After a long day, sometimes all you want is a standard cheese pizza. The recipe’s success may be attributed to the combination of the outstanding pizza dough, low-moisture mozzarella cheese, and an easy-to-make tomato sauce that strikes the proper sweet and salty notes to marry all the tastes in this pie. Adding some chopped fresh herbs is all that’s needed to make this dish complete.
- A single ball of artisan pizza dough
- Flour, all-purpose, for sprinkling
- Fine Semolina Flour for Dusting
- 14 cup of Traditional Pizza Sauce (recipe follows)
- Shredded mozzarella cheese with just 3 ounces of moisture
- Leaves of fresh basil or oregano, for decoration
Covered dough should be refrigerated for 1–2 hours, or until it is cool enough to leave a fingerprint when pushed but is not quite cold. One dough ball should be transferred to a well-floured work area. Firmly press all over dough with floured fingers, leaving a 1/2-inch border.
Place a baking steel or big circular cast-iron pizza pan (such as a Lodge 15-inch) on the centre rack of your preheated oven and increase the temperature to 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the pan in the oven and cook it for around 30 minutes. If you’re using a pizza stone and an outdoor pizza oven, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for preheating the pizza stone and oven for 20 minutes on high. (Please note that cooking with wood requires more practice in managing the heat, thus we have only supplied gas oven cooking techniques here.)
Curve the outside of your palm into a C, then press your hand firmly within the dough’s border to create a narrow ring, about half an inch wide. Gently stretch the dough by lifting it onto the knuckles of both hands and turning it after each stretch so that it keeps its round form. Keep stretching the dough out, letting gravity do the work, until you have a 10-inch circle of uniform thickness, with a slightly thicker outer ring. Form a circle with the dough and lay it on a pizza peel that has been coated with semolina. Use the Basic Pizza Sauce to cover the circle of dough. Add some mozzarella cheese on top.
Shake the pizza peel with the cooked pie on it gently to release it. Carefully pry up the pizza’s edge with a bench scraper and sprinkle the pizza peel with a combination of semolina and bread flour, using a ratio of 1:1. Pizza should be unloaded onto a hot baking sheet or stone in an outdoor pizza oven with swift, decisive motions: Position the peel so that its edge is perpendicular to the pan at an angle of approximately 20 degrees, and then swiftly pull back the peel to slide one half of the pizza onto the pan. In order to get the last of the pizza onto the pan, give the peel a gentle shake from side to side as you draw it back.
If using a home oven, heat it to 500 degrees Fahrenheit and bake the pizza for 3 minutes, or until the edges are golden and slightly puffed. Turn the pan over and broil it at a higher temperature. Broil pizza for 3 to 6 minutes, or until cheese is melted and crust is golden brown. Cook pizza in an outdoor pizza oven for 2 to 4 minutes, until the center is set and the crust has raised and charred in areas, rotating pizza 90 degrees with a peel every 20 to 30 seconds.
Use the peel to move the pizza to the cutting board. Slice into wedges, then garnish with fresh basil or oregano.
Standard Pizza Topping
When it comes to tomato sauce, simplicity is key. We put several different brands and preparation methods of tomato sauce through its paces, ultimately settling on a raw sauce based on Muir Glen Organic Tomato Sauce as our favorite. Toss in some freshly grated garlic, a splash of olive oil, some oregano, salt, and pepper after opening the can. When spooned over dough, its acid and sweet-savory taste shines as the pizza’s main attraction and serves as a backdrop for the cheese.
- Muir Glen; Organic Tomato Sauce, 1 (15-ounce) Can
- 2 tablespoons of high-quality olive oil
- Use the Microplane to grate two medium-sized garlic cloves.
- 1/2 tsp of fresh oregano, diced
- To season, use 3/4 teaspoon of fine sea salt.
- A Pinch of Pepper