Regardless of where you’re from or what your age is people love pizza. The toppings and combination’s for pizza are countless. Ranging from the traditional tomato-basil-mozzarella pie to designer pies such as arugula, prosciutto and cherry tomato pies then stretching out to tropical and Mid-Eastern toppings and beyond.
So, toppings for pizza are truly endless. Pizza is a dish that is celebrated and eaten clear across the world, and each country has added their own artistic touch to pizza toppings in accordance with the flavors and food combination’s of the respective country.
This is what makes pizza one of the most recognizable and loved foods in the world. The simple fact that it can adapt to many different cultures very easily.
For some fabulous and exciting facts about the history of pizza check > http://www.lifeinitaly.com/food/pizza-history.asp
One thing for sure is that the key factors to an excellent pizza are always the same.
The keys are: a good pizza dough, a pizza peel, (to easily slide the pizza from the work space into the oven), and an extremely hot pizza oven.
If cooking at home then you will need to turn your oven to its highest setting and place a pizza stone on you wire rack that should be placed in the center of the oven. Let the oven preheat with the pizza stone for at least 45 minutes prior to baking your pizzas.
Two weeks ago, I did a pizza demonstration in the Williams-Sonoma store at the Mall in Short Hills, N.J. The demo was on making and stretching the pizza dough, along with showing how well the pizza stones that are sold in the store worked in turning any home type conventional oven into an oven that could bake delicious, crisp pizzas… quick and easy!
Also demonstrated were the grill pans that are also sold in the store. The grill pans were perfect for making personal seize homemade grilled pizza. This can be finished completely in the pan once the topping were added… or the whole pan placed in the extremely hot oven to finish.
DO NOT place the grill pan being entered into the oven, on top of your pizza stone that you may be using as well. Place the grill pan on a rack either over or under the pizza stone!
This was an exciting demo that turned into a huge “PIZZA PARTY”!
Pizza Dough Recipe
This pizza dough is built for that signature thin-crust style, New York is famous for.
Yields: 1 large or 2 small pizza
Prep Time: 2 hours, with rising
Cook Time: 20-25 minutes
- 2 1/4 teaspoon (1 package) instant dry active yeast
- 1 cup warm water (not hot!)
- 1/2 tablespoon sugar
- 3 cups bread flour, or as needed
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Add the water, yeast, sugar, and a 1/2 cup of the flour into a mixing bowl. Stir well and let sit for 20 minutes. It will get bubbly.
- Add olive oil, salt, and 2 cups of the flour, and mix with a wooden spoon until it’s together enough to turn out on to a lightly floured work surface to knead.
- Knead for about 10 minutes, while adding more flour a little at a time, to produce a soft, elastic and slightly sticky dough. Do not add too much flour, just enough to keep it from sticking to the work surface as you knead.
- Form the dough into a ball and place in a large oiled bowl. Drizzle a few drops of oil and coat the top of dough to prevent the surface from becoming dry.
- Cover with a kitchen towel and place in a warm spot for 2 hours, or until the dough doubles in size.
- Punch down the dough and divide into 2 balls and place in large zip lock plastic bags and refrigerate overnight.
- When ready to use, remove from fridge, and let the dough come up to room temperature before using.
- Place dough ball on lightly floured surface, and lightly flour the top. Use fingertips to evenly flatten out the dough ball. Work from the edges to the center press dough into a 12″ circle. Place both hands within the shell edge and stretch to a 9″ round.
- With fingertips and palms maintaining an even pressure. Or, use a lightly floured rolling-pin to stretch to desired shape.
- Sprinkle cornmeal or semolina on pizza peel (a wooden paddle with a handle slide the pizza in the oven) or a cutting board. The cornmeal allows the pizza to slide onto the stone easily.
- After topping the pizza, when you are ready to cook it. Shake the peel or cutting board to make sure none of the dough is sticking.
- Carefully slide the pizza into the oven.
- Bake in a 500 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, until crust is golden.
- Cooking pizzas with this dough should be done on a baking stone at home
- A pizza pan will produce a soft “doughy” crust, if one ops for the pizza pan over a pizza stone.
- The stone if using should be preheated to 500 F… for an hour prior to baking, and should be placed in the middle of the oven.
- (This recipe makes about 34 oz. This recipe may easily be doubled.)
Buon Appetito !