Pizza
===== 2021-02-24


Two options for a homemade pizza, the pizza stone (with pizza peel) and the baking sheet.

1. Pizza stone: the option for purists. In this case, heat the oven and the stone well, at least 1/2 to 1 hour in advance. Flour the pizza peel well so that the dough slides easily into the oven. Place the stone at the bottom of the oven, do not use fan-assisted heat, as the heat from the stone will help the dough to cook quickly, and the static heat will cook the top of the pizza without drying it out.

2. The baking sheet. Easy solution, but excellent results nonetheless. The dough is spread out on the baking sheet (on parchment paper). Here again, place the plate at the bottom of the oven, and do not use the fan (for the same reasons as above).

Exception, if you are preparing 2 pizzas on 2 baking sheets, use the fan-assisted heat to distribute the heat better.

Tip: if you are using a baking sheet, it is more convenient to prepare the dough on the baking paper on a table, then slide it onto the baking sheet to garnish the dough.

The pizza peel: you can (easily) find only small individual pizza peels. So I made myself a larger rectangular pizza peel from a thin board of marine plywood bevelled (thinned) on one side.


The dough: I use a dough bought in a semi-artisan bakery which is excellent or better a pizza dough which I make myself.

Prepare your ingredients in small bowls in advance (see ingredients below), this will allow you to go quickly to garnish your pizza at the last moment.

Turn on the oven as soon as possible (M O R E than half an hour) at the maximum temperature (500 F; 260 C).


I usually make my pizza rectangular in shape with 4 separate sections (my pizza stone is square).

The best method is to prepare it on a well floured pizza peel and slide it into the oven when ready (if using a pizza stone).

To roll out the dough, avoid the rolling pin (which makes the dough hard and prevents it from rising), stretch it to obtain the desired shape (not always easy).


Let the dough rest for a few minutes and spread a thin layer of tomato sauce .

Add fresh oregano leaves (opt - important for taste).

A layer of mozzarella (grated or better in a ball cut into thin slices).

Finally, arrange the chosen ingredients. I make 4 sections with no more than 2 or 3 ingredients each.



Ingredients:
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Ham (chopped)
Mushrooms (button mushrooms canned sliced, drained)
Olives (black or green, pitted and sliced in half)
Anchovies filets
Capers (drained)
Onions (thinly sliced) (*)
garlic (sliced  ~1 mm) (*)
Chicken (chicken breast cooked diced)
Roasted peppers (canned, cut into strips)
Gorgonzola (cut into medium pieces, add only 53 minutes before the end of cooking)
Prosciutto or parma ham (add only once the pizza is cooked)
Mortadella (add only once the pizza is cooked)
Pepperoni (or hot italian sausage)
Pancetta
Assorted cheeses: Parmigiano, gruyere, peccorino, ...

(*) Marinated ~1 hour in a good olive oil


Arrangements:
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1. Anchovies, capers, (onions or garlic)
2. Mushrooms, ham, (olives)
3. Mushrooms, gorgonzola, (ham) (add gorgonzola 3 to 5 minutes before end of cooking)
4. Peppers, Parma ham, (olives) (add ham on pizza once cooked)
5. Peppers, feta (onions)
6. Onions, pepperoni, (olives)
7. Olives, mortadella (add the mortadella once the pizza is cooked)
8. Olives, prosciutto (add the prosciutto once the pizza is cooked)
9. Pancetta, peccorino romano
10. Pancetta, onions (garlic slices)
11. 3 or cheeses (your choice - add the cheeses half way through the cooking besides the mozarella).

Put the pizza in the oven: slide the parchment paper on the upside down pie sheet (or stone) in the oven. A pizza peel is a better choice if possible.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes.

Once cooked slide the paper (the pizza) on the wooden board and serve.



Tips on how to make your pizza:
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These notes were copied from the site: http://www.jonsullivan.com/
specifically: http://www.jonsullivan.com/recipes/pizza1.php   points 8 to 13.
However this section seems to have been deleted. Good I kept a copy.

Let the dough rise in the fridge for several hours or overnight. About 1-2 hours before you're going to top the pizza, take the dough out and let it warm up and rise more. Don't touch the dough yet or punch it down. If you don't let it warm up enough it will be very hard to work with. It should triple or more in size. Preheat the oven to 500F  W E L L  B E F O R E  you're ready to use it (30 to 60 mn). If you have a pizza stone it will take longer to heat that up completely. If you don't have a pizza stone you can preheat a cookie sheet instead.

Prepare all your ingredients and toppings before you touch the dough. The pizza will have to come together very quickly and you won't have time to chop or mix things. Make the sauce. Lay out the meats, chop the veggies, grate the cheese, etc. Get your pizza peel ready by rubbing it with plenty of flour. If you don't have a pizza peel you can use a cookie sheet without a lip, or even a piece of cardboard.

When you're ready to make the pizza, take the dough ball out and put it on a well floured surface (not the peel). Cover both side with plenty of flour. Use your finger tips to make a well defined edge. Use a press and stretch sort of technique. Then pick up the dough and slap/stretch/spin it so that you have a pizza sized disc. Try to have the dough even all the way through without making it too thin in the middle. There's no magic technique to make this happen. It just takes practice.

Place the dough on your peel. The goal now is to keep the dough from sticking to the peel. Give it a little shake every few seconds as you top it to make sure it will still slide. If the dough sticks to the peel you are screwed! Don't forget the shake.

Top the pizza however you want, but don't use too many toppings.

As soon as the pizza is topped, slide it onto your cooking surface it the oven. Check the clock and don't open the oven for another 7 minutes. It will probably take about 8-10 minutes to cook. And will burn if you let it go a couple minutes longer than that. Take the pizza out and let it cool a few minutes before cutting.