I wanted to write something sincere today. I sincerely love pizza. I sincerely love making pizza, and do it every week. Why not share the process I spent the last eight years refining?
Making pizza takes a little time but it's super fun and way better than delivery and (in the long run) way way cheaper too.
What You'll Need
Pizza Ingredients - Six out of ten people prefer the taste of a pizza with ingredients to that of a pizza without ingredients.
A Pizza Stone - You can try to place your pizza directly on your oven rack, or on the heating element, but it will probably be a littly uneven. A stone keeps your pizza nice and pizza-shaped. Oh, and the stone cooks the pizza evenly from the bottom up.
A Pizza Paddle - The alternative is using your bare hands to lift and throw the assembled pizza into your oven.
A Stand Mixer - A good one can be pricey, but it will also let visitors know you are VERY serious about pizza.
Phase One: Pizza: Origins
Put a little under one tablespoon of turbonado sugar in your mixing bowl with two teaspoons of active dry yeast. Add 3/4ths of a cup of hot water and mix. Now walk away for ten minutes while the yeast does its thing.
When you come back, the mix will be frothy and huge. Dump two scoops of bread flour right on top with your 3/4ths cup measuring... cup. Add a sprinkle of salt and about a teaspoon of olive oil.
Put your mixer to the second lowest setting and let it do its thing for ten minutes. The dough should be sticky, almost like wet gum, but still pull away from the bowl when you take it out and form it into a ball.
When that's finished put a hand towel over the mixing bowl and place it in your microwave. Let the dough rise in there for at least 45 minutes. Please don't turn the microwave on.
Phase Two: Blast Protocol
Put your pizza stone in the center of your oven and preheat that thing at 500 degrees. If it goes higher, great. When it comes to pizza there is no such thing as an oven that's too hot. There is, however, such a thing as an oven that's too secure. Please make sure your oven has at least one door, and that it is not sealed/locked/welded shut.
Sprinkle some flour on your pizza pan. Now scoop your dough on there and stretch/roll it out. When it looks somewhat right pick up the dough and lay it on a square of parchment paper. This will be important later.
Take your hand towel and lay it across the dough. Go do something else for about fifteen minutes. I recommend visiting SomethingAwful.com, telling your friends about SomethingAwful.com, or becoming a professional badminton player.
Phase Three: The Cookening
Put a tablespoon of olive oil in a suace pan. Chop up some garlic and dump it in there, then heat until the garlic is brown.
Get your cheese and toppings ready. Always buy fresh mozzarella in a block. Slice or shred half of that and put the other half back in the fridge for your next pizza.
By now your oven should have been preheating for around 30-45 minutes so we're good to go. Pour a small 8oz can of tomato sauce into your suace pan with some garlic salt and some basil. I buy basil in a toothpaste-looking tube and squirt out a toothbrush's worth. Try not to store your toothpaste tube of garlic next to your toothpaste tube of toothpaste. It could lead to complications. Now stir all that up without heat.
Now dump the sauce on your dough. No, wait! Take the towel off your dough first. Now spread the sauce and add your toppings + cheese. This part feels like it takes about five seconds but somehow five minutes pass. I don't understand time.
At this point you should have your pizza on top of a square of parchment paper on top of your paddle. Open your dang oven. Grab your paddle's handle and position the pizza above your pizza stone. Now reach in and grab the far edge of the parchment paper to slide it and your pizza on top of the stone.
Why the parchment paper? Pizza dough sticks to pizza paddles. Some people can assemble their pizza right on the paddle then slide it into the oven, but I can only assume they are practicing some form of witchcraft. When I try it the pizza refuses to let go and folds in on itself like a collapsing universe.
So parchment paper it is.
Now close the oven and wait 10-12 minutes. Take the pizza out when the cheese transitions from white to golden with dark spots.
Don't forget to turn off the oven. I forgot to turn off the oven once.
Don't drop the pizza on the inside of your open oven door. I dropped the pizza on there once. It was the most profound moment of loss in my adult life.
Enjoy! This serves two people. If you want to feed a different number of people you will need to adjust the ingredients accordingly. This involves math, which I absolutely refuse to do.
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