Over the past year, improved vegan cheeses have created a nationwide pizza renaissance. From California to Chicago to New York, it’s becoming more accessible to pick up a vegan pie, no questions asked. Still, some customers can’t quite claim veg options in their city (check out our tips for improving veg options), and others are trying to cut back on dining out. Luckily, there’s one place you can always get the ultimate pizza: your kitchen.
Variety is the Spice
With thousands of pizzerias to choose from, there are two things that separate one pie from the next: the crust and the sauce. At least 21 regional pizza styles are recognized, from the classic New York-style to the lesser-known Ohio-valley style. Shape, crust style, and sauce are the secrets to pizzerias’ attempts to distinguish themselves from the competition.
Whether you’ve sampled every style or stick to what you know, recreating your favorite pie at home is a snap. If you want to start simple, whip up an easy crust and add this versatile pizza sauce for a mouth-watering base. Prefer deep-dish pan pizza? Try this herbed deep-dish crust, and perform your own masterful tweaks such as seasoning add-ins, special sizes, and endless topping combinations.
Investing in a $5,000 brick oven may not be the first step to take when approaching at-home pizza making. On the other hand, there are a few tricks of the trade that will raise the chances of a restaurant-quality creation instead of a DIY disaster. Barna Mink, San Francisco-based activist and founder of the blog Ethical Pizza, recommends three key items for serious chefs, all costing less than $15.
- Danish dough whisk. For mixing wet doughs with ease, pick up one of these uniquely shaped—and easy-to-clean—tools.
- Silicone scraper. Once your dough is ready to shape, a scraper is essential for easy removal of sticky mixes, eliminating the possibility of waste. A steel scraper is also perfect for cutting dough and quick counter cleanup.
- Pizza screen. When it comes to baking, Mink can’t recommend this affordable pan enough. The circular wire rack ensures even baking and outperforms the often-promoted—and pricier—pizza stone, according to Mink.
Tricks of the Trade
Once your kitchen is stocked with all the must-have gadgets, keep these tips in mind before you begin.
- Use flour to keep the pizza dough from sticking to the counter or on your hands. Learning to handle wet dough gets much easier with experience, so be patient. Clean as you go to prevent any dough from drying on bowls or tools.
- Slice toppings very thin so they cook quicker, lowering the risk of burning your pizza crust to thoroughly cook the veggies.
Part of the vegan pizza revolution, veg-friendly chain zPizza bakes fresh Berkeley Vegan pies daily. Their homage to herbivores includes melted vegan cheese, loads of fresh vegetables, and a sprinkling of meat-free crumbles for an extra kick. Try the no-fail Berkeley Vegan combo at home using your favorite crust and sauce recipes.