So you don't need a ton of spices and herbs to make a great pizza, but there's no question that you can make a really memorable, different pizza by the way that you mix and match your spices. So there's two camps, right?
There's the dry spices and there's the fresh herbs. So let's start with the fresh herbs. Fresh herbs are not as strong as the dry spices. You can use a lot more of these. I totally love basil. You'll find that on a lot of pizzas. Fresh oregano, huge difference maker. I absolutely love it. Very herby. And then of course you've got thyme which is extremely strong. It's got a very distinct flavor and it really kind of pronounces on anything you put it. But the deal is, is these fresh herbs you could put on right at the end, right before the pizza goes in or you could do it during the sauce-making process. It really does not matter. They're not so strong where it really makes a difference. It can go on any part of the process.
When it comes to the dry herbs, it's a little bit different. Dry herbs are kind of asleep in the cupboard. Here we have some fennel seed, oregano, a little chili flakes, some black pepper. They're not woken up. And the way that you wake up a dry spice is you actually either bash it with friction to knock out the oils or you have to expose it to heat. So it needs to be cooked. So with fennel seed I might drop that into my garlic and chili mixture right before I add my tomatoes to make a tomato sauce. I might sprinkle it right on the top of the pizza, just at the end, just so that the oven itself actually brings out the oils. But these need to be woken up and they’re a lot stronger than fresh herbs.
No recipe in the world can you take a tablespoon of fresh basil and replace that with a tablespoon of dried basil. It's just impossible. The dried basil is way too strong it takes on a completely different flavor. It's not bad to have dry herbs, it's just a lot more concentrated since there's no water in this and it's just dried, straight basil.
So don't substitute. Always use a little bit less dry than fresh. Have fun, mix and match, and use herbs and fresh herbs and dried spices on anything you put on your pizza.