dough will be.

 

Curious to understand what the main differences are? We’ve got you covered! We have a really straightforward article or a beginner's tutorial to watch!

Terms: Poolish

Poolish is a pre-ferment (or dough starter). It's similar to sourdough, but easier to prepare. How? All it takes is a small amount of yeast (dry or fresh), and equal parts flour and water, making it 100% hydration. Mix together and leave to rest at room temperature for around 24 hours, before adding to your dough the next day. We don’t have a tutorial using Poolish yet, but you can find many online!

Terms: TIGA

The TIGA dough starter was invented by Tony Gemignani - The T in Tiga stands for Tony!

It’s like a BIGA pre-ferment (or dough starter), but with a higher hydration at around 70%. You can find the recipe for Tony’s TIGA in his book, The Pizza Bible (which we highly recommend), or here!

Techniques: Kneading

Watch our kneading tutorial here. Or, if you don't feel like getting your hands dirty, we have a no-knead tutorial for you here!

Techniques: Launching

Launching is the action of getting the dough off of the peel and into the Ooni pizza oven. You should never, ever, cook your pizza while it's still on the peel. The peel is cold, and you want your dough to be touching the scorching hot stone!

 

It may seem tricky to launch pizzas, but it really isn't. Watch this video or read this article to see how to master it.

Techniques: Shaping

Shaping your dough into a neat disk matters! It can seem daunting because you may get holes when you're starting out, but our tutorial will show you how to get it right.

Techniques: Tossing

Now this technique certainly takes a bit of practice, but it really is not super essential, it just adds to your showmanship! Let us show you how to get started with this quick tutorial!

Techniques: Turning

While your pizza is cooking, you will want to turn it so it browns evenly. Inside an Ooni pizza oven, your pizza will cook FAST, so you'll want to keep an eye on it at all times. To turn it, you can simply retrieve it with your peel and manually rotate it. Or you can get more sophisticated and use one of our Turning Peels to turn pizzas without taking them out of the oven, like Tony does in the masterclass.

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