Delicious Pizza For The Family

Come on. Everyone likes pizza! Wait, let me rephrase that; Everyone LOVES pizza. Can you name one other food that is so immensely popular all over the world and yet remains relatively unchanged for hundreds of years? No matter which continent you may find yourself standing on there is a good chance you can get your hands on a slice of pizza if you wanted to.

Well, I have great news for you. I am going to share pizza’s success and popularity to you. There are two main reasons why people go crazy for pizza. The first and most obvious one is that it’s delicious. The second is that it is not difficult to make on your own and it takes very little time. To prove this, we have a really quick and easy guide for you on how to make a pizza.

Panning your pizza dough

To "pan" pizza dough, first rub or brush the inner cooking surface of a 12" round pizza pan with a thin layer, (about 1 tbsp.), of olive oil, then set it aside. Lightly dust your tabletop or a large cutting board with a little flour.
Place your 15 oz. prepared dough ball in the center of tabletop. Sprinkle a little flour on top of the dough and begin flattening out the ball with your hands until it is about 1" thick, forming as circular a shape as possible. With a rolling pin, begin rolling out a circular sheet of dough, about 1/4" to 3/8" thick, about 14" to 15" in diameter.
Continue to dust the dough sheet with a sprinkling of flour, as necessary, to keep it from sticking to the rolling pin or tabletop. Roll from the center outward, press the pin to the top, the bottom, to the left and to the right. Repeat this process several time as the dough begins to stretch outward. You will find that its elasticity tends to want to draw it back into its original shape. This is normal.
Place the "sheeted" circle of dough down in the center of the baking pan. The edges of the dough will droop over the edge of the pan. Starting from the center of the dough, draw the dough evenly out to the edge or wall of the pan, letting out any air trapped between the dough and the pan. The dough will conform to the shape of the baking pan.
Trim the excess dough away from the outer edge of the pan with a dough knife, or, curl the excess inward to form a fatter crust edge.

Topping the pizza

Ladle about 7 to 8 oz. of pizza sauce into the middle, bottom of the dough shell. Spread the sauce evenly over the surface of the dough. Spoon the sauce out to the edge of the dough sheet, leaving "un-sauced" about 3/4" to 1" of the dough crust.
This exposed dough around the circumference of the pizza will allow the crust to rise and crisp more quickly than the covered dough; creating the classic, puffed up edge of the pizza. The sauce, melted cheese and toppings will be better retained on top of the pizza, not over its edge, seeping under the pan causing burning or over the pan edge into the oven.
Next, layer the shredded cheese, about two cups, over the sauce, creating an evenly distributed bed of cheese on which to arrange your toppings.

Baking the Pizza

Start by placing an oven rack in the middle of the oven. Turn on the oven, setting the temperature at 450° F and completely pre-heat for 10 to 15 minutes.
After the oven is warmed up, place a prepped pizza in the center of the middle rack to allow for maximum air circulation around the pan. A simple cheese and pepperoni pizza prepared in a 12" diameter pizza pan will bake evenly and thoroughly in a 450° F oven on the middle rack in only 12 minutes.
Adding more toppings to the pizza adds more moisture and mass to cook through. For example, a deluxe pizza with four or five different toppings generally requires a longer baking time at a lower temperature.

Signs to look for that the pizza is ready are:

The cheese has melted on top and is beginning to brown.
The crust edge has browned, from a medium to a golden brown.
Carefully lift the edge of the pizza to inspect its bottom. The bottom dough should be evenly browned.

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About The Author, J Simkhai
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