|1 1/2 cups ||375 mL ||white flour|
|1 1/2 cups ||375 mL ||white flour|
|4 1/2 tsps ||22 mL ||yeast|
|4 1/2 tsps ||22 mL ||sugar|
|1/2 tsp ||2 mL ||salt|
|1 1/8 cups ||275 mL ||water|
- Mix the first portion of white flour and the yeast, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.
Heat the water it is about lukewarm. For me, this takes about 20 seconds in the microwave.
- Note that the contain holding the water may heat faster or slower than the water itself.
- If you heat the water too hot, it will kill the yeast and your dough won't rise.
- Add the water to the flour mixture and mix it in with a wooden spoon.
- Add the rest of the flour and mix it in as well. You will probably have to kneed it to get all the flour to mix in. This means that you keep folding the dough in half until all the flour is absorbed.
- Cover the dough with a clean tea towel and put it in a warm place. If your oven has a "bread proof" seting, use that.
- Allow the dough to rise at least 15 minutes or longer if you haven't finished preparing the toppings. If the dough rises to more than two or three times its original size, take the tea towel off and punch it down. Punch the dough straight in the middle, and then push down any bits that don't collapse. If the dough is allowed to rise too high, the flour fibers will break and the dough will collapse and become hard. Be careful not to hurt your hand on the bottom of the bowl when punching down the dough.
There are no fixed rules about what should go on pizza. There is normally some sort of tomato sauce on the bottom and some sort of cheese on the top, but in between is a matter of taste. Here are a few notes for preparing different toppings.
- Cherry tomatoes:
- Slice the cherry tomatos into slices 1/4-inch (0.5 cm) thick (or thinner). These work better than full-sized tomatoes.
- Slice the tomato into slices 1/4-inch (0.5 cm) thick. Cut these into wedges. You can leave the tomatoes in whole slices if you want to be fancy, but this makes the pizza hard to cut. Tomato sizes vary enough to make the number you need unpredictable, although 2 is usually a good place to start.
- Canned Mushrooms:
- Use mushrooms with salt. Cans of Pieces and Stems work just as well as the fancy ones that look like mushrooms. Open the top of the can with a can opener. Then use the can top to hold the mushrooms in while you drain out the water. Pushing the can top against the mushrooms will squeeze out more water. One 284 mL (10 fl. oz.) can holds enough mushrooms for 2 pizzas.
- Sweet Peppers (i.e. green peppers, red peppers, etc.):
Cut the pepper into small pieces less than a centimeter square. You only want the coloured part, not the white part inside or the seeds. One pepper is enough for 2 pizzas.
If at any time any part of the pepper appears to be mushy or moldy (fuzzy white), throw the whole thing out. Do not eat the other parts because the mold probably has roots through them.
- Washing the pepper. You are going to be eating it, so do this even if it looks clean. It might have dirt or pesticides or something on it.
- Cut out the stem from the top. If you angle all the cuts inward a little, it will come out easily.
- Cut the pepper into thirds along the lines on the outside. On the inside, you will be cutting through a white thing sticking inward.
- Cut off the white stuff sticking inward along the edges of the thirds. Also cut off a little bit (less than 1/2 cm) at the bottom. This will make cutting the rest easier.
- Wash the inside of the thirds to remove any seeds that may have stuck to them.
- Slice the pepper vertically into strips between 1/2 and 1 cm thick.
- Line up the slices parallel to each other and cut them into approximate squares. It will go faster if you make long cuts across all the strips instead of cutting them each seperately.
- Canned Pineapple:
- The best syle is tidbits, which you can just put on the pizza directly. Secong best is diced pineapple. It is generally best to cut the diced cubes in half before putting them on so that they don't stick up through the cheese. If you have pineapple rings, cut them into little wedges about 1 cm across before putting them on the pizza. Complete rings will make the pizza hard to cut cleanly. Don't use crushed pineapple; it doesn't work. One 400 ml (14 fl. oz.) can holds enough for 3 pizzas.
- Grease a pizza pan. A cookie sheet also works.
- Place the dough on the pizza pan. If you have made enough for more than one pizza, cut the dough into pieces with a serrated knife. Tearing it may damage the wheat fibers.
- Optionally, flatten out the dough a bit and make a small depression in the center. Pour about 1 tsp vegtable oil into the depression and spread it outward over the dough.
- Press the dough outward from the center until it covers the whole pan. It should be of about even thickness except for the edge, where ther ashould be a rim twice as thick and about 1 cm wide.
- Add sauce to the pizza and use a spoon to spread it out evenly except for on the rim at the edge. Put on enough that you can see the dough through in a few places, but not many. If you have pizza sauce (basically pasta sauce with more spices), use that. Otherwise, use pasta sauce (non-chunky is better). If you don't have pasta sauce either, plain tomatoe sauce will work, but will not taste quite normal. If you used pasta sauce or plain tomato sauce, you may want to sprinkle basil and/or oregano on the pizza.
Add the toppings to the pizza.
- If different people want different things, place something distinctive (e.g. a piece of pineapple) on the edge at the boundary line. This will make the pizza much easier to divide up after it has been cooked.
- If you don't know what toppings people like, don't put any on and call it cheese pizza. This works better with kids than adults (because adults are often pickier).
- Sprinkle grated cheese on the pizza. Mozzarella cheese (or at least what is commonly called that in North America) works very well. Chedder cheese also works, but keeps its yellow colour when cooked. The amount of cheese people want on their pizza varies hugely, so ask if possible. If you don't know how much people want, put on enough to cover everything 1 layer thick.
- Put the pizza in a cold oven.
- Cook the pizza at 400°F (205°C) for about 22 minutes (including heating time). It is done when the cheese just starts to turn brown.
- Cut the pizza into pieces. If you have a round pizza, 8 wedges is traditional. If you left markers between sections for different people, make sure to cut along those lines.
- You can substitue 1 cup (250 mL) for the first 1 1/2 cups (375 mL) of white flour. The whole wheat flour absorbs more liquid, so you need less. Don't need in whole wheat flour at the end: the bran will fall out and collect at the bottom of the bowl instead of mixing into the flour.
- If you oven heats up faster (or slower), you may need to adjust the cooking time. Start with a shorter time (e.g. 20 minutes) and check the cheese. If it hasn't started to turn brown yet, add 2 minutes and check again.
- Putting the pizza in a cold oven allows the crust to rise as it cooks.
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