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Secrets to the Perfect Pizza?

The windowpane test seems like a good tip for perfect pizza. [Photograph: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

This week on Eatocracy's (of CNN) 5@5 Tony Liu of Pulino's (reviewed here) and Morandi (favorited for breakfast pizza here) offers up Five secrets to perfect pizza. Here's his list:

1. Durum flour "When first stretching out your dough, use this flour for its similarities to flour but without the added gluten of flour and excessive grit of semolina. It also adds a nice toasty flavor to the cooked dough."

2. Skip the dried oregano "Look for the oregano that is sold on the branch. It is a little more work destemming it, but definitely well worth it. It's very pungent and fragrant. Sprinkle the oregano on the pizza for pizza bianca, or add the oregano to the tomato sauce to add another layer of flavor."

3. Local tomato purée "[For me, that means] grown and canned in the beautiful Garden State. Look for the 'Jersey Fresh' label for an intensely fresh, sun-ripened flavor as part of your base for red-based pies. Jersey tomatoes are good because they're fresh and local, but you can substitute any other tomato that's local to you for that fresh feeling."

4. Crème fraiche infused with minced garlic "For your white pies, spread a light layer of the French-style fresh cheese for a little tang and to loosen up the mozzarella. That tang brightens up the fattier, cheesier pies."

5. High heat "This is very important when cooking your pies. You need the heat to make the dough jump, and to cook the dough before the toppings overcook. For the home oven, those terracotta tiles (pizza stones) really work - or preheat an inverted sheet pan before cooking."

What do you think of this list? It's hard to argue with high heat, but in my book crème fraiche infused with minced garlic falls into the optional, could-be-fun-to-try-sometime category rather than the essential five. What do you think should be on a top five tips list?

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