While some contention exists as to its origin, pizza as it is known in the U.S. is an American creation. With numerous variations in style, and toppings limited only by imagination, pizza can be created to suit most any taste. While often thought of as an unhealthy fast food, pizza can be prepared with healthy ingredients of low-fat cheeses, vegetables and lean meats. While more time consuming then ordering out, with a little practice and following these steps, you can make a pizza at home just as good as carryout.
Add 1/4 oz. dry yeast to 3/4 cup warm water of approximately 120 degrees Fahrenheit, but no more than 150 degrees or you risk killing the yeast.
Place 2 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tsp. salt and 1 tsp. sugar in a bowl and mix well with a fork. Add the yeast and water solution to the flour mixture. Knead the flour mixture with your hands until the dough forms a solidified ball with no remaining areas of dry flour.
Roll the dough into a tight ball with your hands, being sure to tightly pinch the bottom of ball closed with your fingers. Place the dough ball on the counter and flatten the ball with the palm of your hand until it resembles a 1-inch thick disk.
Coat the dough ball with cooking oil. Place the dough ball back in the bowl. Cover the bowl with food wrap. Set the bowl with the dough ball aside, to rise at room temperature, for two hours.
Making the Pizza
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Add 16 oz. tomato sauce, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. sugar, 1 tsp. black pepper, 1 tsp. garlic salt, 6 tsp. Italian seasoning and 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese to a bowl. Mix the sauce thoroughly with the mixing spoon.
Remove the dough ball from the bowl and coat with flour, allowing the outside of the dough to absorb as much flour as possible. Wipe off any loose, unabsorbed flour from the dough ball with your fingers. Place the floured dough on the counter and flatten the ball with your hands, pushing all the air pockets from the dough. When flattening the dough leave a 1/2-inch untouched area around the edges of the dough for the crust.
Pick the dough up by pinching the flatted area inside the crust edge. Hold the dough so the bottom edge of the dough is just resting on the counter and rotate the dough by moving your fingers around the inside edges of the crust, a few inches at a time. This will cause the weight of the dough to stretch itself. Continue stretching the dough until it is large enough to cover the entire pizza pan. Lay the dough on the pan and gently smooth out any wrinkles in the dough with your fingers.
Spread the sauce mixture evenly over the dough with the mixing spoon, leaving the 1/2-inch crust area free of sauce. Sprinkle the cheese evenly over the sauce with your hands. Add toppings, such as pepperoni, ham, onions or pineapple, if desired.
Bake the pizza on the center oven rack until the cheese is melted and the crust is brown, approximately 10 to 15 minutes, rotating the pan 180 degrees halfway through the baking time.
Remove the pizza from the oven and allow the cheese to rest for one minute before cutting the pizza.
- “Pizza, Calzone and Focaccia”; Maxine Clark and Richard Jung; 2007
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