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In what order do I top a pizza? - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community



I'm Peter Reinhart! Ask Me Anything! Monday, February 15, 2016 7:00-8:00 pm EST

To kick off our AMA feature, we have invited author, chef and master bread maker and host of Pizza Quest, Peter Reinhart, to be our first host! Peter will be in the Forum on Monday, February 15th, from 7:00 - 8:00 pm EST. If you are unable to be online during the live session, you can post your questions in the sticky post. Peter will answer those questions during the live session on February 15th. You can view Peter's answers to your questions as well as what happened during the live session in the session thread.

Ask Me Anything New Forum Feature

You will notice a new forum at the top of the main page called, "Ask Me Anything". This forum will be used for live one hour "Ask Me Anything" (AMA) sessions hosted by people who are knowledgeable in different areas pertaining to wood fired ovens. How it works:
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We hope you enjoy this new feature! Please let us know if there is a topic that you'd like to have as an AMA and we'll look for a host!

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In what order do I top a pizza?

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  • In what order do I top a pizza?

    To my (infancy of pizza making) mind, there seem to be three stages to topping off a pizza:

    The base tomato sauce (which might alternatively be a pesto or as I have done in another thread, a base sauce of finely chopped caramelised onions).

    A sprinkling of cheese (likely to be grated cheese)

    Finally topped with tit bits like, anchovies, olives, pepper and a hundred other things!

    Does this sound about right? I suppose what I'm getting at is that it would be easy to smother, and keep out of sight, the tit bits, with cheese, wouldn't it? Do you generally aim to put the base sauce on and then the cheese layer followed by the myriad of other toppings? I understand that these toppings are best kept to a minimum, perhaps three at most?

  • #2
    Re: In what order do I top a pizza?

    I tend to put the cheese on top, because it tends to melt down and tie the other ingredients together. I also use pieces of cheese instead of grated, so the other things show through. Nothing wrong with fresh grated cheese, but the pre-grated stuff in bags contain starches and stabilizers to keep the little curls from clumping.
    My geodesic oven project: part 1, part 2


    • #3
      Re: In what order do I top a pizza?

      I go the same as Dmun - sauce, topping then cheese. This perhaps comes from a background of using too much toppings and the cheese stops it all the topping falling off.
      Real men cook with fire
      My Oven and Fireplace Build


      • #4
        Re: In what order do I top a pizza?

        Similar with me... except instead of chunks or grated curls of Mozz I use thin(ish) slices. Some ingredients are put under the cheese; others above. Under (examples): grated parmesan or romano, fresh or dried oregano, garlic, green onions (scallions), oil-cured 'dried' tomato; Over (examples): peperoni, pancetta, onion chunks/slices, fresh tomato, mushrooms, olives. Fresh basil go on at the end, often after pizza is out of the oven. I try to manage evaporation/cremation since some toppings ooze liquid and other burn too quickly and taste bad if charred too much.


        • #5
          Re: In what order do I top a pizza?

          Originally posted by bimbo View Post
          I go the same as Dmun - sauce, topping then cheese. This perhaps comes from a background of using too much toppings and the cheese stops it all the topping falling off.
          There was a cooking show on TV in the US a few (maybe 10) years ago that used as a mantra something like 'cheese before sauce' to avoid "pizza slide". The rationale was that there was not a lubricating layer of sauce between the crust and the congealed mass of cheese-and-toppings. I tried it; it doesn't work. What works to avoid pizza slide is what you suggest -- not using too much toppings!


          • #6
            Re: In what order do I top a pizza?

            You have a lot of good advice! Here's my approach.

            IF I want oil (other than a final drizzle) on the pizza I do it first - the oil helps keep the dough from absorbing water. One of my favorite oils is garlic oil from slow "boiling" garlic cloves in oil. The caramelized garlic is also used as a topping from time to time.

            I typically put tomato sauce on first and if first always fairly lightly to avoid putting a lot of wet stuff on top of the dough, but...not always. I tend to put it on later if I do dabs to help keep the wet sauce off the dough.

            I tend to put fragile things (like fresh basil, chives, etc.) on next or after I take it out of the oven. Also, nuts (especially if they are already toasted.

            Next comes cheese - usually in dabs/gobs/chunks.

            Then wet things like fresh tomatoes.

            Then possibly a bit more mozz just to make it look good and glue it together a bit more.

            Then nuts if they aren't toasted.

            Then meats like salami, sausage, or pepperoni so they can char a bit in the heat. (I boil my pepperoni briefly (30 seconds say) to reduce the oil content).

            And finally, I do parme last!

            A lot like the others but I think I am more "wet" averse. I don't like a lot of wet things on the dough.

            However, I also must point out a lot of my pizzas are dabs so they deliberately do not have a uniform look and every bite is different. In that case the sequence is often not as important.

            Good luck!


            • #7
              Re: In what order do I top a pizza?

              If I hadn't been so busy with putting pizzas in and out of the oven I might have had more control about the making of the pizzas! I leant a lot that day.