Perhaps the most important thing is that the crust is king. If you don't have good dough everything else pretty much doesn't matter. It has taken awhile to master good crisp crust but by refining an already good dough recipe and fine tuning how I bake it the results are really gratifying.
Since all doughs are made of essentially the same ingredients how they are assembled and treated makes all the difference. Quality flour is a good starting point and needless to say it should be fresh. My go-to choice has been King Arthur all purpose for a while now, I like it better than bread flour for pizza. I use bulk yeast, filtered water, sea salt and extra virgin olive oil. Everything is measured precisely on a digital scale to obtain the best consistency. It is mixed in a KitchenAid stand mixer the day before use and is cold fermented in the fridge for at least 24 hours. This adds a richness of flavor that you have to taste to appreciate.
I have tried some store bought sauces made in Italy that I thought would be pretty good but my simple sauce made with tomato sauce, oregano, garlic, Alleppo pepper, black pepper and kosher salt beats them all.
Too many toppings queer the do-less is more and gives the crust a better chance of baking through without being soggy. The typical household oven is a real challenge to bake pizza with so some fiddling around is usually necessary. There is a lot of discussion about which rack to bake on but in my experience there is no one rack location that can do it all. The bottom needs to get baked crisp which usually means using a lower rack but that won't brown the top. So starting low to brown the bottom then moving up for a couple of minutes under the broiler will finish the top.
Today's pizza was baked on my new Weber gas grill using a pizza stone at 500 degrees. The bottom was done in about 6 minutes and then the top finished under the broiler. It was just perfect-something I can't always say as I have made some real clunkers. Yesterday I smoked a beer can chicken in my Weber charcoal grill and used the meat today with just pineapple and cheese. I think it was the best I have ever done.
There are a number of good mozzarella cheeses available nowadays and I would suggest that you buy the best you can find. Anything but packaged pre-shredded though. I like to pinch off bits of cheese rather than grating it, good fresh cheese lends itself to that. A cheese to try that makes a wonderfully creamy pizza is fontina. Not always easy to find but a nice change of pace. I buy parmesan in blocks and shred it on top of the finished pizza before baking.
A good pizza spice offers a depth of flavor that you will find in the better pizza joints. I have been using Penzy's pizza flavoring for years and still never make a pizza without it. I have some new stuff on order that I am going to try but the Penzy's contains a lot of fennel and that is a flavor that just screams pizza.
Here is my dough recipe:
20 oz flour
12 oz warm water
3 tsp granulated yeast
2 tsp sugar or honey (I prefer honey)
1 heaping tsp sea salt
3 tbls extra virgin olive oil
Place yeast, olive oil and sugar in water and give it a few minutes to bloom
Add salt to flour and whisk
Pour water mixture into the mixer bowl and add the flour. With the dough hook let the mixer run for several minutes until it reaches the consistency you are looking for. At that point I place it in a covered bowl and refrigerate it at least over night. This should make about 33 oz of dough-enough for 2 good sized pizzas.
That's about all I know so far but it is giving me excellent results. bon appetit