Pizza doesn’t always have to be delivered to your doorstep, as you can make one right in your own home. Making your own pizza gives you a sense of accomplishment as well as control over the ingredients you use. Making a pizza with pizza-parlor quality is possible if you are patient enough to get to know how to get the best results, and eat your mistakes, which is the best part of the exercise after all.
Basic Pizza Recipe
Start with the water and mix in the yeast. Add some olive, then mix in some flour and salt to make a shaggy dough. It will be kind of rough and crumbly and look floury. Put the mass onto a floured surface and knead it for six to eight minutes. You can tell the dough is done when you press your finger on it and it bounces right back. Cut up the dough into evenly sized lumps to make personal-sized pizzas. Put the dough in a greased pan, cover and let rise at room temperature for around a couple of hours. When you are ready to make pizza, just treat the dough like play-doh. You won’t have to knead or roll it, just pat it out.
Put your homemade pizza or tomato sauce on the patted out dough then layer with your favorite toppings. Put the assembled pizza in the oven. Turn the oven on all the way up. Bake for around five minutes or until the pizza is bubbly on top and the crust is golden brown. Let the pizza rest for around two minutes, then slice and eat.
You can also shape the pizza by using a piece of parchment paper to roll the dough on. The dough will stick to the paper so it will easier to work with while facilitating transfer to the oven. While cooking, the pizza unsticks to the parchment so the paper can be removed halfway through the baking process without catching fire or burning.
You can choose the kinds of toppings that go into your homemade pizza, so choose the ones that are your real favorites. Raw ingredients such as mushrooms and sausage can be precooked before adding them as toppings, while fresh greens such as basil or arugula can be sprinkled on the pizza right before it leaves the oven. The greens will wilt only slightly with the residual heat that will also make the flavor come out. It is sensible to not pile on too many toppings to allow the crust to cook optimally.
You can have as much cheese as you like, or layer on some vegetables to keep it healthy.
Some things to remember:
Flour doesn’t taste much without salt, so season your dough adequately. Store-bought dough is deficient in salt, so when making your own dough, make sure you season it enough. Scale down the amount of salt based on the kinds of toppings you use, of course, and these can include Parmesan, olives and anchovies.
You won’t have to study to become a master at pizza twirling just to make homemade pizza. Leave that to the professional pizza makers. Just keep in mind one thing: the dough should not be rolled out, as the bubbles can get beaten out with a rolling pin, resulting in a tough and dense crust. Your pizza crust can be any shape you want, so don’t stress yourself out going for a perfectly round crust. Pull and stretch the dough out to the size you prefer.
Using pre made sauce in jars takes the fun out of everything. You don’t know what goes into it (probably more sugar than you can imagine!). Cook a can of crushed tomatoes with salt, pepper, basil and garlic. You can also go for a raw sauce by processing pureed tomatoes, basil, garlic and anchovy together in a blender before spreading on the pizza.
Stay away if possible from pre-shredded or prepackaged cheese. Grate the cheese yourself.
Practice restraint in your meat toppings. Make it all simple so you allow the crust to shine through. Stick to a handful of meat toppings, ensuring that they complement each other in flavor. It’s not good to use together chicken wings, black and green olives, ricotta, mozzarella, mushrooms, pepperoni and broccoli in a single pizza. Use a simple tomato sauce, a loose fennel sausage and mozzarella. Drizzle with some olive oil when the pizza leaves the oven and your pizza is good to go.
High-heat cooking, though intimidating, is what is needed to churn out a great pizza. All you will end up with are overcooked toppings and a limp crust when you go low and slow. Go high and fast, up to 500 degrees or as high as possible without broiling. Watch the pie, making sure that the cheese is bubbly and melty and the crust golden brown, serving as your cue that the pizza is done.