Ordering a pizza online takes two minutes. You choose the size, sauce, cheese, toppings, and bam! Your order is complete. But rather than being crafted by a master Italian chef, it's often thrown together by an unknown, standardized, barely-qualified worker.

When the pizza is delivered, rather than pacing yourself and just having a slice or two, you dig in and devour the whole eight-piece large pie. About fifteen minutes later, the 'wtf-did-I-just-do' feeling begins. We all know it: the acid reflux and bloating where your stomach bubbles like the gooey cheese on the pizza you just inhaled. The whole experience is filled with regret within an hour of placing your order online.

This past week, rather than ordering a pizza to my apartment and eating it in bed alone, I was lucky enough to travel to Italy and experience high-quality pizza made by talented Italian chefs.

My family decided to take a cooking class and learn the art of making za— when in Rome, right? We were in Florence, actually, but the cliché still works. We learned from two hunky Italian chefs, Giuseppe and Davide, who taught us how to massage dough and sprinkle spices like a pro.

The Pizza

coffee, tea
Amanda Szpindel

To begin, make sure the room is warm in order to get the best dough (and a hotter cooking experience). While they used a 700° Fahrenheit pizza oven, the chefs taught us how to modify that for a regular oven. 

By turning the heat up as high as possible, waiting for it to preheat fully, and cooking the pizza on a cookie sheet rather than straight on the oven shelf, the pizza will be just as perfect.
bread, yeast, milk, dough, flour
Amanda Szpindel

Their recipe calls for 1.1 pounds (or 3.5 cups) of Italian 0.0 flour, a finely-milled flour that's best for enduring high temperatures (like a super-hot pizza oven). If you don't have any, bread flour or all-purpose flour can be used instead.

The first step is to mix together 1 3/5 tablespoons of active dry yeast and 1 cup of water until it's combined and the yeast has broken down. In a separate bowl, mix the flour and one tablespoon of salt until evenly combined.

Wash your hands and let the yeast mix rest for fifteen minutes. I personally recommend passing the time by watching an episode of something on Netflix.

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Amanda Szpindel

After scrambling to shut off Netflix in the 20 seconds before the next episode starts playing, add together the water/yeast mixture, a tablespoon of olive oil and the flour/salt mixture using the technique described below.

Davide suggested we make a well inside of our flour and put the water in the middle, adding more and more flour from the circle until it's solid. I didn't get to snap a picture of that part because my hands were plastered in sticky dough.

Knead the dough until it's soft and happy (with gentle massage techniques using the palm of your hand, according to Davide). Cover the ball of dough in olive oil and leave it to rise for at least 30 minutes or up to a couple of hours.

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Amanda Szpindel

Once you've waited a sufficient amount of time, it's time to assemble your pie. Place the dough onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and stretch it using your fingertips in the middle of the dough, working your way outwards.

A traditional Tuscan pizza is thinner in the middle and thicker around the crust area, so work a little harder in the centre. The chefs' advice on stretching the dough was to, "Be gentle, be kind and keep using flour." You'll run into trouble if the dough gets too sticky, so keep using extra flour to make sure.

Amanda Szpindel

Don't get lost in the sauce (literally). Use only three spoonfuls of tomato sauce so you don't weigh down the crust, then use dry mozzarella cheese on top.

I know it's tempting to add tons of cheese, but because the crust is so thin, it can lead to a dangerous and unfortunate pizza spillage. Add whatever toppings you desire (as seen below, I made mine into a beautiful lady).
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Amanda Szpindel

The talented Italian chefs then proceeded to pick up the raw and fragile pizza and effortlessly cook it for 3-4 minutes in an oven burning at 700° Fahrenheit.

Since owning a pizza oven is likely not the case of many college students, Giuseppe advised those without to spread the decorated dough onto a cookie sheet and bake the pizza until the crust is browning and the cheese is bubbly.

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Amanda Szpindel

After we finished our lesson, we were given Certificates of Proficiency from the Food and Wine Academy of Florence, which makes me feel like a #pro even though I needed help kneading my dough.

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Amanda Szpindel

Voilà, a pizza that is better than any late-night, order-in greasy mess. A pizza that will satisfy your every pizza craving. Now that's what I call love—or as they say in Italy, amore.