10 Best Gifts to Give the at Home Pizza Maker 2020

Best Gifts to Give the Pizza Lover and Chef in Your Life


Find the tools that will help your at-home pizzaiolo take their pizza to the next level!


Making pizza at home has exploded in popularity during the global pandemic. During global quarantines and lockdowns, people are learning to cook traditional takeout items from the safety of their own homes. Pizzamaking is a fun and rewarding craft and with the right tools and equipment the road to making the perfect pizza is that much more attainable.

If you or someone you love is interested in learning to make pizza, this list is full of tried and true tools of the trade that makes the process easier and produce far superior results. This is not just a random list of affiliate links and clickbait. As a professional pizza maker who worked in the business for nearly 15 years and has been making pizza at home for 25 years, I have personally purchased and used each of these tools successfully and they carry my full recommendation.

1. Pizza Stone or Steel

Perhaps the easiest way to upgrade your pizza baking capabilities without the expense of buying a pizza oven is to get a pizza stone or steel. These two tools can replicate pizzeria quality results and super crispy crusts at a low price point. The differences between the two is that a steel will preheat and recover quicker where a stone will maintain heat for longer. A stone is generally maintenance free while a steel does require some seasoning and maintenance. Both are great options and produce fantastic pizzas.

The Pizzacraft baking stone is a great way to make restaurant quality pizza at home! Photo Credit: pizzacraft.com

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2. Pizza Pans

Many at home pizza makers start out using cookie sheets and pans they already have available at home. Cookie sheets, particularly lightly colored ones are designed to deflect heat away from cookies so they don't brown too much on the bottom. The hallmark of a great pizza pan is that it transfers heat quickly and evenly into the dough, creating a crisp and even crust.

I worked with cookie sheets and cheap pans at home for years and it wasn't until I listened to more experienced pizza makers that quality of pans matters and invested in some LloydPans that I started making restaurant quality pan pizzas. Not only do I get a crispy and perfect crust every time, but nothing sticks to these pans and they don't need to be seasoned. All of the pans listed below I have personally purchased and have had a ton of success with!

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Note: I prefer the LloydPans hard anodized aluminum at home because of the rapid and even heat transfer in residential ovens, but steel pans which can be found in most food wholesale warehouses work very well too.

3. Infrared Thermometer

Those who haven't used one of these for making pizza are really missing out. Assuming that temperature that you set your oven at, or a reading from the oven's on board thermometer is a mistake I made for years. These measures can be inaccurate as they are rarely calibrated and tell you very little about the surface temperature of the brick, stone, or steel that you are about to launch a pizza on!

Pizza Oven Radar put together their list of best infrared thermometers for pizza ovens in 2020.

The best way to avoid a scorched bottom crust or a pizza that's burned on the top and raw on the bottom is to measure the surface temperature that you are launching on with an infrared thermometer. They are affordable, easy to use, and also are great for measuring water temp when making dough, which is critical, as well as final mixing temp of the dough when it comes out of the mixer. This tool has so many uses and you'll find your pizzas will have more consistent and predicable results with it.

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"Since heat is an ingredient in great pizza, you need to know how much “ingredient" you’re using. Knowing gives you both quality and consistency-and I can tell you from both residential and commercial experience that the thermostats on equipment are rarely accurate. The solution, an infrared thermometer. Better models are more accurate and have lots of features, but even an entry level unit will give you suitable accuracy for the job. Look for a high temperature range, though. Some of the cheaper units won’t read the highest temperatures achieved by the Gozney/Ooni level of portable ovens." -- Gregorio Fierro, Chef and Consultant, @gregoriofierro18, Philadelphia, PA 

 

4. Pizza Ovens

If you're looking to take the next step in pizzamaking, consider one of the many affordable portable pizza ovens on the market. Supply has been incredibly tight during the pandemic but you can still get one in time to make incredible pizzas for the holidays. There are many options in home pizza ovens, but I've focused my recommendations on the most popular and proven models that are easy to use and produce great results.

The Hot List: The 7 Best Pizza Ovens of 2020 according to The Spruce Eats.

Photo Credit: Ed Stalewski @eddiespizza412 who makes incredible pizzas in his Ooni ovens

"I love my Ooni Koda and Ooni Pro! Super portable, heats up quickly, affordable, versatile, and cooks pizzas in less than a minute. Not only does my home smell great, but my friends always complement the chic style when they come to visit. The results speak for themselves" -- Ed Stalewski, @eddiespizza412, Pittsburgh, PA 

 

I own 2 Camp Chef Italia Artisan Pizza Ovens and use them constantly to cook all kinds of pizza, steaks, Italian dishes, and more!

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My Review: Read and watch my full review of the Camp Chef Italia Artisan Pizza Oven! It is one of the few pizza ovens that are not on back order and available right now through amazon at a great price.

5. Dough Mixer

A kitchen mixer is a must have if you're going to be making pizza regularly. There are several types and styles, but many will choose the classic KitchenAid mixer due to its reliability and versatility. Dough can be made by hand or with a spoon, but a mixer takes the elbow grease out of it and produces more consistent results.

KitchenAid mixers are a great way to mix pizza dough and so much more.  Photo credit: KitchenAid.com

You can use any brand of mixer, but I like Kitchenaid because they are the standard for at home mixers and offer so many great accessories like pasta rollers, cheese graters, and meat grinders making this the ultimate kitchen machine!

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Important in Choosing the Right Mixer: capacity, power, and mixing style are some important features that you should consider when investing in a mixer. Everything Kitchens Chef's review has all the details!

6. Pizza Peels

If you're going to make pizzas, you need to get them in and out of the oven. Pizza peels, or paddles are an iconic tool in pizzerias around the world. They are both readily available and extremely useful at home. There are several different types of pizza peels that are made from different materials. Serious eats does a great job detailing the different types of peels in this article. Below are the 3 peels I used regularly.

The Pizzacraft folding pizza peel is a great option because it is lightweight, sturdy, portable, and retrieves pizzas from the oven with ease!

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Notes about my Pizza Peels: I use each peel for different purposes. The metal Pizzacraft peel is used for removing pizzas from the oven where the classic wooden peel is for launching fresh dough pizzas into the oven. The Camp Chef spatula is really sturdy and useful tool that is great for taking pizzas and pans out of the oven while protecting your hands.

7. Baking Scale

If you want consistent pizza results and wish to use some of the best pizza recipes in the world, it's time to throw away the measuring cups and spoons and get yourself a baking scale. Baker's percentages and weights are the language of bakers and pizzaioli and are much more accurate than measuring by volume. Is it a heaping spoon or should I smooth the flour across the top of the cup? Using weights takes the guess work out and delivers accurate results every time.

The KitchenAid Dual Platform Scale is accurate and easy to use.

A 2 in 1 baking scale with a separate scale for fine measurements for yeast and a larger scale for measuring heavier ingredients like flour and water is a must have if you want to develop and improve your own recipes or use recipes from pizza makers around the world who don't use cups and spoons. It's no coincidence that every book in my library below recommends using baker's percentages and use of a scale. Below are two great quality and affordable ones that I use constantly!

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8. Pizza Cutters/Slicers

Many at home pizza makers start out using cookie sheets and pans they already have available at home. Cookie sheets, particularly lightly colored ones are designed to deflect heat away from cookies so they don't brown too much on the bottom. The hallmark of a great pizza pan is that it transfers heat quickly and evenly into the dough, creating a crisp and even crust.

The mercer pizza cutter is one of the sharpest and most comfortable pizza cutters available!

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There are so many pizza cutters on the market, and it's easy to overspend on them. I own many, but I believe the Mercer and Dexter pizza wheels above provide the best value and durability. There are a lot of junk pizza wheels out there that fall apart, and there are also many overpriced wheels that just don't perform. These two models strike a balance between affordability, performance, and durability!

9. Pizza Screens

Pizza screens are an inexpensive and really effective tool that can make your life much easier. If you're new to pizzamaking and launching fresh dough off of a pizza peel onto a baking stone sounds like a daunting task (it takes practice!) then a pizza screen is the perfect solution. You simply assemble your pizza on the screen and slip it into the oven.

Pizza screens have many uses. Photo Credit: PizzaOvenRadar.com

Screens are also great if you have a pizza that is starting to scorch or cook too quickly on the bottom. In this case, you slide the screen under the crust to avoid direct contact with the brick and allow the rest of the pizza to cook evenly. I also like to use screens to allow pizzas to "rest" when they come out of the oven so that the steam doesn't get trapped under the crust making it soggy. You'd be surprised how much crispier your pizza will be if you give it a minute or two to rest on a screen before placing on a tray to cut!

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Note: Screens come in all shapes and sizes. I recommend the inexpensive mesh aluminum pizza screens as well as the Lloydpans seasoned quik disk as effective tools to add to your pizza making arsenal.

10. Pizza Books

Learning to make the perfect pizza is a fun and endless journey. Even the best pizzaioli in the world are constantly learning new techniques, styles, and recipes. Working in pizzerias for over a decade helped me learn to make pizza, but I really had no idea how to really make great pizza on my own until I started picking up books and learning the techniques, recipes, tips, and tricks that you can use to make all kinds of pizza styles.

Pictured are my favorite pizza books from my personal collection!

This list of books are my favorites, with Tony Gemignani's The Pizza Bible being the one I use most often. Check them out for yourself! Most are available in print or on Kindle.

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Check out the video below! I actually research and use these products before recommending them!
Conclusion:
These pizza tools will surely make for a special holiday gift for anyone who enjoys making pizza. They are guaranteed to improve your pizza as they have done so for so many pizza makers - myself included. And you'll be able to try their improved and delicious pizza! Be sure to comment with your favorite pizza tools and message me on facebook, instagram, or twitter with any questions.

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