The risen pizza and the Inside of a pizza slice.
Dough rises well in a warm place. Turned off oven or a microwave is a good place. You can leave the oven light on for a while till the oven slightly warms up.
- FOR THE DOUGH:
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 1/2 tablespoon sugar or honey
- 1/2 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1/2 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon oil olive oil preferred
- 2 1/2 - 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour as needed
- FOR THE PIZZA:
- Toppings: For 1 pizza
- About 3/4 cup Shredded mozzarella cheese or fresh mozzarella cheese
- 2-3 tablespoons Pizza sauce for each pizza Homemade sauce recipe here
- Vegetables or meat of your choice I used fresh mozzarella, ham, tomatoes and cilantro
- corn meal or semolina rava for dusting the pan
FOR PIZZA DOUGH:
Add sugar + yeast in a mixing bowl. Pour lukewarm water, mix and set it aside for 10 minutes till the yeast froths. Now add salt + olive oil and mix well. Add one cup of flour and mix with a wooden spoon, gradually adding more flour. when its gets difficult to mix with a wooden spoon, transfer to a lightly floured work surface and knead well with the palm of your hands for 6-10 minutes till the dough is soft, easy to handle and elastic. Alternately you can knead the dough with your hand or with an electric mixer fitted with a dough attachment.
Oil the same bowl with 1 teaspoon oil and coat the dough with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and keep it in a warm place for 1-2 hours or until the dough almost doubles.
Once the dough doubles punch it down and Divide it into 2 parts for 2 medium thick crust pizzas.
Lightly flour the work surface. Take the dough ball, shape into a disk and spread to the outside with your fingers, turning often as needed. Once it starts stretching in again, cover this with an cloth and walk away for 5-10 minutes. When you come back it will be easier to shape. (The pizza doesn't have to be a perfect circle)
After shaping the dough transfer into a pan sprinkled with corn meal or semolina (rava). Shape the dough if it has lost its shape. Cover this with a cloth and preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit or 235 degrees celsius. Get the toppings ready.
After the oven preheats, brush the dough lightly with olive oil, spread 2-3 tablespoon of pizza sauce, top with vegetables or meat, top with shredded or fresh mozzarella cheese. Drizzle with olive oil.
Keep this on the oven floor for 5 minutes or on the lower rack if your oven has heating coils below. After that transfer to the middle rack for another 5-6 minutes till the cheese melts and the crust is golden brown. Once done transfer onto a cooling rack so that the crust remains crisp and the cheese sets.
I used cookie sheet for baking. Fresh mozzarella has more moisture and tends to makes pizza soggy if the temperature is not high. Shredded low moisture mozzarella works better.
Keep the toppings to minimum including cheese. You can store the dough in an airtight container in the refrigerator and make pizza for up to 2-3 days later. Keep the dough out at room temperature 1 hour before making pizza.
Few topping ideas: Leftover meat, chicken, veggies(spinach, tomatoes, herbs, pepper, jalapeno, onions), pineapple, cheddar and Parmesan cheese.