Homemade Pizza School

Updated: April 23, 2023

Reading Time: 6 Minutes

A Glossary of Homemade Pizza Terms

Are you just starting to make homemade pizza? Do you keep coming across terms that are new? Well, you are in luck, we put together a glossary of homemade pizza terms to help you navigate the pizza world. From bread flour to VPN (not a virtual private network), we will help you understand some of the terminology.

Now, understand this glossary of homemade pizza terms isn’t complete by any means. We’re hoping to update in regularly with all the new lingo that we learn throughout our journey.

glossary of homemade pizza terms

Active Dry Yeast

This yeast is a dry type of yeast that needs to be activated before use. To activate it add warm water between 105° and 115° Fahrenheit and let it proof for ten minutes. A pinch of sugar helps activate the yeast to prepare it to add to the dough. This is NOT nutritional yeast.

Bread Flour

Bread flour is used in yeasted bread and crusts. It has a high gluten content that makes it stretchy and easy to manipulate.

Buffalo Mozzarella

glossary of homemade pizza buffalo mozzarella
Photo by laura novara on Unsplash

Buffalo mozzarella is a fresh mozzarella cheese made from water buffalo’s milk. It is the ultimate mozzarella for pizza because of its creaminess and flavor. It is usually from Italy.

California-style Pizza

California-style pizza is a type of pizza created in California. It’s usually a thin-crusted  pizza made with locally sourced ingredients. It can feature unique toppings combinations like artichokes, arugula, capers, spring onions, smoked salmon, fish row, and the list goes on and on.

This pizza style always leans to a healthy side and rarely features the traditional pepperoni. Chef Wolfgang Puck was instrumental in the creation of the California-style pizza.


Calzones are a type of pizza pocket. They are made from pizza dough and share the same toppings minus sauce. The dough is folded over into a half-moon and sealed. Once baked, they are served with tomato sauce on the side for dipping.


Char is the black spots on the crust of a thin crust pizza, also known as leoparding. It’s common to see them on New York-style pizza and Neapolitan brick-oven pizza.

Chicago-style Pizza

Chicago-style pizza, or Chicago deep-dish pizza, is a style of pizza popular in Chicago. It is made in a deep-dish pan with a mix of semolina flour and wheat flour.

The toppings are added in reverse, with the cheese as a first layer, then veggies or meat, and lastly, the sauce is added on top, creating a thick pizza that takes around 30-40 minutes to bake.


The edge or lip of a pizza.

Detroit-style pizza

Detroit-style pizza was invented in the Motor City. It is made in blue square steel trays that were originally used for auto parts. It has a thick crust and is made with Wisconsin brick cheese.


DOC means Denominazione di Origine Controllate. It is an Italian law that states that any purchased food item marked “DOC” comes from only the regions in Italy designated as official producers of the item and that it was made according to the strict rules concerning ingredients and how it was made.

Do you know how your pizza ingredients were made and where exactly they come from? We didn’t think so. On this glossary of homemade pizza terms, this might be the most niche.


The D.O.P. label on canned goods is short for Denominazione di Origine Protetta (literally “Protected Designation of Origin”), basically meaning that they are authentic from the region, usually Italy.

Dough Hook

A dough hook is an attachment to a stand mixer used to knead pizza dough.


Fermentation is what happens when the yeast in dough is activated, causing the dough to rise.

Fiore di Latte

Fiore di Latte is an Italian cheese made with fresh cow’s milk. It is creamy and melts well for pizza.


glossary of homemade pizza terms like focaccia
Photo by Iñigo De la Maza on Unsplash

Focaccia is thick Italian bread typically covered in olive oil and herbs.


Gluten is an elastic or rubbery substance created when certain proteins in flour, glutenin and gliadin are combined with water and mixed together. 

Instant Dry Yeast

Instant dry yeast is the same as active dry yeast, but it doesn’t need to be activated.

Margherita Pizza

A Margherita pizza is a pizza from Naples that is made in the Neopolitan style and topped with sauce, mozzarella, and basil.

Marinara Sauce

Marinara sauce is a red sauce used for pasta or pizza. It can be made from fresh or quality canned tomatoes. In all the glossary of homemade pizza terms, marinara might be the most important. Perfect your sauce, and you’ll perfect your pizza.

Neapolitan Pizza

glossary of homemade pizza neapolitan in the oven
Photo by Fabrizio Pullara on Unsplash

Neapolitan pizza is a pizza made in the style of those originating in Naples, Italy. It has a thin crust and is usually made in a wood-fired oven.

New York-style Pizza

New York-style pizza is a thin crust pizza served in big slices that are folded over like a taco to eat. To include all the different pizza styles on our glossary of homemade pizza terms is kind of ambitious, we know. We’re always hoping to find more styles, though.

Ooni Pizza Oven

Ooni pizza ovens are considered some of the best outdoor pizza ovens on the market for the home pizza chef. They have affordable ovens to high-end ovens.

Par Bake

Par baking is partially baking a crust either to preserve it or to give it strength to add more toppings or fillings.

Pizza Bagels

glossary of homemade pizza bagels
Photo by Pixabay

Pizza bagels are mini pizzas made on bagels. They can be any size and are a popular snack.

Pizza Bianca

Pizza Bianca or white pizza is a pizza made without tomato sauce. Sometimes it’s made with a simple white sauce, Alfredo sauce, or just olive oil. One famous white pizza is the Connecticut Clam pizza.

Pizza Cutters

Pizza cutters are designed to cut pizza easily. There are several styles that you can use to cut pizza.

Pizza Diavola

Pizza diavola or devil pizza is a pizza made with spicy salami or sausage and sometimes hot sauce or hot chilies.

Pizza Peel

glossary of homemade pizza peel terms
Photo by Rushaan S on Unsplash

Pizza peels are an essential pizza tool that helps you put a pizza in the oven and take it out. They can have a long or short handle and are usually made out of wood, steel, or aluminum.

Pizza Stone

Pizza stones are a round or square surface to cook the pizza on in the oven. They can be made to use in the oven or on the grill. They hold an intense heat and can elevate your homemade pizza.


A pizzaiolo is a trained pizza chef. There are a few different ways to become certified as a pizzaiolo. And once you become a pizzaiolo, you are now required to contribute a new word to our glossary of homemade pizza terms. What’s your word going to be?


Proofing describes the final rise of the bread dough while it is in the pan or bowl rising  prior to baking.

San Marzano Tomatoes

San Marzano tomatoes are considered some of the best canned tomatoes available on the market. Read a little history of why the best pizzaiolos use San Marzano tomatoes.

Sicilian-style Pizza

Sicilian-style pizza is a thick crust pizza covered with sauce, meat, vegetables, and cheeses. Interestingly, Sicily’s indigenous pizza is a simple, thick bread similar to focaccia topped with tomato sauce, oil, herbs, and anchovies.

St. Louis-style Pizza

St. Louis-style pizza is a popular pizza in the midwest. It has a thin cracker-like crust and is made with Wisconsin block cheese. It is cut into small squares to fit in your hand.

Tipo “00” flour

00 type flour is a very fine Italian flour used in pizza making.


VPN stands for Vera Pizza Napoletana, which is a designation awarded by the Verace Pizza Napoletana Association of Italy that guarantees that member pizzerias make their pizzas according to strict Neapolitan standards. 

We hope our glossary of homemade pizza terms helps you on your journey to learn more about pizza making and all of the fun surrounding it. If you have further questions about any of these pizza terms or others that you come across, our email is always on.


One of our Favorites

King Arthur, Unbleached Bread Flour, (Pack of 2) 2 – 5 pound bags Never bleached Never bromated Ideal for yeast bread baking. Preferred by professionals.

Share With Other Pizza Lovers:

ooni Brand

Ooni pizza ovens have gained a reputation as the go-to choice for homemade pizza enthusiasts, and for good reason. Their commitment to quality craftsmanship and innovative design sets them apart in the realm of pizza ovens. One of the standout features of Ooni pizza ovens is their versatility. Whether you prefer the classic taste of wood-fired pizza or the convenience of gas or charcoal, Ooni offers models to suit every preference. This versatility allows home chefs to experiment with different cooking methods to achieve their desired flavor profiles and textures.

Pizzelo Brand

Elevate your homemade pizza game with Pizzelo’s precision-engineered pizza ovens. Achieve that perfect, crispy crust and gooey cheese you’ve been dreaming about every time you smell pizza. With customizable temperature control and quick heating, enjoy authentic pizzeria taste in the comfort of your home. Unleash your inner chef with Pizzelo – where passion meets perfection.

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DK & Eliana

DK & Eliana

Thanks for reading about our homemade pizza journey! We're a young married couple who started making pizza at home on our wedding night and haven't looked back yet. We've learned over countless attempts of trial and error how to make the perfect pizza sauce, pizza dough, and exactly which pizza accessories to buy for your home setup...

FYI When you make a purchase or, sometimes, carry out some other action as direct result of clicking on a link at Homemade Pizza School, we will receive a small commission. Gratzie!

Recent Pizza Posts

Upgrade your home/kitchen’s homemade pizza setup with authentic commercial pizzeria-style pizza dough proofing boxes. They hold all the dough you need for an awesome pizza night prep with friends and family. Size is 17.25 x 13 x 3.54 inches and fit perfectly in our home fridge…

Our Pizza Favorites:

These cup & char pepperoni cups from Battistoni brand are by far our top seller here on the blog. They’re the single best topping we use on our own homemade pizzas (as we almost always use pepperoni) and probably order them monthly, at least. Want those lovely charred pep cups? Buy Battistoni.

By a large margin, this is the most affordable, albeit tiny, pizza “oven” on the market today. Sold at Uncommon Goods, this personal-sized pizza maker is perfect for children or picky eaters who only want their specific toppings. Note: only works with charcoal grills. Try it today!

We love the authentic Italian-style Neapolitan pizzas from Talia di Napoli! Now you can do, for a limited time offer of 20% off all of their pizza packs. We recommend the Taste of Talia~