Everyone in the world knows that a Cheese Pizza is a pizza with lots of cheese! This world-popular dish of Italian origin, made with an oven-baked, flat, generally round bread that is often covered with tomatoes or a tomato-based sauce and mozzarella cheese. Other cheese varieties are added according to region, culture, or personal preference. To understand the fascination of this awesome dish we call Pizza, we need to understand about the dough or crust first.
The next part of the pizza is the tomato sauce. A simple sauce consists of tomato paste, basil, and oregano. Using tomato puree will give a runny sauce that must be spread thinly to prevent the cheese and toppings from sliding off. Diced, dried, or crushed tomatoes may be added for extra flavor and texture. Onions, peppers, garlic, and sugar are often used as well. Spices are more flavorful when ground right before use. Pizza with cheese baked onto it, without any sauce at all, is sometimes called a white pizza.
Toppings go on top of the cheese and they are very popular with today’s pizza. Put plenty of topping near the edges to protect the cheese from burning there. A pizza without toppings will cook much faster than one with toppings. Anchovies, oil-coated broccoli, black olives, pepperoni, onions, mushrooms, green peppers, precooked and drained sausage, bacon, hamburger, salami, or tomatoes, and finally precooked chicken or ham.
Last but not least, pizzas are typically baked directly on special surfaces for short periods at temperatures in excess of 500° F (260° C). Coal and brick ovens are preferred for baking pizza because of their even heat and superior heat-retention. Some pizzerias prefer to use a wire-mesh pan though, as working with pizza peels can be difficult for some. Home bakers can attempt to duplicate the effects of a brick oven by using a baking stone (also called a pizza stone), a slab of porous stone that evenly heats the pizza, helping it develop a better crust. Baking/pizza stones become "seasoned" after frequent use, a characteristic that is said to improve the flavor of crusts baked on them.
Ingredients for dough:
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups of warm water (110° -115° F)
3 1/2 to 3- 3/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of sugar
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
Ingredients for Pizza toppings:
Some extra virgin olive oil
Pecorino Romano grated cheese
Plus what ever topping you like…
In a large bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water. Allow the yeast to proof until it is foamy, about 10 minutes. Add 3 cups of flour, salt and sugar. Mix the dough with your hands or use a mixer with a dough hook. Add the remaining flour as needed to make dough that holds together. Place the dough on a floured surface and knead it for about 5 minutes, just to get the gluten moving. Grease a bowl with the olive oil and place the dough in the bowl. Turn the dough a few times in the bowl so the oil coats the dough. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and let it rise for 2 hours in a warm place. Then punch down the dough and knead it for a few minutes on a lightly floured surface. Use the dough to make one large pizza or divide it in half to make 2 small ones. Now that your dough is made you can make your pizza with any ingredients you wish. Make a ridge around the outside of the dough. Just make sure the ingredients are fresh and you will have a mouth watering pizza that you can’t wait to eat. . If you need a marinara sauce for your pizza, please check out my post for my “Mama’s Marinara Tomato Sauce” recipe. Preheat oven to 375°F. Cook for about 30 minutes or until the crust becomes light browned and the cheese is melted. Mangia!
Till Next Time………………………….
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