By Elliot Kantor
You could always buy a store-bought pizza dough, but making it yourself is fast and easy. If you have a scale, a simple ratio is 300g bread flour*, 200g warm water, 6g salt, 3g yeast, and a bit of sugar and olive oil. Less accurately, it’s about 2.5 cups of flour, 1-1.5 cups water, a large teaspoon of salt, half a teaspoon of yeast, and sugar and olive oil. Combine dry ingredients, then add water gradually. Let it rest 15 minutes, then knead for a few minutes. Either let it sit and make one large pizza (up to 14” or so) or divide into two small-medium pizzas.
For the sauce, unsalted canned tomatoes and a pinch of salt are all you need. Pulverize the large chunks and it’s ready. I usually add oregano, garlic powder, pepper, oil, and some sugar, too.
For the cheese, use low-moisture mozzarella. Whole milk mozzarella is best, but most grocery stores only have part-skim. Low moisture just means it’s the cheap stuff that comes in plastic blocks (not the soft, fresh kind). Grate it and keep it cold so it doesn’t make the pizza greasy in the oven.**
Preheat the oven to 500 degrees Fahrenheit, ideally with a pizza stone inside, but it’s not necessary. To assemble the pizza, dust the dough in flour and stretch it with your fists and gravity to make it larger. Place on a floured pizza peel or tray. Add tomato sauce (less is more) and the cheese. Add any toppings (but don’t use too many). Place the pizza in the oven and bake until the cheese is brown and melted. Cool, cut and serve! By making the dough and sauce in advance, you can have a pizza dinner in less than 15 minutes of active time!
* For pizza dough, bread flour is preferred for its higher gluten content. It makes it chewier and, more importantly, makes it easier to stretch without tearing.
** Cheese is an emulsion of water and fat, so if it gets too warm it can “break,” and the water and fat can separate into a greasy cheese layer.