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My Perfect Pizza

I'm sharing with you my favorite recipe, researched, and always under construction (no work is ever truly finished--is it?) Makes one 16" crusty pizza

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Servings: 4

Prep Time: 09:05

Cook Time: 00:15

Main Ingredients

Dough:

500 grams (3 3/4 cups) of all-purpose flour or bread flour

1 teaspoon of salt

1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast (or if using a starter, use 1/3 cup of active 100% hydrated sourdough starter)

1 1/2 cups of water

Sauce:

5 - 15 1 14. oz can of whole peeled or diced tomatoes, liquid drained (you may need two, some brands are a bit stingy)

1 large pinch of mixed italian herbs (you can go crazy here, and customize it with more basil, oregano, thyme)

1 - 2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 teaspoon of olive oil

a pinch each of salt and pepper

or (if you’re super saucy)

1 homemade tomato/marinara sauce or small can of tomato sauce + shake of onion powder, shake of garlic powder,   salt, pepper,

Toppings:

shredded or grated mozzarella cheese, low moisture

freshly grated parmesan cheese

thinly sliced vegetables of choice—onions, bell peppers, mushrooms, etc.

honey and crushed red pepper flakes

salt and pepper

Preparation

1Dough: The morning of your pizza night, begin to prepare your dough. This is a no-knead dough, so it’s all the more reason to go for it!

2In a large bowl, stir together the flour, salt and yeast with a fork until combined. Remember: don’t allow your yeast and salt to touch before mixing them in with the flour. Deposit them on different sides of the bowl, just to be overly cautious.

3After the yeast, salt, and flour are mixed together, slowly stir in the water with a fork. Let the fork do the work because if you use your hands, you’ll have a sticky mess.

4You may add a little more water to fully hydrate the dough if there is a lot of flour not hydrated, but no more than 3 tablespoons of water.

5Only mix until combined, and place some plastic wrap over the bowl to protect the dough from drying out.

6Let the dough sit for a minimum of 8 hours. Unless you’re using a starter, no worries if it’s longer than 8 hours. The flavor develops more, the longer it sits. Make sure the temperature is at 72 or 73 degrees Fahrenheit.

7Sauce: It’s dinner time, and you’re ready to eat. First things first, preheat your oven to the hottest it can get. 550 degrees Fahrenheit is what my oven cranks up to.

8You should have already premade your marinara sauce, or (if you’re like me) you grab a can of whole tomatoes, drain it, empty it in a bowl and add the olive oil, garlic, and a large pinch of Italian seasoning with some salt and pepper and call it a day.

9Toppings: Prep all vegetable toppings by thinly slicing them. If you have artichokes from a jar, rid them of as much moisture as possible. Moisture is the antagonist of a firm,  crusty piece of pizza.

10For meat toppings like pepperoni or chorizo,  the prep work is already done if you buy them pre-sliced.

11For sausage, you want to do two things: be sure to pre-cook the sausage a bit first before putting it on the pizza and into the oven. Take it out of its casing, and tear largish chunks into a hot pan with some olive oil. The pan should be heated to medium or medium high heat. Brown the sausage, just until the pink is no longer seen, then it is safe to place on the uncooked pizza.

12Assembly: Take the dough out of the bowl and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Get a pizza pan ready or set a pizza stone  to preheat in the oven when you turn the oven on(only if you have a pizza peel). If using a pan spread a light coating of olive oil all over it.

13Your dough should be ridiculously relaxed by now.  Use a bit of flour to stretch it with your hands into a flattened circle. Just a warning, this particular dough puffs up enormously, so if you don’t like that, feel free to take a rolling pin to it. Make sure the surface and rolling pin are floured well, because the dough is tacky.

14Once the desired shape and size is reached, grab your pan and slide the dough onto it.

15If using a pizza peel, spread a layer of cornmeal or semolina onto it, and slide the dough onto it.

16Once the dough is on the pan or peel, start with the sauce of choice. If you went with the can of tomatoes, use a fork to pick them up and place them evenly over the dough. For marinara,  use it sparingly, a little goes a long way. Next is cheese, mozzarella—about 1:1 ratio with the sauce/ tomatoes. Then evenly place toppings of choice. Sprinkle on some parmesan cheese, make sure to get it on the crust, it gives the crust a nice flavor. Finally, finish it all off with salt a pepper and a drizzling of olive oil.

17Bake in the preheated 550°F oven (or the hottest your oven goes) for 14-16 minutes.

18Let it sit on the pizza pan or stone for 5 minutes.

19While your pizza is resting, grab a sauce pan and heat up 3 tablespoons of honey and multiple shakes of red pepper flakes ( about 1-2 teaspoons) over medium-low heat. Ones the honey is less viscous, drizzle it over your pizza. This final step really apps up the flavor.

20Once your pizza has rested, slide it off onto a cutting board to slice up.

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