Pizza is probably the fast food that you can find anywhere in the world. Not only that, you can order it nearly anytime of the day or night. There always seems to be a pizza parlor nearby. They either deliver, or they are so close by that you just hop in the car to get it for yourself.
So why would anyone want to make his own pizza if it is so easily available? For one thing it is much healthier, and it is a great activity to do with your children. I really started to make my own pizza when my daughter was born with a milk allergy. The only way that I knew for sure that there was not any cheese in or on the pizza, was to make it myself.
Other reasons are that I am very fussy about the crust. I hate a thick crust. If I ever get to visit Chicago, I doubt that I would order any of those thick crusted pizzas that they like there! With my own home made pizzas I also control what exactly goes into a pizza. Only the best, freshest ingredients should be used.
The first thing to make is the dough. It takes a while to rise, so you will have to remember to make it in advance. I usually make it about two hours before I need to stick the pizza in the oven. If you are pressed for time during the day, you can make the dough the evening before and then stick it in the fridge. The dough will rise in the fridge, but much slower. All you have to do is to take it out of the fridge about two hours before you need the dough. It needs time to warm up a bit and rise a little bit more.
For two normal sized pizzas you will need,
2 cups of flour
5 grams of instant yeast
a pinch of salt
1 table spoon of olive oil
1-2 cups of luke warm water
Get a nice big mixing bowl and add all the dry ingredients. Now add the oil and then a little bit at a time keep adding the water. You will find that you do not always add the same amount of water. Dry days seem to need more water in your dough.
Stop with the water when your dough is just coming together. Now it is time to get messy. Take the dough out of the bowl and start kneading it. You have to knead it for about ten minutes to release the gluten. When the dough is silky smooth, pop it back into the bowl and rub with an extra bit of olive oil. Place the bowl inside a plastic bag, cover it with a blanket and let it rise in a quiet spot.
While you are waiting for your dough, you can get your toppings ready. Chop mushrooms, green pepper, onion and anything else you like into slices. Grate a good amount of a yellow hard cheese.
You can make your pizza sauce from scratch, use a tinned version or if you are really in a pinch use ketchup.
The pizza sauce
2 overripe tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic ,chopped up finely
1 medium onion, chopped up finely
dash of olive oil
Put the tomatoes in a dish and cover with boiling water. It loosens the skin of the tomatoes and makes peeling them easier. Once your tomatoes are peeled, chopped then up too.
You now heat the oil in a frying pan and add the onions and garlic. When they are soft, add the tomatoes and season to your taste. The secret is not to be in a rush. The sauce needs to boil for a while on a low temperature to thicken nicely. The tomatoes also need time to cook properly.
Finally your toppings are ready, the sauce is ready and the dough has risen nicely. Now you heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius or 360 degrees Fahrenheit. Get the pizza pans or any other flat pans out and cover them properly with ordinary cooking oil.
Bash down the dough to make it flat and then stretch it to fit in your pans. Now you cover the dough with the sauce, but be careful not to put on too much. It will make the dough soggy. Add your toppings and then cover it all with the grated cheese.
When the oven has reached its temperature you can pop the pans into the oven. Your house will soon smell like a pizza parlor. Keep an eye out that the cheese does not burn. When you see that the dough pulls back slightly from the sides of the pan, you know that your pizza is ready.
Let it cool of a bit and enjoy!