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fool-proof pizza

Recipe by
Heidi Hoerman
Hingham, MA

Pizza recipes are often daunting. Pizza making videos are worse. Those folks may be able to toss the dough in the air and get a lovely circle of dough but, after many tries, I can't! What makes this recipe fool-proof is weighing the crust ingredients and pre-cooking many of the toppings. The crust is also a relatively wet dough which can be shaped right in the pan using wet fingers. For many of us Americans, a gram is a mysteriously tiny amount yet this recipe uses grams for weighing the ingredients. Why? Because they are precise and easy to work with using simple arithmetic.

yield 2 to 4
prep time 2 Hr 40 Min
cook time 10 Min
method Bake

Ingredients For fool-proof pizza

  • 300 g
    flour (italian 00, bread or all-purpose)
  • 12` g
    table salt
  • 6 g
    instant yeast
  • 240 g
  • 24 g
    olive oil
  • 1/2 c
    tomato marinara sauce
  • 2 Tbsp
    olive oil (instead of other sauces)
  • 2 to 4 Tbsp
  • 4 oz
    italian sausage, cooked, crumbled and drained
  • 1/2 c
    mushrooms, sliced and sauteed until soft
  • 4 oz
    fresh mozzarella, 1/4 inch slices or 1/2 inch cubes
  • 4 oz
    mozzarella, sliced or shredded
  • 4 oz
  • 1/2 c
    fresh basil leaves
  • 1 to 2 clove
    garlic, sliced and sauteed until soft
  • 1/4 c
    chopped or sliced olives
  • 1/2 lg
    red bell pepper, 1/2 inch dice
  • 1/2 c
    roasted red bell pepper, 1/4 inch strips
  • 2 md
    roma tomatoes, 1/4 inch slices

How To Make fool-proof pizza

  • 1
    In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt and yeast, evenly distributing the ingredients. To take the guess-work out of making the crust use a digital scale and measure each ingredient by weight. The picture shows using a two bowl method. Use the scale's tare function to set the weight to zero. Weigh each ingredient individually in the small bowl then transfer to the large bowl.
  • 2
    Add the water and oil and stir until all flour has been incorporated. At this point, the dough will resemble a very stiff and sticky muffin batter. Ignore small lumps.
  • 3
    Cover and set aside for 45 minutes. If your kitchen is under 70F, increase all wait times by 5 minutes; if over 80F, decrease by 5 minutes. The dough will grow but still will look more like muffin batter than bread dough. It is sticky and stringy like hot cheese or marshmallows.
  • 4
    Stir with a spoon, approximately 20 strokes, stretching and turning over the dough. The dough will shrink, be very sticky and still somewhat ragged. Use the spoon to form into a single lump in the bowl. Cover and let sit a second 45 minutes.
  • 5
    At this point the dough is ready to start the shaping process. Line a pizza pan or rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Flop the dough out onto the parchment and start to stretch the dough out toward the edges of the pan or until about 1/4 thick over most of the pan and a bit thicker at the edges. A 12" round pan results in a thick crust. For a thinner crust use a larger pan and spread the dough as far as it will allow.
  • 6
    Now is the time to start pre-heating the oven to its highest baking temperature. For many ovens that is 550F.
  • 7
    Let rest for 20 minutes. The dough will have shrunk a bit. Gently stretch out again until you have the size pizza you desire or until the dough refuses to stay stretched. It may grab the edge of the paper and pull it over itself. Just peel it off when the pizza is cut for serving.
  • 8
    Coat the pizza with a sauce if desired. In the picture, 2 tablespoons each of prepared pesto and olive oil were used as the sauce.
  • 9
    When the oven is fully up to temperature, add the toppings and cheese. Shown here is a somewhat overloaded pizza with Italian sausage (6 ounces before cooking) which was cooked with 4 ounces of slice mushrooms and 1/2 cup of coarsely diced red bell pepper. The cheese shown is 4 ounces of fresh mozzarella mini-balls (available in many supermarket deli cases)
  • 10
    Bake the pizza for 10 minutes. You may wish to preemptively disable any sensitive smoke detectors before removing the pizza from the oven. The sudden heat may set them off. Let the pizza rest 10 minutes before serving. Shown is a 12" round pizza fresh out of the oven.

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