Homemade Pizza

Ingredients

– 1 1/2 cups warm water (40°C-45°C)
– 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) of active dry yeast (check the expiration date on the package)
– 3 1/2 cups bread flour (can use all-purpose but bread flour will give you a crisper crust)
– 2 Tbsp olive oil
– 2 teaspoons salt
– 1 teaspoon sugar
– Olive oil
– Tomato sauce (purée)
– Mozzarella or Parmesan cheese, shredded

Directions

MAKING THE PIZZA DOUGH

1. Add warm water to a large bowl and sprinkle on the yeast and let sit for 5 minutes until the yeast is dissolved. Stir to dissolve completely if needed at the end of 5 minutes.

2. Mix in the olive oil, flour, salt and sugar and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic for about 10 minutes. If you don’t have a mixer, you can mix and knead by hand. If the dough seems a little too wet, sprinkle on a bit more flour.

3. Place the ball of dough in a bowl that has been coated lightly with olive oil. Turn the dough around in the bowl so that it gets coated with the oil. Cover with plastic wrap. Let sit in a warm place (24-30°C) until it doubles in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours (or several hours longer, a longer rise will improve the flavor).

BAKING THE PIZZA

1. Preheat the oven to 230° and Divide the dough in half. Form two round balls of dough. Place each in its own bowl, cover with plastic and let sit for 10 minutes.

2. Prepare your desired toppings.

3. Take one ball of dough and flatten it with your hands on a slightly floured work surface. Starting at the center and working outwards, use your fingertips to press the dough to 1/2-inch thick. Turn and stretch the dough until it will not stretch further. Let the dough relax 5 minutes and then continue to stretch it until it reaches the desired diameter – 10 to 12 inches. Use your palm to flatten the edge of the dough where it is thicker.

4. Brush the top of the dough with olive oil (to prevent it from getting soggy from the toppings). Let rest another 5 minutes.

5. Transfer the prepared flattened dough to the pizza tray, spoon on the tomato sauce, sprinkle with cheese, and place your desired toppings on the pizza.

6. Bake the pizza until the crust is browned and the cheese is golden, about 10-15 minutes. If you want, toward the end of the cooking time you can sprinkle on a little more cheese.

Your Pizza is now ready to serve!

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