Thursday, March 9, 2017

Pizza masterclass at Zero95, Doncaster East by Bilby Blue

Benny was excited to be invited by Zero95 to a pizza masterclass. We loved their Neapolitan style pizza on our visit last November and he was super keen to learn the art of pizza making from Andrea Cozzolino – Zero95’s world champion pizza maker.

Zero95, pizza, nutella
Nutella pizza

So why am I writing up the masterclass? Benny had a minor (self-inflicted) accident while he was cooking for a dinner party. End result: a trip to hospital, six stitches in his thumb, and a great dinner party story for the Alchemist and Gumnut (our guests).

Given Benny’s wound, kneading pizza dough was going to be a problem. So someone (me!) had to step up to take his place…

Zero95, pizza, ingredients
At Zero95 there were 12 places at a huge wooden table just by the kitchen area. Each place was set with the four ingredients used in the pizza bases: flour, water, salt and yeast. With instructions from the charming Andrea, dough was mixed, kneaded and then popped into buckets to take home.

Our dough needed time to rest before we could use it – Zero95 makes their dough 24 hours in advance.

Zero95, pizza, dough
Using dough prepared earlier, we stretched and flipped, following Andrea’s lead, ending up with roughly circular bases with raised edges.

We learnt about strong and weak flour (and when to use each). We learnt about filtered water versus tap water. We learnt what to look for when kneading. We learnt how to cook a pizza in a domestic electric oven that can’t reach the temperatures of a wood-fired pizza oven. We learnt how to make bread from our dough.

Zero95, pizza, oven
And then we watched the pizza makers whip up pizzas with a variety of toppings for us to eat. Some of the pizzas were cooked with the toppings, and others had toppings strewn on after baking. In Zero95’s wood-fired oven, the bases are cooked for 90 seconds at between 450 and 485 degrees.

The pizzas all tasted fantastic – the bases were soft and exceptionally light, just as a Neapolitan style pizza should be.

Zero95, pizza, margherita
First up was the classic Margherita – San Marzano tomato, fior di latte, basil and parmesan. This was the pizza that won Andrea the world championship.

Zero95, pizza, stromboli
The Stromboli had a topping of San Marzano tomato, ricotta cheese, ham, fried cubes of eggplant, basil and parmesan. One of the class favourites.

Zero95, pizza, alicudi
The Alicudi was quite different, with fior di latte, pine nuts, pumpkin, rocket and goat cheese. The topping was rather sweet in comparison with the other savoury pizzas. It would be a good alternative for vegetarians.

Zero95, pizza, salina
The Salina was spread with truffle paste, fior di latte, cooked mushrooms and San Daniele prosciutto. Andrea said that prosciutto is always added after the base is baked – it is never cooked.

Zero95, pizza, san daniele
The San Daniele had a topping of San Marzano tomato, basil pesto, buffalo mozzarella and San Daniele prosciutto. You can’t go wrong with the classics, and this was one of our choices on our very first visit to Zero95 last November.

And for dessert – Nutella pizza! A cooked pizza base, generously drizzled with Nutella, sprinkled with icing sugar and strewn with sliced strawberries (see first pic). There was some left over which I took home – even cold, Benny proclaimed it surprisingly good.

Zero95, pizza, homemade pizza
The next day, I made a couple of pizzas from my dough, with a topping of San Marzano tomatoes and bocconcini, plus some prosciutto added after baking. With the lower temperature of a domestic oven, the pizza needs to cook considerably longer than 90 seconds – this makes for a slightly crispy base rather than the ideal soft base. Nonetheless it tasted terrific and was beautifully light.

Zero95, pizza, homemade bread
By this stage after so many pizzas I was starting to look like one (round and puffed up at the edges), so the following day I formed the remainder of my dough into a rustic loaf and baked it. Good crust, great texture and fantastic flavour. And so, so easy.

Note that Zero95 is expanding. There is a second outlet (Zero95 Express) at Templestowe, and next month they will be opening in Kew. Over summer there was also a pop-up in Dromana that was very successful.

Zero95, pizza

Zero95, pizza


We loved it
We loved it.
Splurge. The two-hour masterclass costs $80, but I reckon it was great value-for-money.


The Zero95 pizza masterclass is a great opportunity to learn the secrets from their world champion pizza maker. You get to eat plenty of pizza in class, and also later at home when you bake your own dough after it has rested. The result tastes fantastic, even with a normal domestic oven.

The Eat and Be Merry Crew were guests of Zero95.

Find it at

904 Doncaster Road
Doncaster East Vic 3109
Telephone: (03) 9840 6975

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