Homemade cheese pizza is one of life's simple pleasures: a soft dough, a tasty tomato sauce and lots of cheese, all cooked to perfection. It is an American variant, a sort of cross between the classic margherita and the four cheese pizza. While you can always buy a frozen pizza base and a jar of ready-made sauce, it's worth putting in a little more effort and cooking everything from scratch.
- 165 ml of warm water (about 38 ° C)
- 5 g of sugar
- 5 g of yeast
- 7 g of salt
- 15 ml of olive oil
- 250 g of flour
- 15 ml of olive oil
- 420 g of peeled tomatoes
- 420 g of tomato puree
- 1 tablespoon of dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon of dry basil
- 2-3 cloves of fresh, chopped garlic or half a tablespoon of garlic powder
- 1 small onion, chopped
- Salt and Pepper To Taste.
- 100 g of shredded mozzarella
- 60 g of grated Parmesan cheese
- Optional: Asiago, ricotta, grated pecorino romano
Method 1 of 3: Prepare the Dough
Step 1. Activate the yeast in warm water
Pour it with the sugar into the water (it should be warm to the touch, but not hot to scald you) and mix gently. Wait 6-7 minutes until you notice small bubbles forming on the surface of the liquid.
Activating the yeast means nourishing it: the microorganisms "eat" the sugar and "drink" the water; the bubbles are generated by the carbon dioxide emitted by the yeast that "breathes"
Step 2. Transfer the yeast mixture to a large bowl and add the flour with the salt
Add a little flour at a time as it absorbs the water with the yeast; use one hand to mix the dough and the other to pour the flour.
Step 3. Incorporate the olive oil into the dough after adding the flour
In this way, the mixture does not adhere to the walls of the dough or to the hands and the humidity remains inside the dough; keep stirring until you get a shiny and elastic, but not sticky mass. Take a small piece of dough and pull it just enough to make it translucent; if it does not tear, it is ready to be worked on.
Step 4. Knead the mixture
Leave it in the bowl, use one hand to fold it back on itself and press it in the center with the base of the palm.
- Fold the farthest edge of the block up and towards you by pressing it again. Repeat this sequence over and over for 3-4 minutes or until the mass holds its shape without having to touch it.
- If you feel it's sticky or too moist, sprinkle it with more flour and do the same with your hands.
Step 5. Let the dough rest for an hour for it to rise
If you have to cook the pizza later, you can put the dough in the refrigerator, where it takes 4-5 hours to rise; the dough must double its volume.
Step 6. Put the dough on a floured work surface
Spread two or three tablespoons of flour on a cutting board or counter to keep the dough from sticking. If you need to make small pizzas, divide the dough in half.
Step 7. Using your fingers, roll and flatten the dough to create the pizza base
Squeeze the ball of dough with the palm of your hand to shape it into a disk, then flatten it and pull it with your fingers. This takes some practice, but go slowly and use your fingertips to massage the dough into the desired shape. When you're done, fold the edge back in about 1-2 cm to make the classic raised outline.
To avoid tearing the dough, shape it from the center outwards
Step 8. Toss the dough to create a perfectly round base if you think you can
Even if you can prepare a perfect pizza without the flashy "toss" in the air, making the base like a real professional always conveys a certain satisfaction.
- Close your hand into a fist and place the dough on top of it.
- Close the other hand in a fist as well and slide it under the dough, so that it is adjacent to the first.
- Space your fists carefully to spread the puck even more.
- Slide them (left towards your face and right towards opposite) to rotate the dough as you spread it out.
- When the base of the pizza has reached a diameter of 20 cm, quickly move your left fist in an arched trajectory towards your face. Do this while turning your right fist away from your face. If you push the dough lightly towards the other with your right fist, you can give it a certain rotation, as if it were a Frisbee. Practice feeling the balance between rotational forces.
- Make sure you catch the dough as it falls down, following the movement with your fists so that it sits gently.
- If the mass has torn, knead it again for 30 seconds and start over.
Method 2 of 3: Prepare the Salsa
Step 1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat
Step 2. Add the chopped garlic and onion and cook for 3-4 minutes
The onion should become translucent or slightly transparent along the edges.
You can add hot or sweet peppers if you love strong flavors, or finely chopped carrots and celery for a sweeter sauce
Step 3. Pour the tomatoes into the pan
If you prefer a velvety sauce, use only tomato puree.
Step 4. Add the herbs, salt and pepper
Mix all the ingredients carefully.
Step 5. Bring the sauce to a boil for a few minutes
Heat it until large bubbles form on the surface and then reduce the heat to simmer the mixture; mix regularly.
Step 6. Wait for the sauce to simmer for 30-60 minutes
The more you cook it, the richer and denser it becomes.
Step 7. Taste it and add more flavors as needed
Many pizza sauces are sweeter, and some cooks add sugar. Fresh basil or rosemary give a particular and intense aroma to the mixture.
Step 8. Let the sauce cool and puree it if desired
Once cool, transfer it to a blender and remove any large chunks of tomato or onion. This step isn't necessary if you prefer a more rustic pizza.
Step 9. Alternatively, try a béchamel sauce or garlic oil
Although tomato sauce is the "classic" sauce, there are several different ways to flavor a cheese pizza. Make a béchamel sauce or simply sauté 2-3 cloves of garlic in 30ml of olive oil and use it instead of the tomato.
Method 3 of 3: Prepare the Pizza
Step 1. Preheat the oven to 180 ° C
Step 2. Sprinkle a baking sheet with oil, flour or cornmeal
This way, you prevent the pizza from sticking during cooking. Cornmeal is available in most supermarkets and is an ingredient that is often used in restaurants.
If you're using a baking stone, sprinkle it with cornmeal and then put it in the oven to heat it
Step 3. Prepare the dough on a non-stick surface
If the baking stone is heating up, sprinkle the kitchen counter with flour and place the pizza base on it. If you are using a regular baking sheet, you can put the dough directly on it.
Step 4. Spread a thin layer of the sauce over the dough
Leave a 2-3 cm border without tomato along the circumference of the pizza.
Step 5. Garnish with cheese
Distribute the cheese mixture evenly over the tomato layer. Although mozzarella is the most common choice, you can also add pecorino romano, parmigiano reggiano, Asiago cheese, provolone or a few spoonfuls of ricotta.
Step 6. Bake the pizza in the oven for 15 minutes
If you are making two pizzas at a time that are on two different shelves in the oven, alternate their positions after halfway through cooking to make sure they cook evenly.