HOW TO MAKE A GREAT PIZZA!
SELECTING YOUR PIZZA DOUGH
The kind of dough you are going to use for your pizza, is probably one of the most important parts of making a good pizza. You obviously are not going to have restaurant quality pizza, unless you prepare the dough yourself, and know how to do so. But, using a store brand dough will work for you, provided that you follow the directions of the product correctly.
Whatever type of dough you use, also depends on what type of pan you use to cook your pizza. You obviously will start out by flattening our your dough, and shaping it as best as you can to the edge of your pan. But, before you place the dough on your pan, you want to use a non stick cooking spray, and spray the pan well, so that your pizza doesn't stick to it. If you don't do it right, you can easily have a ruined pizza. You can also use olive oil, spread evenly and lightly on the pan, but not too thick, or your pizza will taste like olive oil. It also helps to flatten your dough on another surface before putting it on the pan, it just makes it easier to spread once it is moved to the pan. Trying to do it on the pan is more difficult, because all it does is slide around on the greased surface, and that gets frustrating!
One important thing you need to do with fresh dough, is "air" the dough, before you put on any toppings. You can do this with a fork, making many punch holes in the dough, after you have placed it on your pan. You can also get a pizza roller, which looks like a paint roller covered with little spikes, that does the job very quickly, and very well.
DO NOT FORGET TO AIR YOUR DOUGH! If you forget to air your dough, it will blow up like a balloon in the oven, and all your toppings will slide off, and you will have quite a mess to clean. A well aired pizza crust, will also cook more evenly. Nothing like having an unevenly cooked pizza. Or a pizza that is half cooked half raw. An un-aired pizza crust may do that.
The next step is to put on your toppings. You always start with the sauce first, and then add your cheese, and whatever topping you might want on your pizza. The size of your pizza will determine how much of each topping you add to it. And, your individual tastes may come into play as well. I personally like a lightly sauced pizza. Some people like no sauce at all.
But, a simple 12 inch pizza, will typically consist of 4 ounces of pizza sauce, and no more than 8 ounces of cheese. You will increase the sauce maybe 1 to 2 ounces for every inch bigger, or 1 to 2 ounces less for smaller, for whatever size you want your pizza to be. The same amount can be said for the cheese as well. Laying out your toppings depends on what you want on your pizza, and the size of your pizza does matter as well. And, spreading things evenly is also important. Especially your sauce and cheese.
ADDING YOUR FAVORITE TOPPINGS!
Everyone has a favorite kind of pizza topping. The most popular are the meat toppings. Ham, Sausage, Bacon, Pepperoni, steak, and even hamburger. However, with those meats, comes a lot of meat greases. The best way to avoid these greases, is to use precooked meats. Or to prepare the meat before you put it on your pizza. Making a less greasy pizza, will just make it taste that much better, and cut down on grease fats as well. You also take away the ill effects of having uncooked meat on your pizza, by not using raw meats. All meat should be well cooked, and served 140 degrees.
You might even want to cook that precooked meat as well. This will get rid of any greases it may have. A store brand package of pepperoni, might release a ton of grease on your pizza. You can easily remedy greasy pepperoni by placing what you are going to use in a microwave on a paper towel, (Each piece placed flat and separated in a layer) with another paper towel over the top of that layer, for a minute, and that will release a lot of that grease.
Using the right amount of meat topping will also cut down on grease. If you overload your pizza with meat, it is going to end up being a soupy mess, and will not cook correctly. Usually about 2 ounces of meat topping on a twelve inch pizza is enough. If it looks like too much topping, chances are it is. If you are going to use many meat toppings, go with about 1 ounce of each. But, it really does depend on the size of your pizza.
Adding vegetable toppings is another thing that can make or break your pizza. Do not use frozen vegetables, they contain water, and will ruin your pizza. You want your vegetable toppings to be fresh and with as little moisture as possible. Tomatoes, contain a lot of moisture, and if you put them on too thick, they will make your pizza soupy. Chop them up into 1/4 inch cubes, and if you are going to use halfs, make sure the halves are sliced thin. Bigger chunks of vegetables may also not cook all the way through. Also used thinly sliced fresh mushrooms, and do not used canned. Drain your black olives well. If you are going to put pineapple on your pizza, you can use canned, best to use chunks, well drained.
TWO GREAT PIZZA RECIPES
The following pizza recipes call for precooked meats. It is very important that your meat ingredients are up to 140 degrees, well cooked into small pieces, and the grease should be well drained before you add it to your pizza. These recipes are for a 12 inch pizza, but it really depends on the size of the pizza you want to make.
4 ounces of pizza sauce
2 ounces of Ricotta (or small curd cottage cheese) It works best if you mix the cheese in with the sauce, and spread it evenly over the pizza crust
2 teaspoons of Parmesan cheese
3 ounces of browned Sausage crumbles (Or Hamburger)
8 ounces of Mozzarella cheese
Your pizza should go into the oven at 375 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes. It all depends on what type of pizza dough you are using. Your pizza dough may come with it own set cooking time, so at the 20 minute mark you should check to see if your crust is done, if it is still white on the bottom, it's most likely not done. But, you don't want to burn your pizza either.
If you want to kick your Lasagna pizza up, you can sprinkle a small amount of white onions onto the sauce, before you add the cheese, and sprinkle on a small amount of powdered garlic to give it a little kick.
ULTIMATE CHEESEBURGER PIZZA
4 ounces of pizza sauce
3 ounces of browned hamburger crumbles
1 ounce of diced white onions
4 ounces of Mozzarella cheese
4 ounces of shredded cheddar
1 ounce of drained sliced black olives
1 ounce of fresh thinly sliced fresh mushrooms
Your pizza is ready to go into the oven. Cook at 375 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes. It may take a little longer for your pizza to cook, as it has more ingredients than the Lasagna pizza. You can also remove any ingredients you don't like. Another fun thing to do is add finely shredded lettuce to your pizza AFTER it comes out of the oven.
I hope these recipes work for you. Again, if is very important that your ingredients are fully cooked, by checking with a meat thermometer to see if they are over 140 degrees. I hope your pizza turns out great!