You can always have your pizza delivered, but where’s the thrill in that? Making your own pizza from scratch, from kneading the dough to baking it yourself, is an experience on its own. By doing the pizza yourself, you can have the luxury of tossing in all the ingredients you fancy or dialing down ingredient and caloric proportions to your liking. But more than that, making pizza is a great way to bond with your family and friends in the kitchen. The most basic pizza flavor is the best place to begin, so let’s learn how to make cheese pizza.
Preparing the Pizza Dough
The process on how to make cheese pizza have three stages: preparing the pizza dough, making the pizza sauce and assembling the cheese toppings, and flipping the pie into the oven.
For your pizza dough, you need the following ingredients:
- 2 cups + 1tsp (250g) of flour
- 1 teaspoon (5ml) yeast
- 1/2 tablespoon (7.5ml) of salt
- 1 teaspoon (5ml) of sugar
- 2/3 cup of warm water
- Start by adding a teaspoon of yeast and a teaspoon of sugar to warm water to activate the yeast. Slowly stir this mixture and let it sit for a while. After six or seven minutes, you should see your water bubbling lightly as the yeast activates by feeding on the sugar and water.
- Using a large mixing bowl, pour all the yeast mixture. Then little by little, pour the salt and flour into the same bowl. Don’t drop the flour in one dump. Instead, pour the flour slowly with one hand while your other hand mixes it to absorb the liquid mixture.
- Once the flour is in the bowl and has absorbed the yeast mixture, add a little olive oil so that the dough won’t stick to the bowl or your hands when you knead it. Mix the dough and olive oil until the dough glosses over and is easy to knead. Your desired texture and consistency should make a moist but not sticky dough, malleable but doesn’t rip. Test a small part by pinching it and stretching it. If it remains flexible and doesn’t break even if stretched near its limits, then you can start kneading.
- Knead the dough in the bowl by first gathering the dough and pressing your palm’s heel on its center. Use one hand to knead, and another hand to hold the bowl firmly in place.
- Fold and turn the dough for three to four minutes until it can firmly keep its compact shape when you let it sit. Start by folding the dough’s edges towards the center, pressing it down with the heel of your hand, and then folding and pressing again until you reach its desired compact state. Remember that we do not want a sticky or runny dough that is difficult to shape. Just add flour into the dough bit by bit to make it more compact.
- Let the dough rise by letting it sit for an hour. Leave it at the table or inside the refrigerator. It will take four to five hours for your dough to rise in the refrigerator.
- Take the dough out from the bowl after it has risen, then transfer it to a countertop sprinkled with flour. The flour will keep your dough from sticking to the surface of your countertop or cutting board.
- Work the dough, so it flattens into the shape of a pizza crust. Maneuver the dough with your fingers and your palm over and over until it becomes a flat disc. Do it gently so that the dough does not tear. A tip is to start pressing on the center and massaging through the sides.
- When you achieve your desired shape, fold the edge of the dough’s flattened disc inward to make it thicker than the part towards the center, so that it does resemble a pizza crust.
Making the Pizza Sauce and Toppings
The second part of how to make cheese pizza is the making of the Pizza Sauce and cheese toppings. You will need:
- 14 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
- 14oz can tomato puree
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 2-3 cloves fresh garlic, chopped, or 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 small onion, chopped
- tablespoon olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
For your cheese toppings:
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan
- Heat olive oil on a medium heat using a large pan or skillet.
- Add the onion first, and the garlic second and cook for about three minutes. Wait for the onions to be transparent. The longer it cooks, the sweeter it gets. But watch out that you don’t burn your garlic.
- Add the canned tomatoes and season with herbs, salt, and pepper. Stir thoroughly for all the flavors to meld together, and then bring it all to a boil.
- Stir the sauce from time to time. After it boils, lower down the heat to a simmer.
- Thicken the sauce by letting it simmer for thirty minutes to a full hour. Season to taste.
- Let the sauce cool.
Baking the Pizza Pie
Baking time! Now that you have your crust and sauce and cheeses ready, you can assemble them for baking. Here’s the final phase of your lesson on how to make cheese pizza.
- Prepare an oven tray and line it with oil, so the pizza does not stick. Traditionally and commercially, cornmeal is also used in place of oil.
- Now, with your dough on the tray, top it with the ingredients. First, add the sauce by spreading a thin layer on the pizza dough using a ladle. Spare the edge if the dough, leave it without sauce. Imagine how a pizza looks like!
- This time, add your cheeses evenly on top of the layer of sauce.
- Now it’s time to bake! Slide the pizza in your pre-heated oven and bake for fifteen minutes.
You can definitely have your own take on your sauces or the cheeses that you use. If you want something other than a tomato-based sauce, you can go for a creamy white sauce or clear herbed garlic oil on your crust before adding a cheese layer. As for cheeses, the popular choice is mozzarella cheese. But other rich cheeses you can lay your hands on would still be perfect. Now you know how to make cheese pizza on your own. Enjoy cooking! Know more about pizza recipes.