From Scratch: How to Make a 5-Star Pizza at Home, According to an Italian Chef
When one's made a career in cupcakes (and has even been credited with inciting the nationwide craze), making a foray into pizza doesn't necessarily seem like a natural next step. But for Candace Nelson and her husband Charles, the couple behind Sprinkles Cupcakes, a passion for pizza and the science behind baking made this savoury venture a no-brainer. Aptly named Pizzana, their latest palatable project serves up handcrafted Neo-Neapolitan pies created by Naples-born master pizzaiolo Daniele Uditi. With toppings that include fior di latte, crispy prosciutto crudo, zucchini blossom, burrata, housemade amatriciana, cilantro lime sauce, and queso fresco, Uditi puts a tantalising spin on the Naples staple, topping off his signature "slow dough" blend for the Southern California palate.
The restaurant was carefully designed using artful details like a ceramic tile mural—reminiscent of Italian architect Gio Ponti—crafted by Los Angeles-based artist Mark Hagen. Guests become immersed in the pizza-making experience, watching pizzaiolos firing pies in the hand-crafted wood-burning oven. Uditi shares his step-by-step tips for making great Italian pizza at home. Keep scrolling to see the space, hear more about the restaurant's offerings, and tune in for Pizzana's master pizzaiolo Uditi's homemade pizza secrets.
Make Your Pizza Dough at Least 24 Hours Before You Plan to Use it
"Preferably a full 48 hours in advance like we do at Pizzana. The additional fermentation period makes for a crust that is lighter and easier to digest."
Use High Quality Ingredients
"At Pizzana, we use a blend of imported Italian flours for our dough and are importing San Marzano tomatoes grown exclusively for us in the Neapolitan countryside. Home cooks should look for a high protein flour such as King Arther's High-Gluten Flour ($9) and canned San Marzano tomatoes to make their sauce."
"At Pizzana, we use a Stefano Ferrari wood-burning oven that was hand-crafted for us in Italy to achieve a crisp crust that you can pick up and eat with one hand. Traditional home ovens can't heat higher than 500 degrees, so if you're serious about your pizza game, I'd recommend investing in a portable Blackstone Pizza Oven ($375).
Don't Over-Top Your Pizza
"While it can be tempting to load up your pizza with all your favorite ingredients, be thoughtful about the number and weight of the items you are using—you don't want to weigh down your pizza. If working with vegetables that have a high water content, sauté or roast them first, so they release their moisture before you add them to your pie."
Don't Be Afraid to Experiment
"When I grew up in Italy, the pizzas we are making at Pizzana are best described as Neo-Neapolitan, a fresh interpretation of the style you would experience in Naples. One of my favorite pizzas on our menu is the Messicana—an ode to my wife that features chorizo, cilantro lime sauce, sweet chili, jalapenño, and queso fresco."